Industry leaders convene to focus on trade and productivity across Africa at the CRU Africa Wire, Cable & Tube Conference 2019

As interest in the market potential of Africa grows, the inaugural CRU Africa Wire, Cable & Tube Conference is perfectly timed to address the business opportunities for local producers and manufacturers, seeking to establish new trade partnerships with international stakeholders involved in the African steel, copper and aluminium supply chains.

This important new event is co-organised by CRU and The Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK), and will be held on 11-13 November 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The conference has attracted strong support from key local associations including the Steel Tube Export Association of South Africa (STEASA) and the Association of Electric Cable Manufacturers of South Africa (AECMSA). International supporters include wire and Tube Düsseldorf, the world’s largest trade shows in these fields, as lead sponsors.

“We are very excited by how this event has taken shape. It promises to be a great opportunity to explore the trade dynamics and market conditions in a region that has traditionally been less well understood. It is a fantastic chance to learn about opportunities to boost trade and investment, and consider the real challenges being faced by the companies that are advancing the African manufacturing sector,” comments Michael Finch, Head of Wire and Cable, CRU.

Companies confirmed to speak include the South African Department of Trade and Investment, and the Nigerian Ministry of Mines & Steel Development. Major international companies such as ArcelorMittal, El Sewedy Electric and Aurubis will be sharing their market insights, and local manufacturing leaders such as Aberdare Cables, Alcon Marepha, CBI African Cables, Barnes Tubing Industries, Honingcraft, Hall Longmore and Macsteel Tube & Pipe will discuss their opportunities and challenges in a series of high-level panel discussions.

CRU’s experts will explore the main trends impacting the global copper, aluminium and steel markets, and how they might affect African development across the wire & cable, and tube & pipe industries. The agenda also includes a day of technical showcases, with industry experts exploring the latest global technological advances in manufacturing, and how they can be applied to African operations.

The conference will be complemented by an exhibition of more than 20 leading international metals manufacturing technology service providers, including: SMS Group, AESA, Cable Manufacturing Optimization (PTY), Ltd., Clobbi, Jiangsu Hero Way Rolling Co., Ltd. Macotech, Maysky, OMS, Sikora, Supermac, WPSSP, and Zumbach.

The inaugural CRU Africa Wire, Cable & Tube Conference will be held at the Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa.


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The need for SAFEhouse in a safe South Africa


Apex Cordset Technologies adhere’s to both South African and international  quality standards and have strict in-house policies in place to guarantee that our clients receive the safest products on the market.  We strictly enforce all the relevant national and international legislative requirements when it comes to product safety.  Our membership with the SAFEhouse association is further testament to our pledge to uphold the safety of South African consumers.

In our previous article we took a brief look at the South African SAFEhouse Association and the events surrounding its formation.  South African consumers are however well within their rights to wonder just how a situation came about where an industry must effectively resort to self-regulation to maintain basic safety standards and safeguard its consumers.   While living in a so-called nanny state is certainly not the solution, consumers might be forgiven for merely assuming that their best interests are being looked after by government bodies and regulatory boards, especially when it comes to products that can pose the potential life-threatening dangers upon malfunction as posed by electrical goods.  In this post we examine the roles of South African regulatory bodies and how these inadvertently contributed to the influx of cheaper unsafe electrical products.

The challenges faced in the  South African regulatory environment

The challenge is essentially two-fold: On the one hand, the role of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has undergone a significant change since 2008.  Its role nowadays is more that of a commercial certification and  testing facility, and the trusted SABS stamp of approval has been replaced  as the guarantee of the high standard that all products on the market are held against.  The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), which was once part of the bureau, has instead taken over this  role by issuing compulsory specifications and regulating the compliance of goods sold into the South African market. (Unfortunately, its role is very limited, and a great number of products are never tested, allowing sub-par goods to slip through the cracks.)

On the other hand since there is no compulsion to comply with the certification mark such as the SABS mark   , a single LOA document issued on a test report and no inspection of the product or factory has been found to be open to abuse. The process is simple : One set of perfectly compliant samples often refered to as “Golden Samples” are submitted for testing at an accredit laboratory. Upon issue of the test report tp the NRCS an LOA is then issued for a total of a 5 year period without further tests or investigation.  Orders arethen placed on the manufacturer , who in some cases then unscrupulously produces the products using sub-standard materials (cheaper) based on the issued LOA for 5 years.

This uneven playing field that has been forced upon South African manufacturers is therefore detrimental to local industry. Safehouse has been engaging with the NRCS to try and resolve the challenges as set out above in order to prevent non -compliant product from entering our market and thereby ensuring the safety the South African consumer.

Apex Cordset Technologies’ and SAFEhouse

Why the need for SAFEhouse?

Apex Cordset Technologies is proud of its affiliation with the South African SAFEhouse Association – a local independent, registered non-profit industry organization. It is established by the electrical industry to protect South African consumers by combatting the recent influx of poor-quality unsafe electrical equipment that can lead to serious injuries or even death in South African homes and workplaces.

It’s referred to as “the China Effect” as markets across the globe are being flooded by the import of cheaper, mass produced products. South Africa is no exception. Our clothing, textile and motor industries have up until now been the main sufferers, but in recent years the electrical manufacturing industry has unfortunately also felt the pinch as local retailers increasingly turn to these cheaper Far East imports instead of stocking locally produced items.

Not only is this negatively impacting the South African economy through the inevitable job losses, but these products are often of sub-standard quality. They are produced from inferior materials and are generally not held to same stringent production and manufacturing standards as South African items.

While it might be inconvenient to purchase a clothing item that lets you down in fit and wear, it can be downright life-threatening if electrical equipment used in your home fails or malfunctions. While the Fire Protection Association of Southern Africa’s statistics are not as current as we’d like, the most recent information reports about 3 800 electrical fires occurring roughly on a yearly basis. Even more worrying is the roughly 14 000 fires that are qualified as “undetermined” in their causes. Instances of electrocution is also not often reported either, so the damage could be much more widespread than previously imagined. This is according to SAFEhouse spokesperson Pierre Nothard.

What is SAFEhouse?

SAFEhouse is an association of organisations from within the South African electrical industry – mostly comprised of distributors, suppliers, wholesalers and even large contractors. SAFEhouse can benefit any organisation that fulfils the role of supplying electrical equipment either directly to the public or by supplying retail outlets and electrical contractors. SAFEhouse aims to regulate the product purchasing of electrical organisations by providing them with the criteria by which to judge whether the products that they are distributing conform to industry standards and are not merely selected with an increased profit margin in mind. While it certainly does not see itself as a consumer watchdog or protection body, SAFEhouse does welcome safety-related complaints from any party exposed to sub-standard electrical equipment and installations.

SAFEhouse operates on the following premise:

  • They list and offer products that adhere to the strict safety standards set by industry experts themselves
  • Clients are informed if any products should happen to fail the safety standards.
  •  Necessary steps are then taken to recall all unsafe products.
  • Distributors are instructed to exchange any unsafe products that they might have installed or distributed, or if applicable, they can redo any work previously done to improve the safety of the installation.


Apex Cordset Technologies holds its dedication to the safety and quality of our products in extremely high regard, and through the SAFEhouse initiative we are further empowered to guarantee the exemplary quality and performance standards that our customers have come to rely on.