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​​Legal Metrology Overview



The Legal Metrology Business Unit ensures that consumers receive the quantity of goods, as declared by an importer, manufacturer or retailer on a prepackage. It also ensures that instrument measurements remain accurate, within prescribed limits of error, where measuring instruments are used to conclude a transaction. In short, both industry and consumers are protected.


The unit therefore promotes fair trade by:

  • Ensuring that measuring instruments used for a prescribed purpose are evaluated for proper design, construction and accuracy, taking into account the South African climate and environment

  • Undertaking market surveillance to ensure that importers, manufacturers and retailers of products use accurate instruments for trade and that, where manufacturers or retailers prepare prepackages, there is no short measure

  • Taking action against those importers, manufacturers and retailers that supply short measure products or use inaccurate measuring instruments

  • Designating private verification laboratories to verify measuring instruments, used in terms of the LMA, on behalf of the regulator

  • Evaluating the competence of verification officers who work for private verification laboratories and who perform verification on behalf of the NRCS

  • Providing traceability to national standards for verification and inspection standards used to type approve, verify and inspect measuring instruments. Traceability is the unbroken chain of calibrations or comparisons linking international standards and/or national standards to the level of verification standards u​sed

  • Providing training to inspectors and, where requested, to regional legal metrology bodies

  • Providing input into legal metrology matters in national, regional and international standards as required by SADC Cooperation in Legal Metrology (SADCMEL), FRIMETS and International Organisation of Legal Metrology (OIML).​

List of VC's and Regulated Products


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Legal Metrology - Policies and Procedures


Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is Legal Metrology?

A. It is the science of measurements divided into three branches namely: scientific, industrial and Legal Metrology.

Legal Metrology is measurements controlled by law concerned with the accuracy of measurements where they have influence on the transparency of economic transactions, health and safety.

Q. What does Legal Metrology do?

A. In every transaction, an impartial unseen third party watchdog is an essential element to ensure fair and honest play;

Legal Metrology Business Unit is mandated to ensure that consumers receive the correct measure of goods declared by the importer, manufacturer or retailer on pre-packaged goods or, where a measuring instrument is used to conclude a transaction, it remains accurate within prescribed limits. In short, both industry and consumers are protected, which ensures fair trade. This is achieved by doing the following:

  • Ensuring that prescribed measuring instruments used for trade are type approved for proper design, construction and accuracy taking into account South African climate and environment before they are allowed to be sold into the market for trade purposes

  • Conducting inspection on goods and measuring instruments to ensure that importers, manufacturers and retailers use approved and accurate measuring instruments for trade and that where there is pre-packing of goods ,there is no short measure

  • Through our calibration laboratory we are providing traceability of accuracy to National Standard for verification and inspection standards, also standard used to approve measuring instruments

  • Under the National Gambling Act, we are mandated to evaluate and approve gaming hardware and software by issuing a Letter of Certification

  • Providing technical input into national, regional and international standard development in the metrology domain. eg International Legal Metrology Organisation (OIML) SADCMEL and AFRIMETS. The NRCS represents South Africa on the Legal Metrology matters on the forums mentioned above.

Q. What does the e-mark mean?

A The e-mark is a voluntary registration scheme in terms of SANS 1841, underwritten by NRCS Legal Metrology to ensure a consistent implementation of quantity control measures and gives consumers a guarantee that prepackaged goods bearing the mark are compliant to the average packing system. The scheme is also a mechanism designed to enable Industry to regulate themselves, to instill consumer confidence in pre-packaged goods and promote international and cross border trade.

Q. What is the registration process for the e-mark bearing importer?

A. Local Packer: The packer must submit an application for assessment of the packer’s quantity control process to the Legal Metrology. The application shall include the complete documentation of the system to be implemented as well as an application form, on which the packer shall include the range of products to be registered under the quantity control scheme. The documentation submitted shall at least include the elements of the quantity control guidelines and the applicable standard.

Importers: Importers must submit an application form, a product list and proof of compliance of the product(s) as required by the three packing rules to Legal Metrology. ​


Contact Details​​