Strengthening the Quality Infrastructure institutional alignment of South Africa
The Trade and Industry Policy Strategy (TIPS) research organisation in South Africa was commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) to conduct research into the dynamics and alignment of institutions in the technical (or as we call it quality) infrastructure in South Africa.
Mesopartner is sub-contracted as part of the team.
The Director of TIPS, Mr Saul Levin, is leading the project. From Mesopartner, Dr Shawn Cunningham, Dr Ulrich Harmes-Liedtke and Annelien Cunningham are members of the team. Shawn is focusing on the performance of organisations of the four main public National Quality Infrastructure organisations (SABS, SANAS, NMISA and NRCS), their relationships and interaction with demand. Ulrich brings inspiring practices from other countries around the world to the project. Annelien is supporting with research, data processing and documentation of findings.
At a workshop, representatives from dti, SABS, SANAS, NMISA and NRCS confirmed the importance of updating and reorienting the National Quality Infrastructure. The current structure goes back to the so-called "SQAM Review" (Standards, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology) from 2001. The Standard Act from 2008 established the new legal basis of South Africa's Quality Infrastructure. Since then, the establishment of an independent regulatory body and the nationalisation of the accreditation body have been implemented. Private providers of conformity assessment (testing and calibration laboratories and certification bodies) gained in importance.
The project team follows a dynamic understanding of quality infrastructure. In the coming months, the researchers will examine, among other things, the legal and institutional framework, gaps and overlaps in services, and market developments.
With this project, TIPS and Mesopartner underline the importance of quality infrastructure for the development of South Africa and the entire African continent.
It is foreseen that the project will deliver its final report during May 2020.