Department of Public Works
The public works department briefed the public works committee on the recently tabled Agrément South Africa Bill this week.
The bill was tabled earlier this month.
The department highlighted the bill’s intention to accord legal status to Agrément South Africa.
Presently, the entity is dependent on the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to carry out its administrative functions and manage its technical agency.
Agrément South Africa evaluates the “fitness-for-purpose” of items and products used in the construction industry for which a national standard does not exist.
A recent review of Agrément South Africa’s board’s performance revealed that a lack of legal status as well as the need to report to two departments had negatively impacted on its overall functionality.
The proposed legislation will seek to:
• Provide assurance to specifiers and users of the quality and value for money of non-standardised construction related products or systems;
• Support and promote the process of integrated socio-economic development in South Africa as it relates to the construction industry, encouraging research and development of non-standardised construction related products or systems to support socio-economic development;
• Support the introduction and use of a certified non-standardised construction related product or system in the local or international market;
• Support policy makers to minimize the risk associated with the use of a non-standardised construction related product or system; and
• Be an impartial and internationally acknowledged South African centre for the assessment and confirmation of fitness-for-purpose of non-standardised construction related products or systems.
The bill seeks to establish Agrément South Africa as a juristic person.
It will also allow for the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act to be applied to it.
The reconstituted entity will be able to charge fees for services rendered and open a bank account.
Issued Agrément certificates will be valid for three years.
The proposed legislation also calls for the staff of the Technical Agency in the CSIR to be transferred to Agrément South Africa.
According to the earlier cabinet statement, the proposed legislation will “contribute to the creation of a dynamic and innovative construction sector that will positively impact on job creation while contributing to Government’s infrastructure plans”.
The department stressed that irregular expenditure concerns raised by the auditor-general would be addressed by the bill.
A stand-alone entity would also be able to introduce regulations more easily to ensure quality assurance of products and materials for which standards do not exist.