Consumers’ new friend


Mamodupi Mohlala fights for for the underdog and she hopes SA consumers will accept that she’s on their side.

She heads up the National Consumer Commission, created in 2010 under the Consumer Protection Act. With a budget of R32 million it provides a platform for disgruntled consumers to complain about the service they get from business, big or small.

‘‘We’ll soon have offices in every one of the nine provinces,’’ Mohlala (36) tells us at her double-storey home in Saxonwold in Johannesburg.

‘‘There are currently 26 employees and 18 are investigators who need South Africans to complain about bad service so they can do their job. We must learn not to take or pay for substandard service.’’

Her investigators won’t be able to satisfy all complaints but ‘‘I give my assurance they will not walk out of my office without being helped’’.

‘‘People shouldn’t feel they can’t complain against government simply because we’re a department within the state – we will investigate every case.’’

Before joining the communications department under Siphiwe Nyanda in 2009 she was the pension funds adjudicator. At 35 she was the youngest ombud in SA and the first woman in the position.

‘‘I was brought up by politically conscious parents and have always viewed life from a wrong-and-right perspective,’’ she says. ‘‘I’ve always felt it’s wrong to discriminate against people and have always wanted to fight for the underdog.’’

Unmarried Mohlala adds, ‘‘I believe in the institution of marriage and when the right man comes along I will get married but single motherhood is not for me. I have friends who are single mothers and I’ve seen how tough it is. They love it but I know from looking at them that it is not for me.’’

* The Consumer Commission, which will be open to the public in April, can be contacted on 012-394-1436/1558/1076. Read the full article in YOU, 10 March 2011.

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