Fire risk

Pertunia Ratsatsi

A row has broken out between the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and a company that "has deliberately evaded a directive to recall unsafe paraffin stoves".

Panda paraffin stoves are one of the main fire hazards in shacks and in rural communities, the SABS alleges.

"The public must refrain from buying non-pressure paraffin stoves. Panda [stoves], produced by Tao Ying Metal, do not comply with the requirements of the safety, health and environmental standards. This leaves consumers' safety and health at risk," said SABS spokesman Themba Madzivhe.

Tao Ying Metal company said the warning came as a shock because, they claim, they stopped making and distributing the stoves last December.

The company claimed it had exported all the unsafe stoves to Namibia and Lesotho.

Spokesman Mike Sing said the warning tarnished the name of the Panda brand - it makes a far wider range of goods than just paraffin stoves.

The bureau, however, believes the company continues to produce the stoves.

"We believe the company is still producing the stoves because more than 13000 are still on the market. SABS has pleaded with the company to apply corrective measures, but the company deliberately failed us," he said.

Anyone found distributing the product would face legal action.