The Western Cape Office of the Consumer Protector is mandated to act as a consumer protection agency within the province by virtue of the provisions of national and provincial legislation.
The mandate to perform consumer protection functions is derived from the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Schedule 4, Part A of the Constitution prescribes that the area of consumer protection is a functional area of concurrent national and provincial legislative competence. This entails that at provincial level, provincial governments have the authority to legislate on the arena of consumer protection and also provide associated services within this arena.
The vision of the OCP is the provision of a consumer protection service that is acknowledged and regarded as a leader within the provincial and national government structure.
The OCP's essential strategy will be one of innovation and impact, and will include implementing national policy where relevant, and devising provincial policy that considers the needs of consumers and business equally.
The unit's strategic objectives are:
- Promotion of a fair, efficient and transparent market place for consumers and business (providing protection to all economic citizens, including small businesses).
- Provision of a consistent, predictable and efficient regulatory framework, which fosters consumer confidence and at the same time recognises the development imperatives of the South African economy.
- Provision of access to effective redress for consumers as economic citizens (including enforcement of legislation and application of sanctions).
- Promotion of consumer rights awareness, by disclosure and access to information by consumers and recognition and support of the role of activist and confident consumers in promoting a competitive economy.
Steps to take before lodging your complaint with the OCP
The Office of the Consumer Protector acts as a "prosecutor" on behalf of consumers in order to bring their complaints/cases before the Consumer Tribunal, which is a special court that hears consumer complaints.