Photo: File.
JOHANNESBURG – The SA Paint Manufacturing Association (Sapma), which last year was one of the first industry associations to publicly highlight the serious problems at the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS), was encouraged by the efforts of the administrators to put the bureau on the road to recovery.

The SABS was placed under administration in July after Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies removed its entire board in June because he had lost faith in its ability to effectively manage the bureau.

The SABS was bleeding customers and potential revenue and earlier in the year instructed its management to urgently oversee a detailed process to develop a turnaround strategy.

Three SABS co-administrators were appointed, including the deputy director-general of the Industrial Development Division at the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), Garth Strachan.

Deryck Spence, the executive director of Sapma, said the “whole attitude of the bureau” had changed and resulted in the re-establishment of the paint laboratories, which were now being re-accredited.

Spence said an invitation had also been accepted for an SABS representative to sit on Sapma’s technical committee, which was made up of the technical managers of all of the big companies to keep them abreast of what was happening in the industry.

He added that Sapma had undertaken to “come back on board” at the SABS subject to the pricing, the accreditation of the laboratories and the quality of the people working there.

This follows Spence claiming last year that the SABS was dysfunctional.

Spence last year also claimed the paint section at the SABS had about 13 employees about two years ago but was then believed to have only one. An SABS quality approval mark was essential for any government contract.

The joint administrators indicated last month that the process to return the SABS to optimal institutional and operational capacity and capability was well under way after the SABS recorded net losses of R44million in 2016/17 and R48million for 2017/18.

The financial plan of the turnaround, which seeks to return the SABS to financial stability and address adverse findings by the auditor-general, includes cost containment measures and revenue retention and maximisation initiatives.