SABS Communiqué on CSR Testing

Customer Specific Requirements (CSR) Testing

In the interest of improved stakeholder relations the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) would like to bring your attention to the fact that we delivered a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry in the National Assembly, on Wednesday the 6th March 2019.


Our presentation focused on the recent organisational developments and the status of the SABS Turnaround Plan, which has been compiled by the co-administrators appointed by Minister Rob Davies. Included was an update on the critical subject of “partial testing”.

As you might be aware, in 2015 the SABS made a decision to limit all testing requirements to testing against a full South African National Standard (SANS). The unintended impact on business and industry has been severe. the dti and the SABS have received numerous complaints and requests to reinstate partial testing.
Our Laboratories Management Team has commenced with a customer and industry engagement process with the aim of further developing an understanding of what the industry requirements for Customer Specific Requirements (CSR) testing are and how the SABS can build our testing capacity to support such activities.
Currently, all new proposed CSR testing will follow a review process before being authorised by the SABS Executive: Laboratory Services. The SABS has implemented a development program to ensure that all of our laboratories are enabled with the required processes and procedures to execute on CSR testing.
We have, thus, implemented a program to enable the testing of certain components of the various national standards (SANS) which includes the testing of non-SANS standards or other customer specific testing requirements. After the initial industry feedback we noted that in order to support local manufacturing and enhance their export competitiveness, our laboratories will be required to expand their testing capabilities to test beyond national standards. Accreditation is still dependent on external laboratory accreditation processes and accreditation to non-SANS standards and methods will be explored on a case-by-case basis, dependent on market viability. It is therefore important to appreciate that accreditation to a non-SANS test methods will require stringent evaluation and correspondingly, an adequate lead-time for implementation.
In most instances, CSR testing is likely to originate from a customer-sourced sample and therefore, the test report that we will issued, will be in the form of a data report with a watermarked certificate stating “For Customer Information Only”.
This is not a statement of compliance to a standard or a part thereof. However, this results report should assist industry with an independent verification of the specific characteristics of their product as determined by the specific standard or specification clause and it is anticipated to be utilised constructively by industry in the support of product development or otherwise in the application of specific buyer controls.
Testing to Customer Specific Requirements (vs full SANS testing) also allow the laboratories to conduct testing to the Special Permit Conditions (SPCs) of the SABS Mark Scheme as well as specific testing requirements that the NRCS may propose through VC or other formal controls.
All other specific requirements are reviewed with our clients following a risk based approach, with consideration and sanction on a case by case basis authorised by the Executive: Laboratory Services.
We would like to request that you share this communique with the members of your industry organisation regarding their individual or your industry CSR Testing requirements. We encourage industry groups and individual organisations to register for future communications, by sharing their contact details with our call center or by e-mail on We are also expanding our communications on social media platforms.
We would like to make use of the opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support for the SABS laboratories as we deliver our turnaround strategy.
Your feedback is welcomed.
Yours sincerely,
Johan Louw
Executive: Laboratory Services