Bill will enforce consumer standards

2014-02-24 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal legislature on Friday approved amendments to the Legal Metrology Bill, which aims to achieve free, fair trade and increase public health safety.

The amendments were approved at a special sitting on Friday where all political parties agreed to pass the bill. It is now left to the National Council of Provinces to vote on the amendments for Parliament to adopt it.

In a presentation done by the KZN legislature’s legal adviser, advocate Kwezi Masondo said the bill aims to introduce strict measures to set standards, mainly for industrial production. She said the new bill will have technical infrastructure that comprises standards, quality assurance, metrology (scientific and legal) and accreditation.

“Globalisation is increasing the demands on countries to demonstrate that they have the technical infrastructure to guarantee that products originating in their territories are safe and ‘fit for purpose’,” said Masondo.

She said trade metrology is about weights and measures, and deals with the sale of pre-packed goods, in terms of scales and volume measuring instruments.

“The previous bill had a limited scope — only trade measurements. The penalty is ineffective — R1 000 or six months or both. The size of business is not considered … [In the new bill] provision is made for effective and relevant penalties,” said Masondo

Masondo said expanding the scope of legal metrology will include the introduction of quality measurements.

The new bill allows for fines to be imposed, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years or both.

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