Favouritism of a Gupta company, severe underperformance costing at least R50m in lost business and general dysfunction — these are the main reasons why Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies wants answers from the South African Bureau of Standards. Davies gave the SABS board a notice of intention to suspend them and to place the entity under administration. Board members were given five days in which to respond to his complaints, and have done so. Davies is now considering their reply. Dysfunction at the SABS has directly affected the bottom line of companies in the steel and engineering industry, among others. It has furthermore since emerged that problems at the entity have previously been raised at the National Economic Development and Labour Council.

Michael Ade, chief economist at the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa, says the SABS’s failures have increased the cost of doing business and impeded industrial and export efforts. The SABS plays a...

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