South Africa – South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), has successfully undergone its joint African Accreditation Cooperation/SADC Cooperation in Accreditation (SADCA) (AFRAC/ SADCA) re-evaluation, which was held remotely.

SANAS is recognized by the South African Government in Act 19 of 2006 as the single National Accreditation Body that gives formal recognition that Laboratories, Certification Bodies, Inspection Bodies, Proficiency Testing Scheme Providers and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) test facilities are competent to carry out specific tasks.

AFRAC is a cooperation of accreditation bodies whose objective is to provide internationally recognized and accepted accreditation support to industry, thereby facilitating trade and contributing to the improvement of Africa’s competitiveness within the global market.

The Southern African Development Community Accreditation Services (SADCAS) is a multi-economy accreditation body established with the primary purpose of ensuring that conformity assessment service providers (calibration/testing, certification and inspection bodies) operating in those SADC Member States which do not have national accreditation bodies are subject to an oversight by an authoritative body.

The evaluation was conducted to determine whether the AFRAC signatory status of SANAS for the accreditation of Calibration, Inspection and Management System Certification bodies for; Quality Management System (QMS), Environmental Management System (EMS), Food Safety Management System (FSMS), Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OH&SMS) and Energy Management System (EnMS), should be maintained.

It also aimed at assessing whether SANAS should be recommended as a full signatory to the AFRAC for the accreditation of Product Certification bodies, Certification of Persons, Proficiency Testing Providers and Reference Material Producers.

The evaluation consisted of 9 AFRAC/SADCA evaluators with Mr. Adel Rezk of Egypt Accreditation Council (EGAC), as the team leader and evaluator for Calibration.

The team members were Mr. Chankar Bheekhun (MAURITAS, Mauritius) for Testing, Mr. Getnet Tsigemelak (ENAO, Ethiopia) for Medical Testing, Eng. Mahmoud Eltayeb (EGAC, Egypt) for Inspection, Mr. Ken Middlebrook (CALA, Canada) for PT and RMP and Ms. Sonia Mahdoui-Melki (TUNAC, Tunisia) for Certification of Persons and Management System Certification, sub-scopes: QMS, EMS, FSMS, EnMS and OH&SMS.

Others included Dr Hazem Sharaf El Din (EGAC, Egypt) trainee evaluator for Management System Certification, sub-scopes FSMS & EnMS and Product Certification, Mr. Ahmed Nasr (EGAC, Egypt) trainee evaluator for Certification of Persons and Management System Certification, sub-scope QMS, EMS, OH&SMS and Mrs. Felista Nyakoe (KENAS, Kenya) trainee evaluator for PT.

The AFRAC evaluation was also witnessed by 3 International Laboratory Association/International Accreditation Forum (ILAC/IAF) evaluators as part of the re-evaluation of AFRAC. They were Mr. Adam Gouker (A2LA/IAAC): TM-R: Product certification; Mrs. Nelly Tsalkani (ESYD/EA): TM-R: Person certification; and Mr. Victor Angeles (EMA/IAAC): TM-R: PT and RMP.

The AFRAC evaluation covered a full review of the SANAS Management system, as well as the accreditation processes for the Calibration, PT, RMP, Testing, Inspection, Management System Certification (QMS, EMS, FSMS, EnMS and EnMS), Product Certification and Certification of Person departments.  Records and evidences of implementation were thoroughly studied and staff interviewed.

“SANAS wishes to express their appreciation to the evaluation team for the very competent, professional and friendly approach to the evaluation, to its CAB’s for their participation in the evaluation, and lastly to its assessors for demonstrating their competence, knowledge and expertise during the assessments witnessed,” stated the agency.

At the closing meeting of the evaluation, the team confirmed, in particular that SANAS operates well established accreditation programmes which comply with the requirements of the relevant accreditation standards and applicable ILAC/IAF/AFRAC requirements.

The team also concluded that SANAS’ permanent staff are skilled and satisfactorily technically qualified for the functions they perform.

Additionally, they concluded that SANAS has access to a sufficient number of well qualified, experienced and competent external Assessors and Experts.

However, 11 Non-conformities were raised, with 13 comments.  SANAS will now concentrate its efforts on appropriately addressing the findings within the time-lines given.

The AFRAC decision-making processes by the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) Council will follow once the findings have all been satisfactorily cleared.