CAPE TOWN — The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) is intensifying its surveillance of imported products that do not comply with South African standards, by conducting on-site inspections of retailers.

The NRCS is responsible for setting and applying compulsory product specifications in the interests of public safety and health as well as to protect the environment. Its work includes conducting inspections of imported goods at ports of entry.

NRCS CE Asogan Moodley made a submission to Parliament’s trade and industry committee on Tuesday on how the regulator was working to protect the local manufacturing sector from illegal and substandard products.

He said the inspections of retailers were prompted by complaints and concerns received from industry.

"A huge number of noncompliant products were identified and subjected to the sanction process. The majority of the products were imports," Moodley told MPs during a workshop on industrialisation.

Moodley said information had also been received about noncompliant, unsafe products being sold in various malls and it conducted joint operations with the police and the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

"Huge quantities of noncompliant, unsafe products were confiscated and leads were obtained on the origination of these products. These leads are now being investigated to stop the flow of such products from these sources."

Moodley noted that less than 1% of the containers (more than 3-million last year) entering SA’s ports were inspected, about 70% of which contained regulated products, and of these about 30% were noncompliant or not approved.

From 2009 to 2014, noncompliant products worth R1bn were uncovered and in the 2014-15 fiscal year R548m worth of unsafe products were removed from the market.

SARS group executive for customs Patrick Moeng told the committee that in 2015/16 Sars customs officials had seized and detained R1.2bn in counterfeit clothing (R161m), footwear (R230m), alcohol, cigarettes and other products  and R472m between March 1 and August 7 so far this year.

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