Thus far, 2020 has been an eventful and busy year for us all — especially so for SIZA. While the national lockdown has created challenges for businesses and individuals throughout South Africa, SIZA launched the brand-new platform, MySIZA, while simultaneously working hard to embrace the challenges posed by the pandemic and creating a safe and secure way to present compliance and checklist training to our members and auditors alike.

SIZA also took pro-active measures at the beginning of the national lockdown to assist our members over the last couple of months so that they can proceed with maintaining good business practices, ethical compliance, and environmental assurance as far as possible. Therefore, SIZA needed to communicate a contingency approach to SIZA audits in response to limiting the risks involved.

The SIZA programme essentially now offers three audit processes that can be followed in ensuring that SIZA members can complete their season and have a SIZA audit conducted that remains in line with the audit methodology and market requirements. Based on the particular circumstances of the site at a particular time, the site will have three options to choose from when they have a SIZA audit conducted.


Normal full onsite audit

This option is well known and has been implemented since SIZA’s inception. The auditor visits the site at a time scheduled between the audit company and SIZA member. The audit checklist is completed in full on the day(s) of the audit as scheduled. The audit report is generated within 10 business days after the audit, and the site can implement the required corrective actions needed to complete the audit. Once all corrective actions have been submitted on MySIZA and the auditor is satisfied and approves all actions, the audit completion letter will be generated. This option is relevant for both Social and Environmental audits.

(Terms and conditions of the SIZA APM apply)


Onsite audit with a bridging period

This audit process was established in 2019 to assist members who have multiple commodities and peak-seasons, to allow a full and comprehensive audit. In some cases, the processing facilities might only be operational at a later stage (after the current audit validity expires). To assist members in maintaining export, the auditor visits the site during a time when 66% or more of the workforce is present and returns at a later stage to complete the audit by including the processing facility.

In these cases, the site can apply for a Bridging Letter, allowing for a bridging period of no longer than 3-months between the audit date and its completion to be issued to allow the audit to be completed and for the site to implement further corrective actions before receiving the Audit Completion Letter.

(Terms and conditions of the SIZA APM apply)


Offsite/onsite audit with an extension period

During times where any site can provide an adequate explanation or reasoning on why they cannot have an audit conducted onsite in full at any particular time, the option exists for the site to have an offsite audit conducted which will cover 50% of the audit checklist for Social audits, and 90% of the checklist for Environmental audits. The remainder of the audit will have to be completed onsite as soon as the site is able to allow the auditor onsite. It is, however, important to remember that the business will need to make sure the onsite visit meets all the requirements of the SIZA Audit Process and Methodology (APM), such as having 66% of the workforce present, processing facilities in production, etc.

Once the offsite audit is conducted, the site can apply to SIZA to receive a Provisional Extension Letter, of no longer than 3 months from the previous audit date, to allow export to continue until such time that the onsite visit can take place. It is important to note that an Audit Confirmation Letter cannot be issued until the audit was completed in full and all corrective actions were completed, signed off, and closed.

(Terms and conditions of the SIZA APM apply)


If a site fails to complete its corrective actions, consequences will include the following:

  • In the first year after the initial audit, all outstanding non-compliances will be transferred to the next audit, which can relate to a critical finding if non-compliances are carried over.
  • If this happens for two consecutive years, it will not be possible to schedule an audit until all corrective actions are adequately implemented and closed out by the auditor.


Although SIZA offers three audit options, it is important to check with your buyer to confirm their audit frequency requirements. While every attempt is made to get retailer buy-in for the SIZA Audit Frequency Matrix, SIZA cannot override the requirements of retailers.