AfriForum represents the public, court hears

2013-02-06 15:54

Pretoria - AfriForum represents the public in seeking a reversal of a decision to exempt certain municipalities from the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Wednesday.

Pelser Quintus, SC, for the civil rights body, argued the organisation had locus standi, which meant it had demonstrated its right to bring the application to court.

Lawyers representing Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, who had previously published two notices exempting the municipalities, were arguing that AfriForum was not representing the South African public as a whole.

AfriForum argued it was acting in the public's interest.

‘Interested in this matter’

"Out of a possible 280 municipalities in South Africa, only people in 47 of them will have the protection of an Act that was intended to be on a national basis," Quintus argued.

"Everybody else except those who live in high capacity municipalities are affected by the two notices [by the minister]. We submit that they are the people who are interested in this matter."

Quintus said Davies wanted to ensure the private sector "could not have free hand" under the Act and wanted the Act to create a premium on standards throughout the country.

"[With municipalities] government was doing the opposite that it was preaching."

Bedhesi Roshan, for the minister, said AfriForum could not bring its application because the organisation "did not exist" and was not a "juristic person".

"There is no legal entity called AfriForum and they are not a non-profit organisation. There is no basis for this application," he said.

The CPA gives rights to consumers who do not receive goods or services for which they have paid. Currently, it is applicable only to private businesses and high capacity municipalities.

Transitional provisions of the CPA allow the minister to delay the application of the Act to any municipality, except a high capacity one, for six months.

Govt Gazette notice

On 14 March 2011 the minister delayed the application of the CPA to all municipalities, except the high capacity ones, through a notice in the Government Gazette.

AfriForum launched its application to reverse the exemption of certain municipalities in September 2011.

The minister published an updated notice in the Government Gazette in October that year.

The provision had two sub-sections, allowing the minister to delay the implementation of the Act for administrative reasons, or after receiving a request by the local government minister to define the municipalities.

Quintus argued the updated notice, which extended the exemption, went against the provisions of the Act, since the minister used both provisions.

"This is not a situation when 'or' should be read as 'and'," he said.

He said Davies had also "failed to apply his mind" to the state of municipalities.

The minister had withheld protection from people in municipalities, in which the Act could be implemented, through his broad decision, Quintus argued.

  • allan.keyzer - 2013-02-06 16:08

    Since when is only a juristic person or non profit organisation allowed to petition the court? We should be looking at the merits of the legislation and not looking for a possible way out!

      heathway.master - 2013-02-06 17:08

      The Government is really getting worried on this one, as most of the Municipalities in the country do not deliver any services at all. All they are is parasites and "bumbs on seats" . i.e. they come into work, hang their jackets behind their doors, and chat socially all day until home time. The Municipality has no money for maintenance and service delivery, as the entire annual budget is taken up on fat salaries, top of the range Mercedes Benzes for the Mayor and municipal managers, 4 bodyguards for the mayor in some municipalities, overseas business trips for heaven knows what reason, as they come back no wiser than they left, and have nothing to show for the expensive trips. With the consumer Protection Act, the door is open for the ratepayers to withhold payments. No wonder Municipal employees are going white in the face, as the Golden Goose starts flapping its wings in anger.

      angela.fields.3910 - 2013-02-06 17:10

      Hi all, Please help by signing this petition. Thank you!

  • Wonderkind - 2013-02-06 16:37

      guru100 - 2013-02-06 17:06

      people like zama khumalo shouldn't be taken seriously

      dunkie56 - 2013-02-06 21:56

      What will it take to stop all this racist hatred in this country it only get's worse by the day and no end in sight to what was promised so long ago!What will it take I ask???

  • zapadela.tistarocha - 2013-02-06 16:39

    AfriForum will never ever represent me........

      zapadela.tistarocha - 2013-02-06 18:54

      I'm too are right/correct.

      hein.huyser - 2013-02-06 22:33

      If justice is served by Afriforum winning its case, the public at large will benefit. Which is the case in this instance. The rights of every citizen, if they live in towns, cities or shacktowns will be positively impacted if we can get the municipalities to provide the services that we pay them to do. What is a pity though, is that you will benefit as well. You deserve your non services

      zapadela.tistarocha - 2013-02-07 21:56

      Fruit from a Poisonous tree...........NO THANK YOU.

  • nettie.potgieter.5 - 2013-02-06 17:39

    All the black racist they are taking this court case up for you to. They don't ask any thing from you. If they succeed you don't need to strik and burn municipal property any more but you can take your grievances to the Ombudsman for free and your problems wil be solved. For once stop being racist and hope they succeed.

      nettie.potgieter.5 - 2013-02-06 20:35

      Yes Zapadela, that is why you are going to drop dead from the poisonous fruits from the racism tree you are feeding of.

  • LesleyDGreyling - 2013-02-06 17:42

    you GO AfriForum~! NO MUNICIPALITY should be covered by the Government's secrecy act~! SO far very few Municipalities in SA are running smoothly, hardly ANY have had unqualified audits, most have been tainted with corrupt managers and allegations of corruption, and those that might not be corrupt appear to inept and unable to do their jobs. The Govt itself has suggested a special school for municipal managers, and has taken over running several municipalities that were mismanaged to the extent of bankruptcy~! 20 years ago all municipalities were running well, non were in the red. NOW?????~! of course they want some municipalities protected by this new act because once they are nobody will be able to report on their corrupt acts without being charged with contravening national security~! there is NO NATIONAL SECURITY in the affairs of municipalities, as we tax and rate payers contribute to them, they are there to provide services to US, the people, and therefore report to us, and their business must be transparent and open!~!

  • LesleyDGreyling - 2013-02-06 17:43

    This news article tells you why we cannot allow our Govt to HIDE things from us:

  • theboet - 2013-02-06 18:16

    Of course they do represent the public, the white portion of the public. They just can't be bothered to stand in cases where black people are involved.

      nettie.potgieter.5 - 2013-02-06 20:40

      Sorry theboet racist like you don't fit into the plans of AfriForum. What they do is for al people of South Africa.

      hein.huyser - 2013-02-06 22:43

      Why should they? This particular case, and others like it is to force accountability from those in poditions of power to align themselves with the Constitution of SA to YOUR BENEFIT! and not only to the benefit of whites. Eish, you guys battle to distinguish between political parties and civil organizations. But that is what racism do, it blinds you to obvious truths

  • hein.huyser - 2013-02-06 22:29

    If justice is served by Afriforum winning its case, the public at large will benefit. Which is the case in this instance. The rights of every citizen, if they live in towns, cities or shacktowns will be positively impacted if we can get the municipalities to provide the services that we pay them to do.

  • pages:
  • 1