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Industry News

South African & East African Footwear and Leather Goods, Leather and PPE industry news.

‘End of the road’ for this long relationship?

Published: 18th Apr 2017
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor
The SABS and testing policies
Pretoria (SA) – The safety footwear industry's strained relationship with the SA Bureau of Standards over its testing policies and the performance of its laboratory shows no sign of improving.
        Neptun Boot confirmed it had stopped using the SABS laboratory - a move it threatened last year - "as we don't get results, nor do we get replies to correspondence. [Auditor] Adri [Croucamp] is the only one who tries to assist," Neptun MD John Robb said.
        Asked whether Neptun had decided to drop the SABS mark, he said: "Not yet, but within the next few months we will withdraw from the SABS and continue with internationally certified products and licensing. Almost all of our products are internationally certified to EN 20345:2014."
BBF had "started to use other accredited labs", and that withdrawing from the SABS mark scheme was "under consideration", BBF CEO Silvio Ceriani said.
Meanwhile the SABS has declined to respond to questions on its testing. S&V Protect asked it:
- Has the slip resistance testing equipment been commissioned, and is that test now being offered?
- What is the average turnaround time for footwear testing now?
- Can component suppliers submit their products in isolation for testing, or do they have to submit them as part of a made-up shoe?
- Has there been any change to the policy of partial testing?
- Has there been a decline in the number of companies submitting footwear for testing, or in the number of samples being submitted for testing?
-  Do you have any news or plans relating to footwear or footwear component testing which you can share?
In his response, Ian Plaatjes, executive: corporate services, wrote:  
“In 2004, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) decided to deregulate the testing of products in South Africa. This initiative was driven by the interests of industry who successfully argued for government to stop investing in South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) laboratories in order to encourage competition. 
“The Standards Act was subsequently amended in 2008, which effectively reshaped the industry and SABS.  SABS laboratories were no longer state funded and needed to become independent, commercially viable and competitive in relation to international test houses and local laboratories. 
“As a commercial entity, SABS cannot divulge sensitive information, operating models or trade secrets.  SABS is equipped to manage testing laboratories for various products, including shoes.  All tests are conducted according to the requirements of South African National Standards (SANS).  
“In recent years with the increase of imports, especially from the East the need for local testing and quality assurance remains high, however there is a reduction in the number of local requests for testing.  
“SABS works closely with a variety of stakeholders, including government and industry participants.  We convene engagements with the relevant participants if there are any changes, enhancements, or general updates.”

Reports of blitz on all footwear imports

Published: 18th Apr 2017
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor
All safety footwear – locally made or imported – must eventually have the numbers to be compliant with the law, but imported footwear is more immediately affected because it is checked by NRCS inspectors at ports of entry. From the safety footwear importer’s point of view, NRCS numbers – or proof that they have been applied for – are attractive mostly because they supposedly speed up the import process.
Ironically, importers and a clearing agent are reporting that all footwear imports are currently being targeted for inspection.
“The NRCS is only 1 of 5 government agencies which can inspect cargo,” said the clearing agent, who didn’t want to be named, but whose company works with a number of footwear and footwear component importers. He said the most important is SA Revenue Services (SARS) – formerly Customs – which oversees all imports in respect of import duties. The others are SAPS (counterfeits), Port Health Services (disease) and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (various agricultural products).
“At least 80% of footwear and footwear component containers are being stopped by SARS,” the agent said. “They’re all being queried.”
Emailed questions to SARS – first to its Durban office, which referred Protect to its media office in Pretoria – asking whether and why these products were being targeted, went unanswered.
Rebel’s Gingell said the NRCS was responsible for the stopping of its containers: “Yes – we’re finding far more containers are being stopped by Durban NRCS. There appears to be little communication between NRCS in Durban and NRCS in Pretoria, about the status of applications.
“We’ve only recently received the NRCS numbers, so we're not yet in a position to say whether this will improve our status with NRCS, and hence reduce the number of stoppages.
“Our containers are still mixed – a container may contain some styles which are approved, and others that are not yet approved. However, we have proof that we have submitted an NRCS application for each style that we are importing.”

A-OSH Expo 2017: First Aid and OHS Act training

Published: 18th Apr 2017
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor
Midrand (SA) – A one-and-a-half day First Aid training session and a half-day OHS Act familiarisation training session will be held on the first 2 days of the A-OSH exhibition (May 30-June 1).
The courses will be run by TrainingTech.
The First Aid course will run from 08.00-16.00 on May 30 and 08.00-12.00 on May 31, and will cover:
* Emergency scene management
* Primary survey
* Secondary survey
* SAMPLE history
* Anatomy & physiology
* First aid procedures
* Abdominal Thrust
* Recovery Position.
From 13:00 to 17:00 on May 31, TrainingTech will present a course entitled 'What is the function of the Occupational Health and Safety Act?' The course is intended to provide risk and OHS managers with a grounding in the application of the Act and covers:
* What are health and safety representatives?
* Functions of health and safety representatives
* What may & should a health and safety representative do?
* What is a health and safety committee?
* What are the functions of a health and safety committee?
* What are the employer and employee duties?
Full course details are available from TrainingTech marketing director Riandi Appelgryn. – [,]

Appeal to tanneries and others in the leather industry

Published: 10th Apr 2017
Author: Quintin Marais; president; SLTC Southern African Section

On behalf of the Southern Africa SLTC, we are pleased to invite your corporation to our yearly SLTC conference that will take place on the 26 to 28 May 2017.

        The conference is held yearly to present all aspects that influence the leather industry and offer a networking environment between tanneries and suppliers. This year we have secured papers from first-time speakers Prof Gerrie Swan of the Exotic Leather Cluster and David Ford of the SA Feedlot Association. We also have a paper by the president of the UK SLTC – and old friend of the Southern African leather industry - Steve Trantum, and we have papers by overseas speakers from chemical houses. We are also securing a speaker from a leading tannery machinery manufacturer.

        We would be delighted if you, or any of your management or technicians, can join us during this event.

        The event will be held at La Wiida Lodge, 183 Hennopsriver, R511, Hennopsriver Valley, Pretoria, 0026.

        Please contact our secretary, Nicky Phipps, for details. – []

The Rand: Not too bad – yet

Published: 3rd Apr 2017

Morné Howell, Afro-Thai Imports
Port Edward (SA) – On Tuesday last week I put out my price list for the year – now we might have to revisit some of them. We were very upbeat – we still are – about our range, but the economy will contract if the Rand keeps falling. We’re more concerned about the end consumer – right now people won’t go out and shop as freely as they would have done a week ago.

        Last year it was most volatile over December and January. This year the currency was stable over the critical period, which makes you look at your margins, costings and forward cover to cut where you can because retail is so tough. This next week will be as exciting as last week. 


Roger Zeino, Branded Footwear & Clothing Co
Cape Town (SA) – As things stand at around the R13.50 to USD, it’s an acceptable rate. During various stages of 2016 the currency was at far worse levels. Everyone is currently in the same boat, and I think as long as we don’t see the value depreciate to beyond 15 to USD we should be able to manage. Once we start breaking that threshold, we need to raise prices aggressively, which will having damaging consequences  as there is a limit to what the consumer can afford to, or is willing to pay for technical gear.



Clive Wood, Crown Footwear Group
Pinetown (SA) – We costed at R13.50, so we should be alright. But of course we don’t know where it will go. It was over R14 not so long ago.



Ridwaan Moola, Dolce Vita division of Foot Focus
Durban (SA) – "The volatility does affect all importers and creates a negative mindset. However, at the Foot Focus group, we strive to add value to the retailer in terms of product and pricing which in turn benefits the consumer and we will continue to connect retail and trends and give guidance to our retailers in these tough trading times.”


Tags: rand, ZAR
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