New law to protect consumers

13 February 2009

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is set to embark on a countrywide campaign to educate South Africans about the effects of the country’s new consumer protection law.

The Consumer Protection Bill has been passed by Parliament and is awaiting President Kgalema Motlanthe’s signature before becoming an Act.

Consumer activism

The new law provides for the accreditation of consumer groups that lodge complaints on behalf of consumers, and could provide financial support for consumer advice, education, publications, research and dispute resolution.

It also calls for the establishment of the National Consumer Commission, a body that would be tasked with investigating consumer complaints.

The DTI’s Zodwa Ntuli said the overall aim of the new law was to ensure fair, competitive and responsible markets that work well for consumers and promote ethical business practices.

Consumer information

“The Bill will also ensure that consumers are able to make well-informed buying decisions and access a wide range of products and services based on honest and fair marketing,” Ntuli said in Pretoria this week.

“Consumers drive competitiveness and economic growth. Well-informed consumers stimulate innovation, better quality products and services, and competitive prices.”

Ntuli added that the DTI wanted to educate consumers not only about their rights under the new law, but also their responsibilities in ensuring the effective implementation of the law.

SAinfo reporter

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