Various organisations and industry associations met at the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) mid-August for the first planning meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). 

Image credit: NEFTA

Image credit: NEFTA

The National Electrical Test Facility (NETFA) TAC was launched on 30 July 2019 to create an open and inclusive platform for a broad group of electro-technical stakeholders to advise on the renewal and modernisation of NETFA.

NETFA is the largest, independent test facility for power utilities and the electro-technical industry within Africa, and has been providing services since 1980. The test facility, based in Olifantsfontein, Gauteng is equipped with indoor and outdoor high-voltage test facilities, a short circuit test laboratory and a materials & installations laboratory. NETFA provides services to a wide range of local, African and international clients in fields such as electricity generation and distribution, mining equipment, asset management, and electronics manufacturing.

“While SABS has regularly invested in maintenance and upgrades, we have reached a point where we need to strategically recapitalise NETFA to meet current and future test demands. The renewal must be done with the support and inclusion of the industry that it supports. The collective expertise of the TAC will be invaluable in determining the success of the modernisation effort,” says Johan Louw, SABS Executive: Laboratory Services Division.

Key industry stakeholders who make up the NETFA TAC will ensure alignment of the capital investment plans to the pace and development of the industry. Various workgroups will be created to ensure that there is a broader and deeper engagement to the proposed strategy and implementation plan.

“NETFA needs to support the local economy with relevant, cost-effective conformity assessment services. The upgraded facility will be better able to meet the requirements of local and international standards as well as customer specific requirements. Products that are successfully tested at NETFA will enhance South Africa’s export potential and supports job creation,” says Louw.

In March 2019 the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) allocated R300-million, over a three year period to SABS for the purposes of upgrades to critical infrastructure to support the economy. R95-million was earmarked for infrastructure upgrades and included NETFA.