Minister: We must protect consumers
Cape Town - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies wants consumer agencies to join forces in protecting the public from dangerous items such as paraffin stoves.
Davies told Parliament's portfolio committee on trade and industry that "every now and again" the National Regulator of Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) held a destruction event where paraffin stoves were always featured.
"They run a bulldozer over all kinds of non-compliant goods and always among those are these paraffin stoves," he said.
The stoves, he said, were the kind of items that fell over and caused a fire in a squatter camp.
"The Consumer Act says anyone who supplies those is also culpable and it goes right up the supply chain," the minister said.
"So if we go to a squatter camp and we say 'don't buy the sub-standard stove' but the sub-standard stove is sold at a lower price, we are not going to achieve anything, because people make a price decision.
"But if it falls over and causes a fire the supplier is culpable under Consumer Act. As is everyone else down the line."
The department of trade and industry is in support of a commission that followed the precepts of the National Consumer Act and "robustly" protects consumers.
Davies said if agencies such as the National Consumer Commission and the NRCS worked closer together, his department could engage more on the issue of paraffin stoves.
"If some of our different agencies worked closer together we could achieve some important results," he said.
"The commission is required to act independently. But if we got the two agencies working closer together we could enter into an issue like that."