Looking back at 2016

Deryck Spence, Executive Director of SAPMA

In 2016, SAPMA managed to achieve many successes.

It took 10 long years to achieve accreditation, but now at last all training programmes promoted and offered by SAPMA are fully accredited by either CHIETA or the QCTO.

SAPMA, also lodged the coatings industry’s objection and rejection of the Department of Higher Education and Training’s plans to discontinue the SETA system that was introduced to coordinate the training of workers and employees of industry.

The Department’s move will misappropriate funds raised through the Industry Training Levy and put these funds in the coffers of the National Skills Fund to alleviate the pressure of free tertiary education. The funds are paid for by industry for the training of their workers and employees – not for free education.

SAPMA also managed, through the auspices of its Technical Committee, to renegotiate the interpretation of the Agricultural Remedies Act of 1947, which prevented the banning of in-can biocides from use in the paint industry. Since the major percentage of our industries production is water-based the decision would have been catastrophic. In the end, common sense prevailed and the paint industry was excluded from the legislation.

We have also managed to conclude agreements between the coatings industry and STATS SA for the all-important collection of accurate, detailed and regular industry data vital for our industry to strategise for the future and for SAPMA members to have access to up to date market statistics for future planning.

It also promoted the total elimination of lead from all paints in South Africa. However, our plea for the Hazardous Substance Act to be amended, and offending manufacturers prosecuted, has fallen on deaf ears. Our membership of the International Paint and Printing Ink Council (IPPIC) as well as Global Alliance for the Removal of Lead from Paint (GAELIP) and affiliation to World Health Organisation (WHO) eventually led to the Department of Health calling on SAPMA and all stakeholders to attend a workshop on the 30 November 2016 with an agenda aimed at the total elimination of lead from all paints manufactured in S.A., including industrial products. We shall keep you informed about this meeting.

While on the subject of leaded paint, SAPMA has opened negotiations with International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) for discussions to increase the duty on imported paint. South Africa is the only country in Africa and Asia with legislation regarding lead in paint so we need to protect our markets from cheap imported paint products containing lead. Here also we shall keep readers informed of developments.

There is growing concern regarding the curtailment of services to the paint industry by the S.A. Bureau of Standards (SABS.) It has been reported that the testing of products and issuing of SABS Quality Marks have been suspended. Frequent enquiries for information pertaining to the rumours by SAPMA have been unanswered. SAPMA is subsequently busy investigating the possibility of the industry introducing its own Quality Band Systems and is discussing such a strategy with independent accredited laboratories.

SAPMA and the Oil & Colour Paint Chemists’ Association (OCCA), the partners and organisers of the successful Coatings for Africa Conference, are in discussions with the DMG Group (organisers of the Worldwide Coatings Shows) to grow and improve the highly successful 2013 and 2015 Coatings for Africa Conferences. The planned 2018 show will be bigger and better.

There are many challenges facing our industry during 2017 and onwards. It is for this reason that we are pursuant of the strategy for SAPMA becoming a Professional Body, through the Professional Board for the Master Built Environment (PBMBE) spearheaded by Dr Ivor Blumenthal. This is a professional body, which will decide on behalf of our industry, as to the development and direction of our industry, the training and funding requirements, together with the levels of professional competences required and certification of such competences to all participants in our industry.