SIZA manages the audit process from its office in Somerset West near Cape Town, by using the MySIZA online platform, which aims to create visibility throughout the agricultural value chain for South African suppliers to local and global markets. The MySIZA platform is developed to ensure adequate navigation for its diverse membership which includes suppliers, pack houses, processing facilities, audit entities, audit teams, industry organisations, consultants, and buyers around the world.
How to request to be audited
SIZA members must ensure they have an approved Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) before they will be able to schedule a third-party audit. The completion of this SAQ must form part of the annual preparation and planning for the season and not solely as an action prior to an audit. Once the member requires an audit, the member can select the third-party audit company of their choice on their latest approved SAQ on MySIZA. Once the request is sent to the audit firm through MySIZA, the scheduling process is managed directly by the audit firm. For more information on which audit company to select, please see SIZA recognised audit firms here
When must the audit take place?
Audits should take place during a period when the employment site is in full operation, such as peak production or harvest. In any event, there should be a minimum of two-thirds (66%) of the total number of workers (calculated during the busiest period) present in the workplace for the audit to be deemed as valid. If any processing or packing facility is on site, this facility should be accessible and in operation to allow for a thorough evaluation by the audit team.
Auditors and suppliers should be involved as much as possible in the audit process.
Three options to choose from (Ts & Cs apply):
SIZA offers three options to auditees regarding the audit process that will support members in being fully compliant with valid Audit Confirmation Letters throughout the year.
Social (Ethical) Onsite Audit
This process serves as the foundation for all credible social (ethical) audits and is detailed in the SIZA Audit Process and Methodology. This audit requires a full onsite evaluation and verification during the required timeframe. This is the most effective and preferred audit which ensures that the process is completed in full and timeously.
Social (Ethical) Audit with Bridging Period
This audit process was designed due to operational difficulties linked to the requirement to schedule an audit during peak season, given that 66% of the total number of workers (calculated during the busiest period) are not always present on the premises when all the facilities are in production (i.e., harvest season versus packing season). In many cases, the site’s Audit Completion Letter expires in this period and causes delays in supply. In these cases, members can apply for a Bridging Letter which will be awarded based on a risk evaluation after the audit already took place. This will allow the member to maintain a valid Audit Completion Letter whilst they complete the corrective actions following the latest audit.
Social Offsite Audit with an Onsite Follow-Up Visit
With a scenario, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, physical evaluations within the business might be difficult to manage. SIZA has a responsibility to members, buyers, and other stakeholders to ensure that the audit process remains credible and adheres to global standards. This process allows for the possibility to have 50% of the social audit completed offsite via a thorough desktop review, after which the member can apply for a SIZA Extension Letter until such a time when the onsite verification (remaining 50%) can be completed in full. This allows for a full social audit to be completed whilst ensuring continued supply to markets for the member. It is important that the onsite verification need to take place during the prescribed peak season and high risk-period as is the minimum audit requirement. It is important to note that this option will have a delay in issuing document, as the onsite visit needs to be concluded before audit reports can be issued.
SIZA Audit Dispute Procedure
The third-party audit process allows for an open and transparent process. This ensures equal opportunity to all parties involved to engage with the SIZA requirements and the audit findings on the day of the audit. SIZA recognised auditors aim to attain agreement during the closing meeting of an audit. This agreement relates to the findings made on the day(s) of the audit, corresponding with the corrective action plan and deadlines. However, sometimes auditees do not agree with a specific finding and can thus log an audit dispute via MySIZA. SIZA implemented this process with the sole purpose of giving suppliers the option to voice concerns. Disputes can only be raised by the supplier him-/herself and must be done online on the members profile on MySIZA. SIZA manages the dispute process as follows: