Regulator recalls Econo Cement for failing to meet standards
Econo Cement is available in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, but the NRCS says it could be available in more
The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) has confirmed the nationwide recall of a “substandard” cement product, Econo Cement, to ensure it doesn't “pose a risk to consumers and SA’s economy”.
The regulator’s top management briefed media in Pretoria on Monday.
Acting NRCS CEO Duncan Mutengwe provided details on the product and why it is being recalled.
“To enforce compliance within the cement industry, the NRCS is recalling [the] Econo Cement product identified as the CEMV/AS-V32.5N cement. The product is substandard as it has failed to meet the requirements of compulsory specifications.
“This followed intensive investigations by the NRCS, which included sampling and testing to ascertain the suitability of the cement to be offered for sale in SA. Econo Cement has failed to meet minimum requirements for the prescribed strength as set out in the compulsory specifications.”
Mutengwe said “the tests we got … were giving results that are much lower than what has been relayed”.
“After the evidence of noncompliance against the requirements of compulsory specifications VC9085, the manufacturer's letter of authority, which permits the sale of the product, has been withdrawn. This is a product the public needs to know about because it had safety critical features in it when we talk about buildings [where] this particular product is used,” he said.
The NRCS confirmed that the manufacturer had been directed to stop making it until further notice.
Econo Cement is available in three provinces — Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal — but the regulator said it could be available in more.
“The NRCS will confiscate stock found in the chain of trade. We call on consumers not to buy [this specific] Econo Cement and to report it to the NRCS. All distributors in possession of Econo Cement should return it to their supplier and keep proof of such information,” he said.
The regulator's operations manager, Rhoda Masupye, detailed risks associated with using the substandard product in construction projects. These include fatalities, building collapses and sinkholes.
She also clarified that the cement was compliant when it was first manufactured and only came under scrutiny after the NRCS received an “influx of complaints”, which prompted an investigation.
“At the time approval was granted, this product had met all the minimum requirements and a letter of authority was issued,” she said.
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