IMPORTANCE OF STANDARDS AND QUALITY INFRASTRUCTURE IN SOUTH AFRICA
BONGIWE VEZI 21707367
BONGIWE VEZI 21707367
Table of Contents
TOC o “1-3” h z u INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc524257050 h 3BODY AND DISCUSSION PAGEREF _Toc524257051 h 4CONCLUSION PAGEREF _Toc524257052 h 7REFERENCES PAGEREF _Toc524257053 h 8
The South African government recognises the increasingly active role that quality standards play in international trade, its focus on reinforcement of country’s technical support institutions. Not so long ago South African National Accreditation System (Sanas) hosted world accreditation day in which happens annually on 9th of June as this raises awareness of the importance of accreditation, because in a variety of ways standards and loyalty to standards, the ability to write your own standards and the ability to implement quality assurance measures have increasingly become critical elements of international trade.
South African’s four technical support bodies, South African National Accreditation System (Sana), National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and National Metrology Institute of South African (NMISA) has a critical role to play in ensuring that the country meet its high-quality standards. The important role played by these four institutions is lock in south African products into exports markets and lock out unsafe products which are harmful to our people and create unfair competition to local manufacturers and producers who work hard to meet our standards. South African had faced challenge of imported products coming into the country not meeting the local standards and competing with locally produced products in price but not in quality.
The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) describes a standard as a published document which lists specifications and procedures established to ensure that a material, product, method or service is fit for its purpose and perform in the manner it was intended for.
Globalisation is increasing the demands on countries to demonstrate that they have the quality system to guarantee that products originating in their territories are safe and fit for purpose. The quality infrastructure system allows an economy to set norms and standards and test against those standards to determine whether products or services are fit for their intended purpose. In South Africa, it is referring to the quality system as the technical Infrastructure, also referred to as SQAM (standards, quality assurance, accreditation and metrology)CITATION Dem14 l 7177 (Demana, 2014).
Quality infrastructure is defined as the totality of the institutional framework, whether public or private, the output of which includes the process of formulating, issuing and implementing standards and the associated evidence of compliance (the relevant mix of inspection, testing, certification, metrology and accreditation), to improve the suitability of products, processes and services for their intended purposes, prevent barriers to trade and facilitate technological cooperation CITATION Int04 l 7177 (UNCTAD/WTO, 2004). QI came into existence because of the globalization of the international economy and increased consumer awareness CITATION She11 l 7177 (Sherif, 2011). QI refers to all aspects of accreditation, certification, inspection, metrology, standardization and testing. Before products can be put on the market, they need to be designed or produced according to a specific standard developed by a standardization body. The products need to be tested by an accredited testing laboratory to check if they meet the requirements of the relevant standard
Infrastructure is currently a hot topic in both the academic and popular literature. Various reasons are postulated for higher infrastructure investment; research on infrastructure investment, both local and international, suggests a positive (sometimes causal) relationship between higher infrastructure investment and higher economic growth CITATION Bog06 l 7177 (Bogetic & Fedderke, 2006), South Africa is lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of a number of infrastructure variables CITATION Bog06 l 7177 (Bogetic & Fedderke, 2006), Infrastructure investment seems to be the politically prescribed prophylaxis of the South African economy. The reason for the investment in infrastructure seems to have shifted from primarily that of redistribution to that of encouraging higher economic growthCITATION Fed06 l 7177 (Fedderke & Perkins, 2006). Yet, the emphasis, both in research and in policy making, still seems to be on more infrastructure, rather than better infrastructure. This research note aims to critically analyse the lack of quality indicators in infrastructure empirics and to redirect attention to improving infrastructure quality in its various forms in South AfricaCITATION Fed06 l 7177 (Fedderke & Perkins, 2006).
BODY AND DISCUSSIONAddressing issues of infrastructure in South Africa
South Africa’s economy is the second largest in Africa but only with the substantially better infrastructure. It was a high GDP per capital compared with other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, but all has superlative of wealthy and poverty. More shacks made with tin and scrap-wood lie in the shadow of multimillion-dollar mansions with incredible ocean views. South Africa is ranked as one of the world’s most unequal societies by the Gini coefficient which is a measure of income inequality.
This issue of poor condition and deficient performance of infrastructure could be improved by simply building more of it. New infrastructure should be built in advance of satisfying demands, for instant the electricity generation and airport capacity. However, the need for an improvement in the quality of the casting infrastructure is not supplanted by the provision of new infrastructure. The contraction of more ports such as the deep-sea port at Coega in the Eastern Cape will reduce some of the burden of container traffic at other S.A ports, but it will not reduce only if the supporting transport infrastructure is in good condition and marked by reliable performance.
Nevertheless, the addition of more infrastructure is not the only way to address the problem- in fact, it is probably one of the least effective ways to use those resources that are currently available. Addressing key constraints to the logistics network, removing the red tape involved in extending the infrastructure, speeding up the services, discovering prices and the increase in the number of private initiatives undertaken may serve as important alternative to a simple cash spending fiscal exercise. However, it not easy to take such measures and are more difficult than just putting out a tender and signing a contract for a new project. This measure need local level managerial capacity, which most areas lack and the effect of the constraints is most severe.
Furthermore, it only the politicians and bureaucrats involved in decision making which may lack the political will to approve projects for improving infrastructure quality (Fourie,2006). One of the example is when Robinson and Torvik (2005) point out that a new bridge or port facility draw much more attention than does the filling in of potholes, even if these smaller improvements lead to greater efficiency. The theory of white elephants is proposed which is a political economy theory of inefficient redistribution that is politically attractive when politicians find it hard to make credible promises to supporters. They show that these projects are just politically appealing due to their inefficiency.
Benefits of infrastructure in different aspects.
Ports and air travel
Railways and road are typically competitors in the supply of transport services, on the one hand, and ports on the other are complementary, mostly in a country which does not have the benefit of major inland navigable waterways such as S.A. Frankel (1938:33) argues that railways were of the best significances in the colonization of Africa, but it was useless without the ports. The S.A controls and manages of the ports at Cape Town, Durban etc is done by the National Ports Authority. The cargo has seven ports which the growth of it increases in annual volume. Although cargo is not a direct measure of infrastructure, the substantial increases in the 1980s and 1990s relate to South African exports and imports, whose volume rose is combined by 158 per cent between 1979 and 2001 (cargo handled at the ports rose by 114 per cent and real GDP rose by 51 per cent). The high growth of handling contributes at times to congestion problems at some ports in cargo. Durban Container Terminal was reported to be working at 26 per cent above its intended capacity that involved the department of transport which stated that interviews with freight customers give the high levels of dissatisfaction with service levels at some of the ports.
Table 1. Tests for the relationship between real GDP and cargo handled at ports and air passengers.
Measure of infrastructure or infrastructure service GDP as outcome variable Port or Pass as outcome variable
Ports 3. 87 19,73
SAA passengers 4,71 6,41
International air passengers 4,00 0,75
The long-run forcing relationships from GDP to the volume of cargo handled at the ports, and from GDP to the number of passengers transported by SAA is indicated by the table above.
Diamonds discovery in 1867 gave rise to the town of Kimberley, which played an important role in the early development of South Africa’s railway infrastructure. According to De Kock (1936) wealthy grew rapidly but were however con strained by poor transport and communication services. The construction of approximately 110Km of railway lines in and around Cape Town and Durban was collaborated between private enterprise and the colonial government of the Cape and Natal. The average annual growth rate in South Africa’s railway lines was 29 per cent. When roads came to play an increasingly important role in the country’s transport system South Africa’s overall investment rate fell as it is indicated in Figure 2.
The annual growth rate of the railway lines averaged 5.7 per cent between 1885 and 1910 and 2,5 per cent between 1910 and 1930. The growth started to be slow after 1930, with the level of railway lines resembling a plateau at the top of a steep mountain this helped in sustaining the economic rate. The relationship between economic infrastructure and economic growth appears to run both directions. Economic growth provided both the needs for the resources to fund, various types of infrastructure. Provided that infrastructure projects take place in response to appropriate cost-benefit analyses, they are more likely to promote GDP growth that hinder it.
Why do we need quality infrastructure?
We need quality infrastructure to be able to engage in international trade as a country so that we can engage in trade effectively, trading partners are also required to have a mutual assurance that their goods and services are safe and are of a high quality. The southern African development community (SADC) has seen the significance of business and consumers maintaining standards of quality in South Africa and overseas.
Quality infrastructure is important and essential in sustaining the economic development of the country, the acceptability of infrastructure helps determine whether the country is succeeding or failing in branching out or expanding the production and trade while reducing poverty. Building quality infrastructure is essential is critical if success is what is needed to transform not only South Africa but Africa as a whole continent. Africa has high chances to be impacted extremely by climate change, representatives of this country called on policy makers and infrastructure project owners to ensure that there are strong measures which are built into infrastructure projects.
Developing countries must make sure that they continue exploiting so that they can continue to update a new trade standard and acquire the capability to conform to the increasing number of new regulations or to question the validity of the regulations that they consider to be discriminatory. A quality infrastructure is based on a lot of components which are closely related and form a network which has a logical link based on a technical hierarchy. This network must be supplied with international requirements.
Comparison of the quality infrastructure of South Africa compared to Sweden
The data which was used was in this research was used to compare the infrastructure of Sweden to the one in South Africa, this was obtained by collecting questionnaires to organizations which form part of quality infrastructure in the Republic of South Africa and in Sweden. This was done to obtain ideas and opinions which could help understand what builds the quality infrastructure of these two countries.
The following graphs show the people which represent South Africa who have obtained diploma qualifications which was 45,9%,however the people Sweden who have a obtained a diploma are 8,5 %.The people who South Africa with a post graduate degree are 14,%,while the ones in Sweden with a degree qualification are 45,8%.This means that a lot of people in Sweden are with a higher post graduate degree as compare to the ones in South Africa .This implies that the staff or employees from Sweden are highly qualified than the employees from South Africa. Employees from South Africa are encouraged to further their studies. This should be done by Government and institutions that form part of the Infrastructure, this can be done by making bursaries available to help the employees to further their studies. South African representatives showed that over 98,4% of the organisations that form part of the quality infrastructure, are structures from Government. These results showed that the quality infrastructure in Sweden is equally distributed where 30,5% of the organisations that form quality infrastructure are from government. From the research conducted it was found out that the South African institutions that form part of the quality infrastructure are under government, however Sweden is equally distributed in government or the private sectors.
CONCLUSIONInvestment in infrastructure is a serious issue constraint in South Africa which is being addressed within the governments framework. The current method which of analysis which is being used will impact the infrastructure on growth and it does not consider the impact of quality infrastructure measures. Poor quality infrastructure increases trading costs by retaining exports, this set back may be even worse in South African export, this means that it is necessary to know all the problems that lead to set backs. Better measures of infrastructure quality may be applied for a longer time span which is a necessity. To improve quality infrastructure, port efficiency, railway security, internet speed and physical quality must be improved.
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Demana, T. (2014). Technical Infracture.
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