The ECA(SA) promotes a clean and compliant electrical contracting industry so when Carte Blanche approached the Association, Regional Director for the Highveld Branch, Chris Koen, assisted them in their investigation into allegations of overcharging by an electrical contractor.

It should be noted that some concerns were raised after Carte Blanche aired its investigative segment on 19 January. At around four minutes into the video, a statement is made by the journalist that “… the ECA(SA) recommends no more than a 20% mark-up on parts”.

Mark Mfikoe, National Director for the Association says, “The ECA has no pricing policy and does not dictate to members what they should or shouldn’t charge.”

Helpful information for homeowners

All electrical contractors are required by law to be registered with Department of Labour; and ensure that all electrical work is performed in accordance with legislative requirements and any applicable codes of practice and technical standards. This registration entitles them to issue Certificates of Compliance – legally.

Unregistered pirate contractors ignore such obligations. People who employ the services of ‘pirate’ electrical contractors must understand that their choice of electrician – usually based on price – may turn out to be very expensive, at best; at worst, the consequences may be deadly. It must be remembered that while the homeowner may believe that their electrical installation is safe, due to the latent nature of some electrical faults, the danger may not be immediately apparent.

Using an unregistered electrician is not only illegal, it can also invalidate insurance cover and, in the event of an electrical fire, the insurer can refuse to pay any claims if the CoC for the property was issued fraudulently by a pirate contractor and/or is not valid and up-to-date to include all alterations that may have been done to the electrical installation.

If a claim has been rejected by an insurer, a civil claim against the ‘pirate’ contractor would be futile. 

Cecil Lancaster, the ECA(SA)’s Regional Director in the Bosveld region – says that although the average homeowner may not read or even be aware of the Electrical Installation Regulations, in South African law the rule ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’ (‘Ignorantia juris non excusat’) is applied. That’s the bad news. There is no good news.


Clause 6 (1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act No 85 of 1993 (incorporated under the Electrical Installation Regulations) states that no person may do electrical work as an electrical contractor unless that person has been registered as an electrical contractor in terms of these regulations”.

The ECA receives many calls from homeowners and one of the most frequently asked questions is: How do I know if an electrical contractor is registered?

If the electrical contractor is an ECA member, he/she is certainly registered because it is a condition of membership. If an electrical contractor is not a member of the ECA, it is best to ask to see his/her registration certificate from the Department of Labour. If there is any doubt about the registration, take note of the registration number and contact the Department of Labour to verify that the electrical contractor is indeed registered.

Or, for more information, contact the ECA(SA) in your region:

Regional offices

Highveld              (010) 271 0686         

Pretoria                (012) 342 3242         

Durban                 (031) 312 6313         

Bloemfontein    (051) 447 0859         

Port Elizabeth    (041) 363 1990         

East London       (043) 726 6359         

Cape Town          (021) 462 2690         

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