Quality regulator finds cement complaints unfounded

Chief executive Thomas Madzivhe said the NRCS had given samples to the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) for testing.

"They conducted a full test, which takes about 28 processes, covering all aspects like the strength and components to judge its performance," he told the National Press Club in Pretoria on Tuesday. "They came back to us and said there have done all checks and tests that they can do. They said this cement complies with our regulations in South Africa."

The complaints were raised by the local cement production industry against Lucky Cement – Pakistan's largest cement producer.

The importation and sale of cement from Lucky Cement was halted last year when the NRCS was taken to the KwaZulu-Natal High Court by Natal Portland Cement (NPC).

It demanded that all distributors selling Lucky cement be investigated for selling inferior products.

The acting executive of non-perishable products at the NRCS, Musa Ndlovu, said the investigations sparked by the court wrangle were completed only three months ago and vindicated Lucky Cement.

"Again, we did the investigation and the results said there was no issue relating to the cement that is imported from Pakistan," Ndlovu said. "We then filed our responding affidavits to the court, saying there was no ground for us to take measures against Lucky Cement."

He said the SABS had been carrying out annual inspections at the manufacturing plant of Lucky Cement Ltd in Pakistan, as stipulated in the regulations.

"When the court case began, an executive from the SABS flew to Pakistan to double-check if everything was being done properly. He gave me a report saying all was done properly."

The NRCS recently held country-wide shows, teaching and getting feedback from communities about standards of different products, including cement.

"At no stage did a user complain about the quality of cement used in either an RDP house or a complete house," Ndlovu said.

"There are a lot of things that [go] into building a house. We are regulating cement as a product; [the quality of] a house will depend on many things, including how you mix the cement and how you build." – Sapa

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