The showdown looms after the announcement of plans to abolish electrical compliance certificates. Houses built after 1994 have to have such a certificate as do renovated properties in order to prove that electrical installations are safe. The Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA) is taking the labour minister to court to set aside regulations that make such certificates compulsory.
The public is being exposed to life-threatening situations on a daily basis because of the wheeling and dealings that go with the issuing of the certificates. One electrical contractor said he would profit more from having himself liquidated than by fixing mistakes at his own cost.
Because the labour department holds the owner or resident responsible for the safety of a building or unit, they are merely told to fix the problems at their own cost when they complain.
Mark Palmer, a respondent in the case, and his colleague, Deon Venter, are accusing the ECA of deliberately slowing down the publication of sorely needed regulations to retain their income source, namely control of the Electrical Contractors' Council (ECC). Some 88 cases of fraud against electrical contractors are being investigated in Pretoria alone.