Durban - Substandard imported goods such as paraffin stoves, electric kettles, helmets and life jackets were streaming into South Africa, putting the lives of users in danger.
Goods worth R174 million had been confiscated this year alone. Between 2008 and last year, R438m worth of sub-standard items had been taken off the shelves, the chief executive of the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), Asogan Moodley, said on Thursday.
He said this at an event in Durban where confiscated goods worth R13.2m were destroyed.
“We are making inroads in the fight against non-compliant goods,” Moodley said.
He said one of the reasons for the increase in the number of non-compliant goods coming into the country was the improved detection rate by the NRCS, which is an entity of the Department of Trade and Industry.
The regulator “profiles” the goods that it wants to clamp down on and focuses its activities on them, he explained.
“We have a 70 percent strike rate.”
Moodley said although they focused on specific goods, they also did random searches on other products.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, present to witness the destruction of inferior goods on Thursday, said: “South Africa is not open as a market for sub-standard products, we have minimum standards in place.
“You (importers) will have to show (that) you comply. If you do not comply, do not bring your goods here because they are going to end up destroyed.”
Davies said the department was considering blacklisting importers who repeatedly brought in poor quality goods.
“Many of the products are found at small shops and some find their way to major retailers.”
Davies said it was vital to ensure low quality goods did not enter the country.
“If you see something which is imported (and) the price is too good to be true, there is something wrong with that product.”
He encouraged people to buy local products with the South African Bureau of Standards mark on them.
South Africa currently did not have any agreements with other countries on the monitoring of low quality goods.
“We have to monitor our own borders at the moment,” Davies said.
Moodley said some sub-standard goods could damage people’s health and property. He gave an example of copper that was recently confiscated.
“It was aluminium coated with copper. Aluminium is a poor conductor of electricity and it could have started a fire,” Moodley said.
The NRCS has 150 inspectors spread across the country inspecting goods they suspect of being sub-standard.
“When they go to do their inspections they sometimes face dangers. If a situation is going to be dangerous we ask the South African Police Service to accompany the inspectors,” Moodley said.
He urged the public to tip them off about shops that sell sub-standard goods.