Elizabeth de Stadler's blog

Ebrahim Mohamed is the new 'acting' consumer commissioner

The Department of Trade and Industry has announced this morning that Ebrahim Mohamed will have the task of righting the ship at the National Consumer Commission. Mr Mohamed has been appointed as the acting national consumer commissioner. Whether he will be able to turn things around remains to be seen, but it seems that we have seen the back of Mohlala-Mulaudzi and the personality clashes which seemed to dominate her stint has commissioner.

Mr Mohamed was the deputy national commissioner. I assume that this appointment is temporary.

Protection of Personal Information Bill: Portfolio Committee met yesterday

The Committee met on the 28th, but word is that they did not finish their deliberations. It is expected that they will vote on the Bill next week (the week of the 3rd of September) once a new draft has been prepared. The Bill will then be sent to the National Assembly for a final vote after which it will make its way to the National Council of Provinces for approval.

Once enacted, the Bill gives companies a year to comply with its provisions.

Constitutional Court considers whether unregistered credit providers can reclaim loans

The Constitutional Court has been asked to consider the constitutionality of s 89(5)(c)(i) and s 89(5)(c)(ii) which provides that an unregistered credit provider looses the right to collect on loans. This right either gets 'cancelled' or is forfeited to the state.

It appears likely that if the court finds that the section is unconstitutional, the order will be suspended to allow parliament time to revisit the section.

Consumer Commissioner Mohlala-Mulaudzi's reign comes to an end

The Department of Trade and Industry has announced that Chief Commissioner Mohlala-Mulaudzi's employment contract will not be automatically renewed when it comes to an end on 3 September 2012. She would of course be free to submit an application for the job. At least, that is the implication of the DTI's statement. I would however hope that those applications have closed given that 3 September is barely 14 days away. However, it is probable that the protracted legal battle between the Commissioner and the DTI has delayed the search for her replacement.

Protection of Personal Information Bill one step closer to being enacted?

According to this Business Day report the Justice Committee may vote on the Bill as early as next week after much deliberation by the Portfolio Committee over the past weeks. This means that the Bill will be one step closer to being tabled in parliament and becoming an Act.

Watch the August edition of the Consumer Law Review for an article on whether the Bill proposes an opt in or opt out approach to direct marketing.

Another one bites the dust: Cell C compliance notice set aside

The NCC has lost another battle before the NCT. The compliance notice which was issued against Cell C for the alleged contraventions of (amongst others) s 14 and s 63 of the CPA has been set aside. These sections deal with cancellation penalties for the early cancellation of subscriber contracts and the validity period of prepaid vouchers for services such as airtime or data bundles, both incredibly important issues for consumers.

Minister of the DTI to decide Commissioner Mohlala-Mulaudzi's fate

Business Day reports that the Chief Commissioner of the NCC has lost her third urgent application in the protracted dispute regarding the renewal of her employment contract when it comes to an end at the end of August. In the latest application Mohlala-Mulaudzi contended that the decision regarding the renewal of her contract should not lie with the Minister of the DTI, but with a parliamentary commission.

'Consumer watchdog gets savage mauling' (Times)

The National Consumer Tribunal was asked to compile a 'confidential report' on the National Consumer Commission. Given the increasingly aggressive tone of the decisions by the NCT and the NCC's papers in the Gauting North High Court it comes as no surprise that it was not favourable. See this article published in the Times.

Protection of Personal Information Bill is before the Justice Committee

The Protection of Personal Information Bill (POPI) is finally gaining momentum. Yesterday the discussion centred around whether the processing of information relating to criminal behavior (or conviction?) should be restricted. See the article in the Business Day for more information.

NCC loses urgent application to review Auction Alliance descision

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has lost its urgent application to review the National Consumer Tribunal's (NCT) descision to set the compliance notice against Auction Alliance aside (for a full discussion of the battle between the NCC and Auction Alliance see the July edition of Consumer Law Review at www.jutalaw.co.za).

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