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The New Consumer Protection Act

Written by  Thys Swanepoel
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The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies, has deferred the general implementation date to 1 April 2011.

The postponement will give business and the public sufficient time to prepare them for compliance with the new law.

However, the regulations are still outstanding and it is difficult to get a full picture of the impact.

The public and stakeholders can approach the National Consumer Commission for assistance and guidance as soon as their establishment is announced, which is expected in the third quarter of this financial year.

The act focuses on the protection of the consumer to “promote a fair accessible and sustainable marketplace for consumer products and services and, for that purpose, to establish national norms and standards relating to consumer protection.”

The act is the result of the intention of the Department of Trade and Industry to “create and promote an economic environment that supports and strengthens a culture of consumer rights and responsibilities.”

It seems at this stage that the act only applies to transactions that are concluded in the ordinary course of the supplier’s business. Therefore it would for instance apply to property sold by a developer and to the services provided by estate agents to sellers, but not to once-off transactions between buyers and sellers of property.

Therefore, developers, speculators and institutional investors with large property portfolios who sell property in their ordinary course of business, cannot exclude their liability for defects by way of a voetstoots clause.

Thys Swanepoel

Thys Swanepoel

Matthys Swanepoel was born on 25th July 1954 in Boksburg. He matriculated in Virginia in 1972, and accepted a position at the deeds office in Bloemfontein. In 1974 he enrolled as a part-time student for B. Proc and decided to study full-time from 1976 with savings from the previous two years. In 1977 he acquired a bursary from the Mine Workers Union and obtained his B. Proc Degree the same year.

He started his career with A V Theron & Co during January 1978 and became a partner of the 14th of May 1981. During 1995 he also enrolled at the Technikon SA for the National Estate Diploma, which he obtained in 1997 in order to qualify as Associated Valuer.

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