Today, 9th June, 2018 the Southern African Development Community (SADC) joins the international community to commemorate the World Accreditation Day (WAD), a joint global initiative by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) to raise awareness on the importance of accreditation to our daily lives.
This year, the World Accreditation Day is being commemorated world-wide under the theme “Accreditation: Delivering a Safer World”.From the outset, in line with this year’s theme, it is important to appreciate that it is the pre-occupation of all Governments, regulators and businesses to keep people safer in their work, their domestic life, their journeys and in all other facets of their lives.
As we commemorate the World Accreditation Day, we reflect on the incredible work of the Southern African Development Community Accreditation Services (SADCAS), the regional accreditation body, established under the SADC Cooperation in Accreditation (SADCA), which ensures that all conformity assessment bodies in the region deliver safe workplaces, safe products, safe transport, safe food and safe services in all other areas of human life.
To date, SADCAS caters for the accreditation needs of the SADC Member States especially those without their own national accreditation bodies namely: Angola; Botswana; Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kingdom of Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
We note with pride that SADCAS has done a tremendous work in fulfilment of its mission of providing credible, cost effective accreditation services for SADC Member States aimed at supporting trade, enhancing the protection of consumers and the environment and in improving the competitiveness of SADC products and services in both the voluntary and regulatory areas.
It is pleasing to note that, as at 31st March 2018 SADCAS had issued 102 accreditation certificates to 77 accredited facilities in ten (10) SADC Member States and one (1) from Ghana which is not a SADC Member State. This feat affirms the acceptability of the conformity assessment results of the region to the rest of the world. According to SADCAS, more conformity assessment entities in Member States have shown interest in being accredited and, this growing popularity of the services of SADCAS, indicates the success of the SADC region’s multi-economy accreditation service.
On this day, we commend and congratulate SADCAS for its growth and for what it has achieved so far. This is a clear demonstration that the SADC region is now becoming more and more self-sufficient in offering technical services such as the accreditation and training in accreditation standards in accordance with internationally accepted standards. For a long time, the SADC Region had to source such services from outside the region.
The SADC Region can be rest assured that, SADCAS, being a signatory to the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for testing and calibration (ISO/IEC 17025), medical (ISO 15189) and inspection (ISO/IEC 17020), will continue to provide accreditation services and certificates as well as training on accreditation-associated activities such as accreditation programs for calibration/testing /medical laboratories, and certification and inspection bodies.
The SADC Secretariat would like to further encourage more conformity assessment bodies in the SADC region to reach out to SADCAS and get accredited. We are hopeful that with more accredited facilities in the region, we can deliver a safer region for all SADC citizens and ultimately, contribute to a safer world for all.
Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax
SADC Executive Secretary
Gaborone, Botswana 9th June, 2018