CCZ calls for consumer law enactment

HARARE - The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has called for speedy promulgation of a consumer protection law to ensure a fair deal for customers in the market place.

“It has been a slow process, quite cumbersome and very frustrating considering that it’s been over a year now since we submitted guidelines together with the ministry of Industry to the Attorney General were we have not been getting any positive response,” said CCZ executive Rosemary Siyachitema.

“The process is not moving fast enough and this is taking a long time.

Our understanding is that there is so much going on at the moment yet little is being done towards promulgating the Consumer Protection Act,” said Siyachitema.

She said there was need for resource mobilisation in order to ensure a quicker process in coming up with the consumer protection law.

“CCZ is funded by government through the ministry of Industry and Commerce, unfortunately the resources are very minimal and the  organisation has to constantly look for funds from well-wishers,” said Siyachitema.

She said the consumer watchdog requires at least $400 000 to capacitate its operations.

“We have lagged behind so much because of lack of funds considering that we have to reach out to everyone especially in the rural areas,” said Siyachitema.

“Even in the forthcoming 2013 national budget CCZ has had been allocated less than a quarter of its requirements,” she said.

“We have not received any capital expenditure since 2004, we have an aging vehicle fleet that does not take us very far. Consumers across the board would like to be well informed on our goals yet this hinges on funding.”

The CCZ boss said it was vital for  Sadc members to come up with consumer protection laws which will help prohibit certain unfair marketing and business practices.

This follows calls by the CCZ and South African National Consumer Council to create networking platforms for Sadc members to share experience on how to elevate the status of consumer protection.

Last year SANCC commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala said Sadc members should share common principles for consumer protection and must have a homogeneous voice.

“There should be a legislative alignment for the region whereby consumers across the region should be protected with a uniform law.

“Under the Sadc auspices there should be a direct encouragement where those countries without the legislation will be able to come up with that,” Mohlala said.

Plans are currently underway to form a consumer Sadc  committee that will push for protection of consumers within the region. The South African Consumer Protection Act No. 68 of 2008 came into effect on April 1, 2011. - Kudzai Chawafambira

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