Gaborone: Local retailers who are selling poor quality appliances had a shock of their lives recently when Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) stormed in and removed electrical plugs, adaptors, sockets, liquefied petroleum gas and regulators from the supermarket shelves. BOBS seized a total of 7914 electrical appliances and sent them back to South Africa and Zimbabwe from where they had been imported.
BOBS Director for Regulatory Compliance, Botsile Kebapetse warned that non-compliant electrical appliances such as plugs are hazardous and can cause fire to property. He said while Botswana receives products from manufacturers across the world, most of the non-compliant ones mainly come from Asia. He added that non-compliant products were forcefully removed from shelves. 'We only investigate and take action with regard to the placing of non-compliant product in the market,' said Kebapetse.
He explained that the issue of the buyer and seller is dealt with by the Department of Consumer Affairs. He however said BOBS has not received any official reports of accidents caused by the manufacturers’ products. BOBS has partnership with the Ministry of Trade and BOCCIM to ensure that Botswana is not a dumping ground for cheap sub standard products.
'Our primary objective is to formulate standards and co-ordinate quality assurance activities in Botswana with the mission to improve the quality of life Batswana,' said Kebapetse.
In 2003, BOBS commissioned a market research to identify products that can be regulated through import inspection and the electrical appliances were identified during the research. There was also a campaign around the country on sub-standard and non-compliant electrical products.
Kebapetse stated that Botswana Unified Revenue (BURS) has been assisting at border posts, inspecting products entering the country. He said there should also be inspection of products before they leave their countries. He stated that producers should also apply for market certificates to produce at the border gates.
'BOBS is responsible for market surveillance and last year 33% of electrical products were problematic during inspection,' said Kebapetse.
BOBS is the official body responsible for all issues related to standardization and quality assurance at the national level. BOBS is a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the national contact point for all SADC programmes and Standardization and Quality Assurance. BOBS offers technical services in the areas of standardization, testing of goods, certification of products, industrial & trade metrology, quality management systems, environmental management systems, information and training.