The Cement & Concrete Institute (C&CI) has expressed concern about the increasing volume of cement imports and the quality of these imports.
Bryan Perrie, managing director of the C&CI, raised this warning while speaking in Cape Town recently at the 3rd Annual Construction Sector Outlook Conference, organised by Deutsche Bank and Industry Insight.
Looking at ‘The challenges facing the cement and concrete industries’, Perrie told the conference that about 300 000 tons of cement had been imported into South Africa in the year ended July 2011 – with about 40 000 tons landing on our shores during the month of July 2011 alone.
Perrie said that most of the imports come from Pakistan and that C&CI and the South African cement industry are most concerned about the quality of these imports. “We are uncertain as to whether testing is being done – according to stipulated requirements – on every 500 tons of the cement that land here to determine if it conforms to the compulsory requirements of the South African National Standard. We are also concerned as to whether the National Regulator for Compulsory Standards (NRCS) is adequately enforcing this requirement,” he said.
Perrie said the industry’s concerns were compounded by the fact that both the importers and the NRCS are employing the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) for cement quality testing. “We see this as making the SABS both a referee and player in this scenario.”
The cement industry is also concerned about the NRCS’ general capacity to control the quality of cement imports competently, he said.