NEWS & ANALYSIS

Davies obligated to pursue action on labelling issue - Fubbs

Trade and Industry committee chairperson calls for dept to pursue complaints of non-compliance

"Wrongful Labelling of Products Undermines the Laws That Seek to Protect Our People and Our Trading Policy"

Trade and Industry Minister, Dr Rob Davies has not simply got a right, but is obligated to ensure that all products and those who trade in them in South Africa comply with The Consumer Protection Act. Certainly, as a people's participatory democracy and a sovereign state South Africa will fight not only to protect its consumers but also to support our strategic trade policy as a responsible member of the international community of nations.

This principle ensures that our policies are aligned and laws complement each other. In this way the intentions of the legislators are strengthened and legislation is more robust. This applies to the specifically to clause:

Section 24(5) of the Consumer Protection Act, becomes more resilient. This section focuses on product labelling and trade descriptions. The specific sub-section states that:

(5) The producer or importer of any goods that have been prescribed in terms of subsection (4) must apply a trade description to those goods, disclosing-
(a) the country of origin of the goods; and
(b) any other prescribed information.

It should be noted that the only goods currently prescribed are textiles, clothing, shoes and leather goods plus GMO foods. 

It is important that consumers are not misled into thinking that products originating in illegally Occupied Palestinian territories originate from Israel. The UN does not recognise these territories which were demarcated by Israel as part of Israel. South Africa as a member of the UN is simply acknowledging this reality that recognises the borders demarcated by the UN in 1948. South Africa does not act unilaterally but works with the UN and the AU among other multi-lateral institutions.

The Portfolio Committee of Trade and Industry expects the Minister and the Department of Trade and Industry to pursue proven complaints of non-compliance with legislation falling under its mandate.

Therefore, the current action of the Minister falls within the chain of accountability and is recognised as simply part of his and his Department's duties and as such should be commended and not criticized. In the interests of transparency, the Minister has called for public comments, which he will consider before issuing a final notice.

South Africa pursues a principled international relations policy which is complemented by its strategic trading policy that does not depend on the winds of fortune that blow hot and cold.

Statement issued by the Parliamentary Communication Services on behalf of Ms Joanmariae Fubbs, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, May 25 2012

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