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Consumer Protection Bill: Gauteng holds back on NCOP approval

June 1, 2009

Select Committee on Economic and Foreign Affairs

In a recent meeting of the select committee on economic affairs of the NCOP it became apparent that, whilst eight of the provinces had supplied their mandates giving approval from each of the provincial legislatures on the Consumer Protection Bill, the Gauteng legislation has yet to do so.

The result is that the bill cannot yet move forward in the parliamentary process, although the select committee has voted on the “desirability of the legislation”. It has already approved, in the meanwhile, a small number of amendments in the light of the eight other provincial mandates. The majority of proposals for any changes, it is realised, will come from the Gauteng legislature.

The bill is a section 76 matter and requires a full debate in all nine provinces, but took the unusual route of going to the NCOP first, primarily because of legislative pressure on the National Assembly.

The Gauteng legislature debate on the subject of the long-awaited Consumer Protection Bill was both extensive and detailed, resulting in a considerable number of enquiries being directed to the department of trade and industry (DTI). The DTI have only given their responses on August 4.

Once the responses are debated in the Gauteng legislature, their final views will be made known. Gauteng’s enquiries have followed the pattern expressed in many quarters regarding the number of inspectors to be appointed by the new consumer council, matters surrounding GMO labeling and franchise agreements.

D U Moiloa, chairperson of the economic affairs portfolio committee, Gauteng Legislature, has told the NCOP committee chairman that “whilst supporting the principle and much of the detail of the Consumer Protection Bill”, their queries raised with the DTI have yet to be debated at provincial level.

Any mandate could not yet be supplied, he said.