What the SABS approval mark means for consumers and manufucturers

The SABS confirmed that energy drink Mofaya has not been approved by officials and displays the statutory body's logo illegally. Mofaya is a product of Sbusiso Leope, a radio personality and entrepreneur also known as DJ Sbu. Leope has admitted that mistakes were made but says he is new in the business and is hopeful that the problem could be solved.

Frank Makamo, an executive responsible for certification at The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), says DJ Sbu is not the first person to take chances with the SABS approval stamp.

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is a South African statutory body that operates in terms of the Standards Act 2008 (Act No. 29 of 2008) as the national institution for the promotion and maintenance of standardisation and quality in connection with commodities and the rendering of services.

The SABS mark is a process of certifying that a certain product has passed performance tests and quality assurance tests and meets qualification criteria stipulated in a standard, specification or regulation. Certified products are typically endorsed with certification provided by the certifying body - SABS.

The term "SABS Approved" refers only to products that have been submitted for and successfully attained the SABS mark, a product certification scheme offered by the SABS.

What does it mean for the consumer?

  1. The product complies with a standard specification. It means that product was subjected to vigorous tests to make sure it complies with the standards.
  2. The product is fit for purpose. Meaning that a product will be doing what it supposed to do.
  3. Products are safe for use.
  4. Provides a platform for consumers. If the product is carrying the SABS mark consumers can contact the SABS if the product is not doing what it supposed to do.

It means peace of mind for the buyers and is, in turn, a great marketing tool for the producer. The SABS mark is an icon that it can display proudly on its products.

How to attain the SABS mark?

To attain the mark, the product must pass product testing against the SANS. Further, the manufacturer's production facility will also be inspected by the SABS to determine whether it has adequate quality assurance systems in place.

In the case of attaining the SABS mark, the product must meet the specifications of the SANS code, applicable to that type of product.

Legal ramifications

  • According to Makamo, the first point of departure will be to recall and stop the distribution of the product to make sure that consumers don’t continue consuming the product thinking it is approved by the SABS.
  • The manufacturer will have to make a public statement confirming that the product is indeed not approved by the SABS.
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