Tag Archive | CSIR

Agrément Bill from CSIR will help localisation

building siteAgrément process helps new products…. 

An Agrément South Africa Bill has now been tabled in Parliament in an attempt to re-vitalize innovation and technical and engineering development mainly in the construction area that will hopefully benefit  socio-economic and developmental projects – for example, low-cost buildings, water and sanitation, road construction and basic systems applications. A responsibility currently of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Agrément SA is an institutional practice which, according to its website, “serves the national interest as an internationally acknowledged independent SA certification centre also serving the building and engineering communities.” It says it by providing “assurance to specifiers and users via technical approvals of ‘fitness-for-purpose’ of non-standardised and/or unconventional products”, Agrément SA evaluates such “fitness-for-purpose” on items and products used in the construction industry for which no national standard exists. The system is perceived as a necessity since many municipalities and local governments do not have personnel who can assess innovative systems themselves and can look therefore for such certification.

Legitimising many new products

A recent review of the Agrément SA’s departmental performance revealed that a lack of legal status, had negatively impacted on the department’s overall “functionality”. In other words, expectations were not being met and the “red tape” created by examination of too many government departments involved in the investigation, testing, liaison and certification process, produced a much delayed result and inefficiency. Since 1969, CSIR with Agrément SA has certificated internationally 266 systems developed in South Africa and 52 products created locally but this is considered way under par in the race to encourage innovation and develop small business, particularly in the targeted area of providing socio-economic benefits. Cabinet approved in October last year a draft designed to tighten up how Agrément SA is to be managed. Firstly, the bill as now tabled, seeks to establish Agrément SA as a juristic person with the relevant staff transferred from CSIR, and for an entity to be formed with its own board subject to the PMFA.

Non-standardised products can be specified

Secondly, the Bill seeks to provide legislation that will continue to provide assurance to specifiers and users of the quality and value for money of non-standardised construction related products or systems.  The Bill is specific in its focus to support the introduction and use of a certified non-standardised construction related engineering or other products or systems in the local or international market. Primarily the overall object will also remain a catalyst for encouraging research and development of non-standardised construction related products or systems to support socio-economic development. However, the reconstituted entity will be able to charge fees for services rendered and open a bank account. Any issued agrément (consent) certificates will be valid for three years. Other articles in this category or as background ParlyReportSA – CSIR reports on languages We can do better says new public works minister – ParlyReportSA Infrastructure Development Bill to cut red tape – ParlyReport

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SA needs 3 languages not 13, CSIR says

New minimal language policy proposed by CSIR

signpostThe Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) says that 77% of South Africans can understand each other in three of the main languages. They have, as a result, proposed that a language policy which recommends English, isiZulu and Sepedi as official languages, be adopted. A draft new language policy has been published in the government gazette for public comment which minimalizes ten of South Africa’s current official languages.

The proposal, however, makes it clear that it also recommends that a policy should be adopted for use of information in additional languages in areas where there is “a regional footprint” and “as far as is practical and reasonable” to respond to requests and communications sent in languages other than the official three.


The organisation says the selection of its three official languages was based on “maximum reach through the principle of mutually intelligible languages”. Sepedi is one of many dialects of the Sotho people, known as Northern Sotho or Sesotho sa Leboa, from whence the homeland name of Lebowa was drawn, and is mostly spoken in the Northern Province of South Africa.     Around  3.7 million people in South Africa use it as their home language, it is reported, and Sepedi is the most common language spoken in the heart of the industrial South Africa, which also has largest residential area.


Meanwhile, English is the most common language in schoolbooks. It also the most common “lingua franca” of  trading partners in North America, the Australasias, India, and to a great extent in Africa and Europe, all of which are major trading partners of South Africa. All government correspondence in South Africa has now switched to English as first choice, as does business and commerce by default, which fact is probably related to the fact that this is first choice of the JSE and the IT industry worldwide.


IsiZulu, also known as Zulu, is understood by people from the Cape to Zimbabwe and reported to be understood by some 10 million persons.   Zulus are part of the Nguni group of people, taking their name from the chief who founded the royal line in the 16th century.   King Shaka raised the tribe to prominence in the early 19th century, from whom the current dynasty is founded. Over 95% of those who speak isiZulu live in South Africa, meaning that 24% of the population can speak this language, dwarfing other languages except English.

Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa, rated as understood by 24% of the population, with about 10 million speakers – the vast majority of whom live in South Africa.

Not included

Notable is the fact that both Afrikaans (the language of the political base prior to 1994 and the cause of outbreaks of violence when the language was named as first choice for schools throughout South Africa) and Xhosa (the language of the political base after 1994), are not included.

Neither is Tswana mentioned, one of current eleven official languages in South Africa, which is spoken by a larger number of people actually living in South Africa and not in Botswana, the home of the language. Other articles in this category or as background http://parlyreportsa.co.za/trade-industry/nema-waste-ask-parliamentarians/

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