Skip to content
Search our site  
    December 1, 2023

    Market access conditions in South Africa



    Amongst Africa’s 55 countries and about 1.3 billion people, South Africa is the 6th most populous with about 60 million. The control of imported electrical and electronic products is well organized, as regards technical- and conformity assessment requirements for e.g. electrical safety, energy efficiency, EMC and radio frequency. 
    There are three separate regulatory agencies covering their different areas and aspects:

    ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa).
    ICASA processes applications for approval of telecom and radio equipment. A local applicant is required, and a certificate can cover up to 4 models if the manufacturer can document that these have the same technical characteristics. There is no expiration date for ICASA approvals.
    As in many other countries worldwide, ICASA has recently authorized the use of WiFi6 technology, i.e. opened the lower 6GHz spectrum band (the 5925-6425 MHz band) to provide more robust and reliable wireless communication and give users enhanced services.

    NRCS (National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications).
    NRCS covers the electrical part of regulated equipment, such as household appliances, power tools, IT & AV equipment, lighting products etc. When covered by the scope of Compulsory Specifications (denoted VCs), such products must be approved by NRCS Letters of Authority (LOA) for both electrical safety and energy efficiency, before being marketed. The validity of LoAs is 3 years, which may be extended if applied before the expiration date.
    Local applicant is required and only the local importer can be a holder of the NRCS approval. The approval can cover all the models in a product family, typically as defined in IECEE/CB Test Certificates).

    SABS (South Africa Bureau of Standards).
    SABS covers the EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) of electrical/electronic equipment without telecom functions. Family approvals are possible also in this case but limited to 4 models per approval (as far as covered by the same EMC test report). 
    SABS has two schemes (A-Lab scheme and ILAC scheme) for providing EMC CoC (Certificate of Conformity).
    The A-Lab Scheme only allows test reports from laboratories designated by SABS. In this case, the lead time is only 30 days.
    The ILAC scheme, which was introduced last year, entails acceptance of test reports from any laboratory accredited by a member of the international accreditation association
    ILAC. In this case, the lead time is 90 days.
    SABS certificates are valid for 3 years and then subject to renewal.

    For further information and/or assistance with approvals for South Africa, please contact


    (The article is based on partly the info provided by an African agency and edited by T.Sollie)

    Click Here To Subscribe To Our News In Brief



    Some of the other articles in this newsletter