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For decades, having an SABS-approved stamp on a product was a badge of pride. The legitimacy and sense of security not only boosted consumer confidence but also provided manufacturers with legal security that their product had been independently verified. Last week, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies ejected the entire board. He was reacting in a broader sense to a host of complaints from industry but, more pertinently, to the organisation’s attempt to stifle an internal investigation into, you guessed it, a Gupta-linked scandal. How did we get from a respected organisation to yet another besmirched by SA’s corruption crisis? The short answer is: first in small, progressive miss-steps, and then very suddenly in a calamity. If there is a saving grace, it’s that the Department of Trade and Industry has attacked this problem with vigour, investigating with determination and ultimately holding the entire board responsible. By the standards of Gupta-related scandals, the involvement ...

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