World Standards Day – is celebrated annually across the world by national standards bodies, regulatory institutions and public and private economic organisations. The celebration of World Standards Day is a symbolic reminder that standards and associated conformity assessment is an indispensable tool supporting quality of products, services, environmental protection and a myriad other indicators of social and economic development.

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), a founder member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), is responsible for the development of South African National Standards (SANS) working with technical experts, academics and representatives of domestic companies.

On behalf of the country, SABS currently manages 7 400 SANS that set out the requirements for various products, management systems, social development, manufacturing processes, basic services, buildings, healthcare, food hygiene and a host of other categories.  In 2018, SABS published 240 new SANS, with 130 being locally developed.

“World Standards Day should remind us both of the critical importance of standards and conformity assessment and of the gratitude that is owed to the hundreds of technical, industry and government stakeholders, many of whom volunteer their time and knowledge to collaboratively develop national standards.  SABS has approximately 300 standards technical committees and sub-committees in existence.  Standards development involves a process of research, impact analysis and collaboration to secure quality standards, relevant to domestic conditions, which do not breach the principles of competition and support social and economic development,” says Garth Strachan, Acting CEO of SABS.

“Standards and conformity assessment are imperative for the industrialisation effort and underpin smart regulation and policy, including and with respect to compulsory technical specifications which serve to protect consumers and the public from unsafe and sub-standard products,’ explained Strachan.

About World Standards Day

World Standards Day was established in 1970 and the day was chosen to celebrate the birth of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).  In recent years, the day acknowledges the work of the technical experts who volunteer their time and expertise to develop standards.  Members of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and ISO celebrate the day.

South Africa’s representation in international standardisation platforms

SABS plays an important role in international standardisation.  In addition to being the enquiry point for the WTO/TBT agreement, SABS participates in various councils and committees in the following organisations:

  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO),
  • African Organization for Standardization (ARSO),
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC),
  • Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC),
  • African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission (AFSEC),

Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Standards (SADCSTAN).

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