Do you need to service your bakkie every year? If your answer is yes, then you will understand that you need to do the same with your labour and sustainability compliance practices.

In the sometimes-challenging environment of audits, it can be difficult to sit back and reflect on a business’ practices every day, but similarly to a car or bakkie that needs to receive a maintenance check/service every year, a business’ practices and a risk assessment must be checked regularly. This is also relevant and required by your buyer for when a producer receives a Platinum, Gold, or Silver risk rating after their audit allowing them to get a longer audit validity. The business practices must remain in place between audit periods.

What is a Between Audit Monitoring Site Visit?

It is not new, but perhaps it is your first time to be drawn as part of the sample. Between audit monitoring site visits serve the purpose of monitoring practices between audit periods. Sometimes audits are valid for 2 or 3 years if the producer achieves a Platinum, Gold, or Silver risk rating. These longer audit validity periods are subject to between-audit monitoring. The Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) is an online monitoring tool which producers must complete every year to ensure that the markets accept the validity period. It is a requirement that SIZA does a certain sample of onsite visits on farms and packhouses as a between audit monitoring site visit as global buyers want practices verified through a site visit. This helps to support the longer audit validity periods, as continuous improvement is monitored online and onsite continuously.

How does it work?

Every year, SIZA will select a sample of producers who underwent audits in recent years and identify farms in the various provinces in South Africa that must undergo audit monitoring site visits. This sample is determined by various factors and selection criteria, such as market requests for some producers, audit frequency and risk rating of previous audits. Once producers have been selected, they will be contacted to determine their availability and peak seasons, and the process will be explained to them. Once the site visit is booked, the representative of SIZA will visit the farm on the agreed-upon day to verify the practices related to either their social/labour or environmental/sustainability practices. This will entail a review of all documentation, discussions with management, a brief site survey and if need be, interviews with a few workers. Once the site visit is completed, a short report will be issued to the site containing any potential improvements noted on the day. Producers must then complete these improvements to ensure they continuously improve and ensure they are prepared for their next third-party audit.

As with servicing your car or bakkie every year, certain maintenance issues may sometimes creep up that one is not aware of. Unless someone checks whether everything is still maintained, one will not know, and an accident or other issues may be caused later on. Similarly, if business practices are not monitored or ‘maintained’ regularly, there might be some problems or concerns from workers or even within the business documents, which will then cause a finding during an audit if not monitored beforehand.

The site visits not only offer the chance to inquire about compliance practices and requirements but also present a valuable opportunity to engage with our team of SIZA’s ethical and sustainability officers in person, fostering a deeper understanding of the processes. These visits form part of the producer’s membership and are done at no additional cost to the producer. If you would like to form part of the 2024 sample and have not been contacted, feel free to put up your hand and request a visit by contacting Wian van Niekerk at 021 852 8184 /