n SA Mercantile Law Journal = SA Tydskrif vir Handelsreg - The NCC and the NCT walk the long road to consumer protection

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1015-0099
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2185



In September 2011, there was an air of great anticipation as the National Consumer Commission (NCC) reported to the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry. This was only a few months after the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) had come into force. The presence of the media intensified the sense of expectation, as Deputy Director-General of the parliamentary committee praised the NCC for having achieved much in a very short period of time. It appeared that within its few months in existence, the NCC had lived up to its mandate to investigate and to enforce the provisions of the CPA in a manner that is cost-effective and efficient. The question however is whether this body has maintained its momentum in ensuring a market place that effectively protects consumers in South Africa.

The purpose of the CPA is to promote and advance the social and economic welfare of consumers. The majority of consumers in South Africa are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse in the marketplace because of illiteracy or lack of access to information. The preamble of the CPA recognises South Africa's historical background which gave rise to the country's social and economic inequality. The CPA came into effect on 31 March 2011 with the aim to protect consumers from exploitation in the market place. For this reason, the CPA provides consumers with a 'Bill of Rights' to ensure the protection of economic, educational, health and the social interests of consumers. This Bill of Rights is found in Chapter 2.

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