South Africa’s uninhibited re-entry into the world economy, post democracy, brought with it the need to conform to many international specifications and standards. At the same time, an internationally recognised national accreditation system was realised as being a crucial element of a well-functioning technical infrastructure aligned to international best practice.
So SANAS was set up. It is the South African Accreditation System, established by (wait for it) the Accreditation for Conformity Assessment, Calibration and Good Laboratory Practice Act 2006.1 SANAS2 is the only body in the Republic responsible for carrying out such accreditations; that is, certifying that laboratories, inspection bodies, certification bodies, proficiency testing services providers, and GLP3 test facilities are competent according to internationally set criteria, specifications and standards.
The Act falls under the authority of the Minister of Trade and Industry, but its day-to-day administration is managed by the CEO of its Board.
The person seeking accreditation, or GLP status, must apply to the Board. Obviously, lots of documents will be submitted, exchanged, scrutinised – and relied upon – in this process.
Any person who makes (or assists in making) a report, or a return, notice or any other document as required by the Act, which contains an untrue statement of a material fact, commits a criminal offence.4
It is also an offence to omit to state a material fact in any such document.5
B. Misuse of accreditation6
Misuse of accreditation is an offence.
Misuse of an accreditation symbol is an offence.
Misrepresentation of data from an accredited body is an offence.
C. Breach of confidence
Any person who is, or was involved in the performance of any duties under the Act commits an offence if he discloses any information obtained in the performance of those functions (except as is required by law).7