South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is the appointed national standardisation institution in the Republic of South Africa. Mandated to develop, promote and maintain the South African National Standards as well as ensuring the promotion of quality in commodities, products and services. SABS renders conformity assessment services and assist in matters within this mandate.

In 2016, South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) engaged with their stakeholders regarding the costs and economic impact of the SABS’ certificates of compliance practice. In this same year, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), signed a MoU ensuring electronic products entering the South African borders will be reviewed to enable the prevention of low quality products entering our markets.

Declaration form to be used for products that were in the market prior to 1 June 2016 and no EMC Certificate of Compliance was obtained.

 Consumer Protection Compliance Overview
South Africa is a net importer of electrical and electronic equipment with most of the products coming in from Asia. Imports are a crucial part of the economy, as they help to address market demand and introduce product variety in the market thereby increasing consumer choice. Today consumers are faced with various problems on account of competition in the market, misleading advertisements, availability of inferior quality products and services.
Hence protection of consumers’ interest is of paramount importance to the government and conformity assessment is made obligatory to safeguard consumers. Any electrical or electronic device creates what is called an electromagnetic (EM) environment as electrons are moved around to make the device work. In addition, there may be natural phenomena such as lightning occurring in the same location. Or for one of a variety of reasons, an electrostatic spark may take place even when a device or system is not in its normal functioning mode.
When engineers first became aware of the effects of such phenomena, in the earliest days of radio, they usually referred to radio frequency interference (RFI). Today, the term electromagnetic interference (EMI) better reflects the fact that electrical and electronic systems may cause disturbances at any frequency between 3 KHz and the 300GHz (microwave) range1) of usable radio spectrum. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) is a common occurrence in our everyday life that most of the people have unknowingly experienced this phenomenon.
Disturbances in the audio signals on radio/ TV due to an aircraft flying at a low altitude or interferences while trying to listen to the radio or watching TV while someone else is using the vacuum cleaner in the next room, and restrictions on the use of portable electronic equipment aboard an aircraft are but some of many actual events caused by significant interference with the radio signal and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) problem. Since the earliest days of radio communications, the negative effects of interference from both intentional and unintentional transmissions have been felt and the need to manage the radio frequency spectrum became apparent. Since the energy radiated by electronic communication devices is absorbed one way or the other by any physical matter surrounding the affected area with the electromagnetic field strength, EMC requirements are not only limited to protection of radio services. They also refer to the protection of humans in relation to Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) as set out by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) for measurement.
SABS Role in the market
For more than 15 years the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has collaborated with regulators to ensure South Africa stays abreast of international EMC protocols and by ensuring that stringent measures are in place to prevent dumping of inferior goods in the country and undermining local industry’s ability to compete. As the national standardisation body and provider of conformity assessment services, the SABS has facilitated the development of national, regional and international EMC standards through the work of its technical committees at International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). In addition, the SABS has been issuing certificate of compliance (COCs) in respect of electrical and electronic equipment, electronic communications equipment facilities as well as radio equipment. Due to the demand for resolute implementation of the law governing EMI/EMC, the applicable conformity assessment procedure has been amended. The procedure now includes a technical evaluation that entails the verification of:
1. The product
2. Manufacturing process at the manufacturer
3. Witness testing where original tests were conducted

Media Release 



03 June 2016 Johannesburg – The Acting Chairperson of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), Councillor Nomvuyiso Batyi and the Chief Executive of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), Dr Boni Mehlomakulu have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 30 March 2016 that will see the two entities collaborate on ensuring that electronic equipment entering the South African market meets the required quality-performance standards.

The influx of low quality products into the country and the risks they pose to consumers has compelled the SABS and ICASA to review the process of issuing Electromagnetic Interference/ Compatibility (EMI/EMC) Certificates of Compliance (CoCs). The Consumer Protection Act (Act No. 68 of 2008) calls for consumers’ right to receive goods that comply with applicable standards set under the Standards Act.

As a result of this MoU electronic equipment (non–telecommunication) that fall under the mandate of ICASA will be subjected to robust conformity assessment procedures to ensure that such products meet the quality requirements as stipulated in the South African National Standards. Manufacturers and importers can look forward to a transparent, predictable and efficient process in attaining EMI/EMC compliance certification.


SABS EMC COC Applications


EMC Product Catalogue Guideline


SABS EMC Authorised Laboratories


SABS Notification EMC CoC


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