Department of Trade and Industry
The trade and industry department has published a notice in the Government Gazette deferring the application of the Consumer Protection Act to municipalities.
The Act is to come into effect on 1 April 2011.
The deferment is instituted in terms of item 2(3) (b) (i) of the Act.
The legislation allows for a deferment to be imposed following a request from the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs.
The Act stipulates that the deferment may only be applied to those municipalities that are not characterised as a “high capacity municipality”.
The distinction between the various local government structures is set out in the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act of 2003.
The notice confirmed that the cooperative governance minister had requested the trade and industry minister to defer all municipalities from the Act.
The deferment will not apply to high capacity municipalities. These are municipalities with adequate resources. The metros fall into this category. This arrangement will remain until further notice.
Earlier, the trade and industry minister, Rob Davies, indicated that “the Act makes provision for a comprehensive and overarching consumer law of general application that will regulate the interaction between businesses and consumers in the market place and provides more protection to consumers that was provided for in previous legislation”.
The empowerment of consumers is seen as a catalyst to businesses to improve their product and service choice.