South Africa brings in new EMC certification rules

A range of consumer electronics products in South Africa now require certificates of compliance for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

This is according to new regulations published by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). Among the products affected by the new rules are: sound and television broadcast receivers; household appliances and electric tools; electrical lighting; computing equipment; and home alarm systems.

SABS’ new EMC regulations come as another South African regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) issued a notice stating that all electrical and electronic devices in country that do not have radio frequency modules require valid electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) certificates recognised by the SABS.

The rules update published on the South African tech news site, MyBroadband, come four years after an earlier attempt by SABS and Icasa to implement a new compliance regime failed amid criticism for the two regulators.

According to MyBroadband, one of the criticism was the insistence by the regulators that they would only accept compliance certificates from test laboratories authorized and integrated into the SABS Authorised Laboratory Programme (A-Lab). The regulators have now relaxed their approach, permitting certification by internationally accredited labs.

Although Icasa has stated that OEMs using test labs affiliated with the A-Lab programme participants will receive faster service because the SABS has a streamlined process with these labs.

According to Icasa the turnaround time for applicants using the A-Lab program will be ten working days compared to 30 days for those using non-affiliated labs.

The reason for the extra turnaround time, said Icasa, is because the SABS needs to verify the accreditation status of international and non-affiliated labs before considering their applications.

“In some instances, the SABS might require samples to be provided as an additional requirement to aid the formulation of an outcome,” Icasa said.

Icasa said it will collaborate with the SABS in carrying out market surveillance activities to ensure continuous compliance in the market.