Hon Chairperson, hon Deputy President, all Ministers and Deputy Ministers, the director-general and staff from the Department of Trade and Industry, and all members of this important House, today marks another historic milestone in the number of pieces of legislation passed by the ANC government since the start of the democratic dispensation - that of introducing the Legal Metrology Bill for adoption by this Parliament.
The purpose of the Bill is to promote fair trade, and protect public health and safety, and the environment. Furthermore, the Bill provides for market surveillance by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications in order to ensure compliance with the legal metrology regulations.
Legal metrology is the entirety of the legislative, administrative and technical procedures established by or with reference to public authorities, and implemented on their behalf in order to specify and to ensure, in a regulatory or contractual manner, the appropriate quality and credibility of measurements relating to official controls, trade, health, safety and the environment. The application of the Legal Metrology Bill relates to the measurement of products and services. These are measurements in trade, safety and the environment.
In regard to health and the environment, the Bill specifically applies, for example, to the following areas. There are medical devices, some of which are syringes, blood pressure instruments and scales. These are devices that are involved in the medical measurement of, for example, temperature and blood. The importance of this is that an inaccurate measure of the scale of a syringe could result in an incorrect dosage, which might even lead to death. Secondly, there are safely measurements - measurements of speed and alcohol. The same is true for the safety measurements, where an incorrect measurement of alcohol content could have serious implications. Then there are environmental measurements, such as smoke emissions and water pollution.
The Bill, in sections 19 and 20, provides for verification officers, persons responsible for repairs, and market surveillance inspectors. Market surveillance inspectors are to monitor and enforce compliance with the provisions of the Legal Metrology Bill, and will inspect whether the product manufactured or offered for sale complies with metrological, technical regulations. This is to protect the user or the consumer from any incorrect measure that may lead to undesirable consequences. The Bill further makes provision for NRCS staff as market surveillance inspectors.
The Bill also makes provision for another organ of state to perform market surveillance, where an organ of state already exists and performs that task, in order not to have duplication. For example, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa is responsible for electricity meters. We don't have to duplicate that particular task. The above points, as provided for by the Bill, will put the user and the consumer at ease, knowing that the measurement given using a particular instrument will be correct, and that there will be no undesirable consequences which result in a catastrophic situation. This is indeed historic, and I firmly believe that because of the visionary character of the ANC, its understanding of the global environment, and its playing a leadership role as the glorious movement, it is an opportune time to realise that the ANC lives and leads.
In conclusion, with regard to some utterances, I think the Legal Metrology Bill has nothing to do with a protest action which happened as a result of service delivery challenges in the Western Cape. Hon Chairperson, the ANC supports the Legal Metrology Bill. [Applause.]