Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi is spearheading the proposed overhaul, which involves changes to regulation of the labelling of cosmetics in the country.
The aim is to allow for better “regulatory oversight” on cosmetics retailed in South Africa, according to the suggestions that were published recently in the Government Gazette, and bring the country in line with international standards.
The most recent regulation for cosmetics in the country was reportedly put in place in 1972, and is no longer fit for purpose, according to media outlet BD Live.
Indeed, many hair dyes retailed in South Africa are technically illegal, as ingredients included in such products are prohibited by the historic legislation.
The plans for the overhaul will address these issues, and reportedly include disallowing terms like ‘clinically proven’ or ‘recommended by doctors’ on cosmetics packaging when not backed up by evidence.
They also aim to plug the current gap in legislation that means products in the country are not actually required to display ingredients on their labels.
BD Live quotes the registrar for medicines at the country’s Department for Health, Joey Gouws, explaining the government's motivation for the changes.
"If you look at our South African public‚ they can be really vulnerable‚ if you see the words ‘clinically proven’ or that the doctors recommend this‚ you will think in your mind that this is then a safe product‚" said Gouws.
"If there is no scientific or proven data that has been researched by a medical practitioner or there is no clinical data that proves that it ‘takes away wrinkles’ for example‚ then you are misleading the public.”
The changes are now open to public comment from interested groups and bodies, with submission to be made to the country’s Department of Health in the coming months.