By Bongani Tshabalala
BLOEMFONTEIN-It has emerged that South Africans complained mostly about consumer rights failures regarding non-delivery of goods ordered online, a lack of disclosure of the quality of goods and unfair and unjust prices during the Covid-19 lockdown.
This was uttered by acting National Consumer Commissioner(NCC) Thezi Mabuza ahead of the launch of the commissions’ celebration of World Consumer Rights Day on March 15 in Bloemfontein.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic period, regulators received more complaints relating to non-delivery of goods purchased online, lack of disclosures concerning quality of goods, unfair and unjust prices of essential goods and services, mushrooming of pyramid schemes, as well as complaints relating to second hand goods, particularly disclosures of the conditions of the vehicles and violation of warranty provisions,” Mabuza said.
The NCC has joined several government agencies to mark the day, under the theme ‘Protecting Consumers during Covid-19’.
“WCRD commemoration is an opportune time for regulators in the consumer protection space to reflect and recommit themselves to ensure the realisation of the purpose of the CPA. South Africans are going through a rough time, particularly during this period; as regulators in this space, we are not going to tolerate unscrupulous suppliers and predators exploiting the situation” Mabuza said.
The National Consumer Commission (NCC) in partnership with the Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA), National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), Consumer Goods and Services Ombuds (CGSO), Motor Industry Ombuds of South Africa (MIOSA) , National Credit Regulator (NCR), Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and various regulatory bodies under the umbrella of the Consumer Protection Forum (CPF) joined forces this week to highlight and celebrate World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD).
The week-long programme was launched in the Free State, this past Tuesday by MEC Makalo Mohale. As part of the celebrations, the University of Fort Hare through its Faculty of Law has officially launched a Consumer Law Module. This Module will be offered to fourth year students, during the second semester.
WCRD focuses on the importance of keeping consumers informed about their rights and responsibility when transacting with suppliers.