Municipalities to be challenged

2013-02-05 20:18

Johannesburg - Lobby group AfriForum is to seek a reversal of a decision to exempt certain categories of municipalities from sections of the Consumer Protection Act.

An application to this effect will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

"The act, which gives several rights to consumers who do not receive goods or services for which they have paid, would have been a powerful weapon in the hands of taxpayers against non-performing municipalities," said AfriForum lawyer Willie Spies.

Currently, the act is applicable only to private businesses and high capacity municipalities.

AfriForum said it first made the application in September 2011, but it would be heard only now as it had had to force Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, by means of a court order, to respond to its application.

AfriForum said the validity of two notices published by Davies would be tested in Wednesday's proceedings, which have been set down for 10:00.

When AfriForum began its challenge to the exemption in 2011, it said it was a discriminatory and arbitrary application of the law.

It said Section Nine of the Constitution guarantees all South Africans equal protection by the law.

It believed Davies was making the applicable only to the private sector, while municipalities - which it claimed were often the greatest violators of consumer rights - were getting off.

  • hein.huyser - 2013-02-05 21:48

    No services, no payment. This is the only way to get the municipalities to up their game.

      makhosonke.mqikela - 2013-02-05 22:08

      It can be true if a 'pay as you go' principle can also be applicable to municipalities

  • makhosonke.mqikela - 2013-02-05 21:52

    Bravo AfriForum! That'll be the best applicable policy to strengthen accountablity from down to top and vice-versa...

  • tlotlo.phele - 2013-02-05 22:08

    Can I join Afrifrorum?

      bobby.rosewood.1 - 2013-02-06 00:21

      If Derek Hanekom can be part of ANC; I'd say why not? Off course Afriforum focuses on minorities in SA but if you feel that can identify with that, go ahead. Derek, coming from a minority , feels comfortable within the majority grouping called the ANC and it's affiliates. I am not a member of anything- I don't even have a smart shopper card- I just think your question is fair. The answer is: Yes, you Can!

      Seanred - 2013-02-06 16:43

      @bobby, a smart shopper card, get one, you DO get something back :).

  • michael.tetley.35 - 2013-02-05 22:57

    Municipalities charge for services where the customer/ratepayer actually has no choice as to the provider, therefore they are legally obliged to provide what has been charged for. With the private sector one can go to an alternative provider while seeking restitution from a former service provider. No reason government should receive special treatment, especially if money has changed hands!

  • ben.lantz1 - 2013-02-06 05:26

    That's what you get with a pass rate of 30%,and a salary bill of 90% of rates collection. Accountability,responsibility,integrity,ability,discipline,respect and will to serve community,should be the main criteria and enforced

  • ben.lantz1 - 2013-02-06 05:30

    That's what you get with a pass rate of 30%,and a salary bill of 90% of ratws collection. Accountability,responsibility,integrity,ability,discipline,respect and will to serve community,should be the main criteria and enforced

  • fairness.iseverything - 2013-02-06 06:15

    When its voting time you can't find a politician without a microphone, they have a crowd of dancing supporters behind them, going wild! However once elections are done, you can't find a politician without a shovel scooping wealth out of the mouths of Africa's own children into their own pockets. Only this time the crowd is going wild on their own, no politician...? Yet voting time comes again and the same thing will happen again. Cry the beloved country, its people are its own worst enemy

  • theo.joubert.37 - 2013-02-06 06:20

    It would be a good thing if consumers are able to call on the consumer protection act to resolve their problems with municipalities. The problem however is to get the consumer protection council to investigate complaints. I submitted a complaint about a year and a half ago. This complaint is still not even close to being investigated. I have tried to get a hold of the office of the consumer protector so many times I lost count. I even went to their offices to try and find out what the situation with my case is, only to find that they have send an e-mail to the company against which my complaint is to the wrong e-mail address. tis was in October last year. I have not heard anything from them since. any law is only as efficient as the people enforcing it. This law is of no value to consumers at all since the investigators appointed are incompetent or does not do their job.

      koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2013-02-06 07:48

      That may be so but this country or rather the majority of the people understand group action. If 50 people from one street pitch at the investigators door they will take notice.

  • KCorsar - 2013-02-06 07:25

    Good move, rate payers need to have more power over the performance of their local council and its employees. Too many act as if they are untouchable.

  • terrylee.heuer - 2013-02-06 09:49

    Govt departments still owe billions to municipalities!!! and their reasoning behind non payment is also their question of service delivery!!! My question is what is being done about their debt??!! are they just exempt??!! Are the municipalities cutting their electricity off??? Holding thumbs Afriforum!!

  • criticallyhonest - 2013-02-06 10:42

    Within the ambit of consumer protection..... Under what circumstances, if any, can a consumer stop paying for services that are not being provided?

  • HJS - 2013-02-06 13:30

    Let us hope sanity will prevail and the ruling will go the way of real justice. Hold them accountable for their failure to deliver what they are paid to do.

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