Aug 2023 1st edition

SABS testing vs SABS certification: Know the difference


The South African Bureau of Standards offers product testing and certification services and there are significant differences between the two.

Did you know that the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) testing is not the same as SABS certification?

The SABS said it is aware that some manufacturers use SABS test reports as evidence that their products are ‘SABS Approved’.

“[The term] ‘SABS Approved’ can only be claimed by a SABSmanufacturer if the products [are] actually certified by the SABS.

“The SABS laboratory test report is a report of the performance of that product against requirements of a standard or other client-specific requirements, and this does not indicate that the product is ‘SABS Approved’ in any way,” said Scholtz

An SABS permit to apply for the certification mark is a more comprehensive statement of quality assurance of the product or system, explained Scholtz.

The SABS is responsible for product testing in South Africa and conducts a range of tests against South African National Standards (SANS) and customer-specific requirements. It also tests against compulsory specifications may be issued for certain product categories.

The SABS offers certification schemes for both products and/or systems that comply with the SANS or a relevant mark scheme.

The SABS’ testing and certification services are offered independently, meaning that the SABS gets and maintains an accreditation status in order to offer the testing and certification services.

When the SABS uses third-party laboratories, the laboratories must meet strict requirements and must be assessed and inspected by the SABS.

Testing is just one of the requirements in the complete SABS certification process.

Conformity assessment helps manufacturers during product development phases to ensure that relevant changes or improvements can be made.

Clients need to specifically apply for certification at the SABS.

SABS approved trademark

“Should a client be successful in obtaining a permit to apply the ‘SABS Approved’ trademark to their products, the assessment of the production facilities will be done in accordance to the requirements of quality management systems.”

The assessment of the production facilities is done in accordance with the requirements of quality management system.

“In cases where products are considered high risk, for example, where raw materials used in the production process are unstable or where there is a high consumer danger, the SABS works with the customer and regulatory authorities to impose and implement additional consumer safety measures,” the SABS said in a statement.

These include:

  • Batch testing of every batch of products.
  • Unannounced inspection services, for example, in hazardous waste disposal.
  • Environmental Management System certification to ensure that all environmental aspects and impacts are being identified and managed.
  • Occupational Health and Safety Management System certification, where all related hazards and risks are identified to improve the occupational health and safety of those affected by the company’s activities.

 “All clients looking to test their product or to have their products or systems certified should consult the SABS … It is the logical place to start in order to conduct a self-assessment for quality requirements. Should products and/or the implementation of systems be at an advanced level, the SABS is able to offer quotations for independent assessments and for consideration for certification,” the SABS said.  

This information was supplied by the SABS.

For more information about the SABS visit: or call


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