Business & Economy

Monday, 19 November 2018 11:58


Written by 
Christian Kurdy

Over the past few years, the Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association (SAPPMA) has slowly but surely been expanding its influence beyond South Africa's borders as this voluntary, self-regulatory body continues to attract members who are also operating in neighbouring, sub-Saharan countries.

According to Jan Venter, CEO of SAPPMA, both the association’s name and logo are being recognized as a guarantee of top quality HDPE and PVC pipes that are sold in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Furthermore, the SAPPMA brand and mission are also being communicated into the rest of Africa and the Middle East thanks to Abu Dhabi-based NSF International, who provides independent, third-party testing and certification of plastic ingredients, materials, fittings and piping.

Operating in a global village

"The world has truly become a global village. Borders and distances between countries are no longer a barrier to entry or to conducting business. For this reason, it is imperative for the plastic pipes that are being manufactured in South Africa (and are being exported to the rest of the continent, and perhaps even the world) to meet international standards of quality," says Jan Venter, CEO of SAPPMA.

This observation is confirmed by Christian Kurdy, Managing Director of NSF. "More and more consumers are looking for safe and quality products. This has become the norm in the US and Western Europe and is most certainly a differentiating factor in countries like South Africa.  It is important to consistently produce high quality plastic piping products and being a member of SAPPMA sets these products apart from the inferior ones,” Kurdy says.

“High quality standards do not have borders and SAPPMA is actively engaged in a mission to help companies provide credibility to their customers - whether they are located in South Africa or abroad.  By deciding to join SAPPMA, NSF international (a US based organization) is proving that this awareness is indeed borderless," he emphasises.

Providing quality assurance in every language

Proplastics Limited in Harare, Zimbabwe, was established in 1965 and this country’s leading plastic pipe manufacturer has a significant market share in the SADC region.  It is also the only plastic piping manufacturer in Zimbabwe that is affiliated to the SAPPMA SADC ISO stringent protocols of manufacturing quality guaranteed products equivalent to world class standards.

"Displaying the SAPPMA logo on our pipes gives our customers - both local and foreign - the comfort and assurance that Proplastics provides them with value on their return on investment through high quality products, high ethical standards, market education and products and services that are bench marked against world class standards," says Kuda Chigiya, Chief Executive Officer of Proplastics. Flo-Tek Pipes & Irrigation Pty Limited is another one of SAPPMA's members which operates in various African countries. They manufacture and supply a wide range of products that are applicable in various sectors and sell their wide range of pipes, fittings, tanks and irrigation products through their sales outlets in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and soon in Zambia. According to Chakrapani Bandaru, Chief Operating Officer at Flotek, the company has manufacturing plants in South Africa and in Botswana, but that it manufactures PVC pipes in Botswana which are sold in South Africa.

“The purpose of the SAPPMA logo is to create consumer confidence within the local and international plastic pipe industry. Specifiers and end-users can rest assured that the plastic pipes and pipes systems in which they are investing, will last in excess of 100 years and pass stringent and rigorous quality tests”, he confirms.

Mutually beneficial relationships

Although they are primarily focused on the Middle East, NSF decided to join SAPPMA as part of their efforts to promote the protection and improvement of human health and the environment, which happens to be NSF International’s recognized mission statement.  "We are actively engaged in promoting quality, safety and sustainability of plastic pipes and strive to join forces with other organization which share the same vision," NSF's Christian Kurdy explains.  He adds that belonging to SAPPMA unlocks benefits for both parties.

"On one side we are able to interact with local stakeholders, share experiences, access market intelligence and join forces in promoting safe and quality products whilst, on the other side SAPPMA and its members can benefit from our global, 50 years +, expertise in the plastic industry".

Jan Venter agrees that SAPPMA members operating outside of South Africa's borders bring significant benefits to the table. "It is always valuable to hear a different, global perspective on issues we might be facing in South Africa, and it certainly helps us to ensure that our standards and processes are on par with what is happening in the rest of the world," he says.


According to a recent Sector Trends report which was released by the Industrial Development Corporation's (IDC) Department of Research and Information, plastics tubes, pipes, hoses and fittings valued at R682.56 million were exported from South Africa during the first half of 2018 alone.

During the same period, imports of these products reached R850.99 million. The top export destinations for locally manufactured products were Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, whilst most of the products were imported from China, followed by Germany and the USA.

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