South Africa: NCC Blows Lid On Bribery Attempts in Textile Industry

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has expressed concern about attempts of bribery by certain suppliers in the textile industry, who do not want to comply with the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).

The NCC's acting commissioner, Thezi Mabuza, said the commission's investigators are empowered by the CPA to investigate consignments that they get and in particular, every consignment that is detained by customs officials to verify whether they meet the requirements.

"While government encourages people to start their own businesses, the NCC will never tolerate acts of bribery by unscrupulous suppliers. Our investigators will continue to conduct these inspections to ensure that suppliers do comply with the CPA.

"Where we find reasonable suspicion of suppliers flouting the CPA, we will decisively take appropriate action against those suppliers," Mabuza said in a statement on Wednesday.

The NCC is mandated by law to investigate any suspicious contravention of the CPA. The NCC is the primary regulator of consumer-business interaction in South Africa. It was created by government under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) to ensure the economic welfare of consumers.

According to the NCC, the textile industry in the country is vulnerable to imports from other countries.

"This has resulted in local manufacturers suffering enormously as South African businesses began importing cheaper textiles and clothing from foreign countries. As such, most retail outlets operating in South Africa are selling imported merchandise with misleading labels, which state that goods or finished products are made in South Africa when in fact they are not," the NCC said.

Section 24(5) of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) requires that every merchandise imported into the Republic has a label permanently affixed, clearly indicating the country of origin of the goods and any other prescribed information (including country of origin of the fabric used, whether printed or finished in the Republic).

"The NCC wants to reiterate its commitment to implementing the CPA with the purpose of promoting and advancing the social and economic welfare of consumers in the country," Mabuza said.

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