SAFEHOUSE WARNING: RETAILERS SELLING UNSAFE PRODUCTS WITH IMPUNITY
SAFEhouse has submitted an online report to the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications about unsafe, non-compliant electrical products being sold by retail outlets and has also lodged a complaint about these products with the National Consumer Commission.
SAFEhouse identified unsafe Redisson branded products at an ‘Africa Cash and Carry’ outlet in Crown Mines and, at a Crazy Plastics store in Alberton, SAFY branded products were found to be non-compliant. SAFEhouse had the products tested by an accredited laboratory and they were all found to be non-compliant with South African regulations and to be unsafe.
“Such products do not comply with compulsory standards and are illegal,” stresses Pierre Nothard of the South African SAFEhouse Association, “and distributing such products is a criminal act, yet unscrupulous suppliers are able to distribute them with apparent impunity,” he says.
“SAFEhouse had a meeting with Africa Cash and Carry but the company has not responded to communications and there is no indication that the products have been recalled from the market, as they ought to be,” says Nothard. “It appears that the Redisson product has not been withdrawn from the Africa Cash and Carry store in Crown Mines. It is also known to be available at other re-sellers.
Nothard reveals that SAFEhouse attempted to make contact with the importer of the Redisson products but has not received a response.
Back in August 2015, SAFEhouse advised the “apparent owner of the Crazy Plastics brand” of its findings but Crazy Plastics outlets are still selling SAFY products. “Neither the brand owner nor the outlets concerned responded to our communications. There is no indication that the products have been recalled from the market, as they ought to be,” says Nothard.
He warns that the problem also extends to safety devices, such as circuit breakers and earth-leakage units that do not perform their function, endangering lives and property.
“Non-compliance is difficult to assess and unsuspecting users are using unsafe products in their homes and in commercial and industrial buildings,” warns Nothard. “Documents (letters of authority) produced as authorisation to distribute products are not always reliable proof that the version of the product currently in circulation complies with regulations.”
He says that sub-standard products are sometimes distributed under different brand names and in packaging that obscures their identity. When retailers are advised that products are unsafe, a common response is to rebrand the product and/or to change its packaging.
“There are more than 3 000 electrical fires annually in South Africa and there are many more with unknown causes that could be electrical,” he says.
SAFEhouse has reported its findings to the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications and lodged a complaint with the National Consumer Commission.
SAFEhouse urgently appeals to:
- All re-sellers concerned to recall the products from the market, including from users who may be using the products in homes and other buildings.
- The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) to institute the action required in terms of its mandate to protect users.
- The National Consumer Commission to institute the action required in terms of its mandate to protect consumers who may be potential victims.
The products, illustrated below, were purchased locally are a tiny sample of many substandard, unsafe electrical products being distributed in South Africa on a large scale.
Except for the SAFY SF-A007 adaptor which has visual non-compliances, the SAFEhouse Association has had the electrical products depicted below tested by an accredited laboratory. They have been found to be non-compliant with SA regulations and are unsafe.
More information: Pierre Nothard at firstname.lastname@example.org
The South African SAFEhouse Association
181A Barbara Road, Elandsfontein, Gauteng
P.O.Box 2566, Edenvale, 1610
Phone 011 396 8140 / 8000. Fax 086 297 7506