Minister must make a decision on the Consumer Commissionís top job
Wilmot James, Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry
16 August 2012
Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, must make a decision on the future of National Consumer Commissioner, Ms Mamodupi Mohlala-Malaudzi to ensure that the National Consumer Commission (NCC) is able to carry out its mandate of protecting consumers.
The DA will be writing a letter to Minister Davies calling for decisive action in this regard.
In 2010 we welcomed the establishment of the NCC and identified it as having a crucial role to play in the protection of the rights of South African consumers.
The on-going disputes between the commissioner and the Department of Trade and Industry are undermining the effectiveness of the NCC which is already struggling under the weight of a drastically inadequate budget allocation of R50 million.
Ms Mohlala-Malaudzi has been in and out of the Labour Courts three times already, challenging the interpretation of her contract. Ultimately, the court determined that her fixed-term contract expires on September 3 2012 and that it is up to the minister to decide whether or not to renew it. Unfortunately, the Minister has failed to step up to the plate.
The department’s spokesman Sidwell Medupe has reportedly refused to divulge the details of a letter from the Minister to the Commissioner – only saying that they are awaiting the Commissioner’s response. This has only served to further muddy the waters.
The optimism felt in 2010 after the establishment of the NCC has gradually been replaced by frustration and despair. Since the NCC’s inception, the DTI has severely limited its effectiveness by both failing to effectively manage contractual matters with the NCC executive and by refusing to give the commission the necessary resources to do the job it was created to do.
A dysfunctional NCC leaves consumers open to a range of abuses with the poorest of the poor being the most vulnerable.
It is time for the minister to show decisive leadership to get the commission back on track by resolving the disputes around its top job.