South Africa to celebrate international consumer rights day

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World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is celebrated across the world annually on 15 March, since 1983. The very first consumer rights were pronounced in 1962, by then President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy. These rights have since evolved, and with time came to be adopted as part of the United Nations Guidelines for consumer protection. South Africa as a member state of the United Nations in 2009 promulgated the Consumer Protection Act, Act 68 of 2008, to give effect to consumer protection, consistent with its Constitution and the UN Guidelines.

The Consumer Protection Act recognizes eight (8) fundamental consumer rights which must be observed by business. These are: the right to equality in the consumer market, privacy, choose (choice), disclosure and information, fair and responsible marketing, fair and honest dealing, just and reasonable terms and conditions, as well as the right to fair value, good quality and safety.

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) in partnership with the National Credit Regulator (NCR) will from 15 – 20 March embark on a consumer awareness drive under the theme: “Consumer rights are Human Rights,” to particularly mobilise vulnerable consumers, to know, take ownership and demand their rights as key role players of economy. Some of the planned activities for the week includes an Imbizo in Kwa Thema Township, Ekhuruleni, mall and train station activations, as well as a consumer protection symposium for regulators of industry.

“It is indeed a fact that at the heart of any economy in the world lies the virtuous participation of consumers. Consumers play a critical part in the growth of the economy. It is imperative that we create an enabling environment for them to participate easily, without discrimination, especially with the sluggish economic growth that we currently experience as a country, “said NCC Commissioner, Ebrahim Mohamed.

“In my view, consumer rights day should be every day,” added Commissioner Mohamed.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as the custodian of consumer protection policy, established the National Consumer Commission (NCC) as well as the National Credit Regulator (NCR) to implement policies that will amongst other things protect and enable citizens to be economically active.

-Statement