CHAIRPERSON’S REPORT

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT 01 SEPTEMBER 2018 TO 31 AUGUST 2019

 PRESENTED BY MRS TUTTI RUDMAN AT THE 58th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL CONSUMER UNION

28 SEPTEMBER 2019

I am pleased to submit the Chairman’s Report of the South African National Consumer Union for the period 1 September 2018 to 31 August 2019 to our members.

Background

SANCU is a voluntary Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Organisation.  SANCU aims to educate consumers on their rights, promote consumer awareness and most of all let the consumers’ voice be heard on the many Boards and Committees we serve on.

BACKGROUND ON SANCU.

SANCU is a voluntary Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) and functions as an umbrella organisation aiming to promote consumers awareness of their rights, responsibilities and bargaining powers as well as lobbying for consumers.

SANCU strives be known and recognised as a credible and effective national consumer union that advises, informs and educates consumers, promotes consumer rights, and represents consumers on relevant decision-making bodies.

SANCU’s vision is to be the most respected and trusted NGO in South Africa representing the interests of consumers in all spheres of economic activity.

Our Motto   :  “ Advocating Consumer Interests”  says it all.

I would like to take this opportunity of highlighting the outcome of some of our meetings that our Exco has attended this year.  :

Tutti Rudman

At a National Credit Regulator, Credit Industry Forum Meeting it was discussed that a consumer that goes under debt review must pay R7500-00 up front before Debt counselling can commence.  I posed the question of how on earth can a consumer pay that money upfront when he has no money to cover the debts he has. R7 500.00 is a lot of money to a consumer that has no income or money.  This is still under discussion.

At a RMIF and DAFF meeting one of the producers of prepacked fresh meat wanted to pack 3kg of different grades of meat.  I objected to it.  Most consumers buy with their eyes.  How do we know what is packed under the nice meat on top as a result of my objection the request was rejected.

 Clif Johnston

SANCU incurred the wrath of local chicken producers when it pointed out that a requested increase in import tariffs for chicken to 82% would result in local price increases to the detriment of consumers in general, and the millions of indigent consumers in particular who rely on chicken as their main source of protein.  SANCU also rubbished claims that imported chicken was unsafe.  The government’s response to the tariff request is still awaited.

Unfortunately the SABS once again did not see its way clear to supporting a SANCU delegate to attend ISO’s annual Consumer Policy Committee meeting (ISO/COPOLCO) even though it was held this time in neighbouring Zimbabwe.  SANCU, however, continues to participate in COPOLCO’s local mirror committee, SABS TC007 and is pushing for the local adoption of an International Standard on unit pricing (ISO 21041:2018).

Among its other work in SABS technical committees, SANCU supported an update to the national standard on electric geysers, which will help improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption.  SANCU also supported a proposal for the standard to be expanded to accommodate a new type of plastic geyser aimed at the low-end of the market.  This past year also saw the adoption locally of the international standard ISO 18295 in two parts dealing with customer contact centres.  SANCU was heavily involved in the development of the international standard itself.  SANCU was invited to join a new SABS technical committee on non-sewered sanitation systems and voted in favour of the local adoption of the international standard, ISO 30500, on such systems which are of increasing importance to local consumers in view of the ongoing drought conditions in parts of the country.  SANCU supported the reaffirmation of the standard SANS 10008 Quality Management – Consumer Satisfaction – Guidelines for business-to-consumer electronic commerce transactions, in view of the increasing trend towards online purchases.

In the aftermath of the Listeriosis epidemic, SANCU actively supported the finalisation by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) of a compulsory specification on processed meats.  Once implemented this specification should help prevent a recurrence of such events.  SANCU also participated in NRCS work related to the safety of LED lamps and luminaires, though with less satisfactory outcomes.

Marie van der Merwe

At the beginning of 2019 it was reported that there was an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the North Eastern parts of South Africa.  At an Agricultural Trade Forum (ATF) meeting of the then Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries feedback was provided on the measures implemented to contain the disease.  The disease was detected on 2 January, confirmed on 7 January and roadblocks established on 15 January.  Culling of the animals was not envisaged at that stage but the vaccination process was implemented.  It was confirmed that the outbreak did not pose any risk to consumers.  The meat as well as the milk from infected animals were safe to consume.  Inspection teams were patrolling the area 24/7 to ensure that no infected animals enter the FMD free zone.

A Panel Discussion on dispute resolution issues with the Office of the Tax Ombud and Webber Wentzel Attorneys took place.  The issues that were dealt with include submissions of returns, requests for relevant material (requests for supporting documentation – verification, completion of IT4SD, commencement of audit, broad requests for relevant material from specific taxpayers relating to historic years), notification of commencement of audit (engagement letters), additional assessments, requests for reasons, request for remission of penalties, lodging appeals, alternative dispute resolution, revision of additional assessments and payments of refunds.  A Complaints Form of the Office of the Tax Ombud is available for taxpayers experiencing any of the above issues when dealing with the Office of SARS.

At the latest Annual General Meeting of the Southern African Grain Laboratory (SAGL) it was confirmed that fit-for-purpose analyses services to all sectors of the SA Grain and Oilseeds Industry remains the core function of SAGL.  In a reference laboratory role SAGL maintains measurement standards at an acceptable international level and disseminates traceability to the industry.  The two main focus areas are Crop Quality and Crop Protection.  Crop quality analyses are performed on different grain and oilseed commodities as well as associated food and feed products.  The crop protection division is able to perform analysis according to global requirements in the Agro-chemical industry for the registration of crop protection products.  Through continuous engagement with stakeholders SAGL ensures a good understanding of market requirements relating to quality and safety of food and feed to increase access to high-value markets.  To fulfil their mandate SAGL collaborate with academic institutions and commercial processing companies in applied research studies.

The Dairy Standard Agency (DSA) is a registered non-profit company.  The primary objective of the DSA is the promotion of the compliance of milk and other dairy products with product composition, food safety and metrology standards.  The existence of the DSA is the direct result of the acceptance of a strategic approach by the organised dairy industry (Milk SA, SAMPRO and the MPO).  This approach is aimed at increasing the market for milk and other dairy products, the improvement of international competitiveness of the SA dairy industry and the empowerment of previously disadvantaged people.

The DSA serves as an objective organisation which acts according to scientific information and functions independent of commercial interests that may affect its actions.  The latest project DSA has embarked on is the establishment of an independent laboratory service for the supply of imported and national reference standards for the calibration of laboratory equipment used in the dairy industry.  The establishment of the laboratory is in progress and some of the equipment has already been installed.  One project of importance for consumers is the establishment of validated analytical methods for the detection of adulterated local and imported UHT milk by means of milk powder and other dairy derivatives.  The outcome of the project is to identify non-conformances with legal standards within the organised dairy industry and retail, to report on the status of adulteration of locally processed as well as imported UHT milk and facilitate remedial action with the authorities where applicable.

These are only a small part of the reports presented at our Exco Meetings.

Affiliate Members

 These members are the backbone of our organisation and are all non-profit organisations.  They play an important role in SANCU with some of their members represented on our Exco.   Most of the Affiliates travel from far outside Gauteng to attend our meetings.  A hearty thank you for attending our meetings.

Associate Members

Our Associate members are what makes SANCU so successful, your loyal support is immeasurable. SANCU is extremely grateful to our Associate Members as it is you that keeps SANCU’s office functioning and viable.  We realise it is difficult to attend our meetings whilst you all have your own day to day commitments to your office but we are aware that you take note of all our emails that we send out.  Good news is that we will only be hosting 2 General Meetings and AGM (total of 3) from next year to make it easier for Associates to attend. To those associates that manage to attend our meetings, we really appreciate it. Thank you

The sponsoring of our projects is a very important aspect of SANCU’s reaching consumers with important information.  The Associate Members that have sponsored our projects – I say a very grateful thanks and hope you will consider sponsoring again in the coming year. As you are aware the stocks of our Flagship book “Self Help Approach to Consumer Problems” is totally depleted.  We have some faithful Associates that sponsored towards this reprinting but are considerably short of our goal figure.  We have undertaken to source sponsors in the coming year.

HONORARY MEMBERSHIP

Honorary membership of SANCU was bestowed on Mrs Jennifer Tselentis.  Jennifer is the past Chairman of the Household Consumers League.  Jennifer’s vast knowledge of consumerism is an asset to SANCU.  Jennifer is constantly price checking and is quick to notice when stores are not complying with the Consumer Protection Act.

CONSUMER CUP

For many years SANCU has awarded an individual or organisation with a Cup in recognition of their campaigning on behalf of consumers and the work they do with consumers.  Last year we awarded the cup to Ian Smith of Absa Bank.  Unfortunately the cup was not available to present to Ian, so we decided to hand over the cup this year to Ian.  Over the years Ian has attended all SANCU meetings and his dedication to his Bank is exemplary.  On the odd occasion SANCU has a complaint and it is forwarded to Ian, it is dealt with immediately.   Ian is never too busy to assist with a banking query and to update the meetings on new products at Absa or deal with any queries from the members at the General Meetings.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETINGS 

The SANCU Executive meets on a monthly basis and are all voluntary members.  All our EXCO members attend these meetings where we brainstorm and make decisions on where SANCU stands on various consumer issues. Decisions on Press Releases, Statutory Measures and new Regulations are made at these meetings.  Members also report back on meetings attended.  These reports are also discussed and if necessary action taken.

SANCU’s Exco represents the consumer on the following Boards and Committees

AGRICULTURE

 

Agricultural Trade Forum (ATF) Groundnut Forum
Wheat Forum Steering Committee Oil Seeds Trust
Cotton SA Sunflower & Soybeans Forum
Dairy Standards Agency (DSA) Potato Development Trust
Maize Forum & Steering Committee Potato Industry Forum
Maize Forum Technical Advisory Committee Sorghum Forum
Oil Seeds Advisory Committee Wheat Forum

FINANCE

 

Credit Ombud                                                         National Credit Regulator

FOOD/NUTRITION

Food Legislation Advisory Group (FLAG) Food Advisory Consumer Service (FACS)

MEAT

 Red Meat Industry Forum

SA BUREAU OF STANDARDS

TC 70     Legal Metrology

SC 70A   Mass Measurements

SC 70B   Volume and Flow Measurements

SC 70C   Dimensional Measurements

SC 70D   Sale of Goods

TC 72     Safety of Electrical Appliances & Goods

TC 74     Communication Technology

TC 75     Performance of Household Appliances

TC 99     Business Process Outsourcing

TC 168   Banking Fraud

Road Traffic Management Systems

Consumer Product Recall Safety

Unit pricing

 

 

 

 

TC176  Quality Assurance & management matters

TC185  Consumer Standards

TC211  Organic agri production and processing

TC217  Cosmetics

TC223   National Disaster Management

TC242   Energy Management

TC1019 Gas supply, handling & control

TC1090 Safety of playgrounds & equipment

TC1091 Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Nanotechnology

Cross Border Trading

Network Services Billing

Children and Youth friendly banking

NATIONAL REGULATOR FOR COMPULSORY SPECIFICATIONS (NRCS) 

VC 8043  Comp. Spec. for incandescent lamps

VC8087   Comp. Spec. for plastic bags

Trade Metrology – Stakeholder engagements

All levy negotiations

MISCELLANEOUS 

Consumer Goods Services Ombud  

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

At our AGM every year, SANCU tables new Recommendations.  SANCU has noticed that although we do not receive official notification that our Recommendations are being initiated, after time we notice that the Recommendations we put forward have in fact been put into practice.  We have definitely seen more and more couriers calling consumers before they deliver as well as service providers calling before they visit the consumer’s home for maintenance work

GENERAL MEETINGS – HELD BI-MONTHLY

SANCU is very fortunate to attract excellent Guest Speakers that address SANCU on many different and interesting issues. Unfortunately SANCU is unable to pay the Guest Speakers who volunteer their time at no cost to us.  Thank you once again to the wonderful speakers that we have been fortunate to have over the past year, at no cost to SANCU and for this we are very grateful.

The following topics were addressed during the last year :

Ms T Magolego – Senior Legal Advisor : National Credit Regulations South Africans could have their debt written off in 2019.
Ms Irmin Seegal – Senior Clinical Analysist : Council for Medical Schemes Consumers rights re Prescribed Minimum Benefits
Ms Magauta Mphahlele – Consumer Goods and Services Ombud An overview of the CGSO’s Office / Year End Results
             

THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES (DAFF) – DIRECTORATE PLANT QUALITY STANDARDS.

Ms Thabang Rampa Chief Food Safety and Quality Assurance Officer: Directorate: Food Safety and Quality Assurance of DAFF regularly attends the General Meetings and never fails to update the meeting on the ongoing work in her department.  The reports are circulated with the Minutes 

SA BUREAU OF STANDARDS 

Mr Grant Strachen the Acting CEO of the SABS has graciously supplied the prestigious Acacia Meeting Room for our General Meetings and a Committee Meeting Room for our Exco meetings at no cost to SANCU. A special word of thank you will be conveyed to Mr Strachen.   Currently SANCU enjoys a free office (excluding telephone costs).   The SABS’s ongoing support for SANCU is most appreciated.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

SANCU is fortunate to have an excellent working relationship with a lot of journalists that contact us for comment as they know our comments are always well researched.

SANCU’s comments to the Media were published various platforms o.a. :

  • Consumers laud Competition Tribunal’s R20 million administrative penalty served on Computicket.
  • Consumers welcome report on vacation ownership/timeshare industry
  • Beware of Christmas Spending
  • Sugar Tax
  • Chicken Ban.
  • Electricity price increase.
  • 702 Radio discussing Brazilian Chicken.

Sancu’s Media Releases which appeared on various media platforms:

  • Consumers welcome High Court ruling in favour of Credit Regulator
  • Fall in petrol prices

OFFICE REPORTS

SANCU’s activities are reported on extensively by our Executive Officer Ann Goslin at each General Meeting.   This gives our members an idea of the extent of SANCU’s operations.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Ann is regularly updating SANCU’s Facebook page with either consumer news or alerts.  The recent post where SANCU warned consumers of the White Pepper Compound and downsizing of rusks were viewed by 8 900 users and shared by 2 100 users

COMMENTS SUBMITTED BY SANCU   

The following comments were submitted by SANCU

  • Comments on the second draft regulation for the dairy products and imitation dairy products.
  • Comments on the Statutory Measures for the Red Meat Industry.
  • Comments on the New Tobacco Bill
  • Comments on the Statutory Measure for the Potato Industry – SANCU was very pleased that the levy decreased in the first year and the annual increases thereafter only averaged 5,76%. SANCU emphasized to the NAMC that other levies should follow their example.

COMPLAINTS 

As our members and guests are aware, SANCU does not have the resources to investigate complex complaints but of the complaints that Ann investigates we have had a 100% resolution rate this year.  Sometimes not in the favour of the consumer but resolved never-the-less.  Over the years Ann’s little black book has outgrown its original booklet into a major sized book which she guards very secretively. Any contact number is never divulged to a third party and this ensures an excellent working relationship with many organisations.

356 complaints were received for the past year of which 345 were resolved by SANCU.   Ann has built up a good relationship with both the CGSO and the NCC who are always willing to assist her.  The CGSO very promptly assists Ann with all her queries.  Thank you to the team at CGSO.

Amongst the top complaints received were:  vehicle repairs and purchasing on online.

SANCU has made consumers aware of the following o.a.

  • White Powder Compound
  • Different weights of Rusks in the same size box
  • Undersizing of certain items

CONSUMER INFORMATION 

SANCU receives copious amounts of consumer information which we sift through and circulate to all our members.  These range from Newsletters from the Credit Ombud, Short Term Insurance Ombudsman, consumer alerts, food price statistics which our members in the retail field find very informative. SANCU monitors Food Price Statistics and advise members on items that we feel are either increasing dramatically or stabilising.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  

Thank you is such a small word but means so much

My 1st vice Marie v d Merwe thank you for your excellent reporting on meetings you have attended. It is always interesting and valuable

My 2nd Vice Clif Johnston thank you for attending so many meetings and your extensive reports. Also a thank you for being SANCU’s spokesman on radio and in the press

Taking into account that my Executive Committee are ALL voluntary AND TRAVEL LONG DISTANCES to attend many meetings with no remuneration, I have nothing but praise for them for all the hours they put in on behalf of SANCU.  Although short notice is sometimes given, we try our utmost to attend all meetings. If there is no one available Ann Goslin will attend.

Ann Goslin my Executive Officer you are my right hand and left hand in the office and I don’t know how to thank you for your efficient and professional running of SANCU.  No problem is too big or small for you to tackle, which you do like a bulldog, never giving up until an outcome is reached as well as your continued liaising with all our committees.   You always run the extra mile for SANCU even after hours if there are any important issues to be addressed.

Last but not least to our Affiliate, Associate and Private members once again thank you for your loyal support and continuous presence at our meetings.

I hereby present my report for adoption

Dated this day of 2 Day of October 2019


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SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL CONSUMER UNION

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

1 SEPTEMBER 2017 – 31 AUGUST 2018

I am pleased to submit the Chairman’s Report of the South African National Consumer Union for the period 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2018 to our members.

Background

SANCU is a voluntary Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Organisation.  SANCU aims to educate consumers on their rights, promote consumer awareness and most of all let the consumers voice be heard on the many Boards and Committees we serve on.

Sancu Strategic Plan

At the beginning of 2018 the Executive Committee reviewed SANCU's strategic plan.  The mission, vision and strapline (motto) were updated to read as follows:

Mission:  To be known and recognised as a credible, proactive and effective national consumer union that advises, informs and educates consumers, assertively promotes consumer rights, and represents consumers on relevant decision making bodies.

Vision:  The most respected, influential and trusted NGO in South Africa proactively representing the interests of consumers in all spheres of economic activity.

Strapline:  Advocating consumer interests

ExCo reviewed who SANCU's primary and supporting customers are, and what each of these groups value, in order to focus attention on these aspects.  ExCo also reviewed SANCU's successes in recent times in influencing and changing the practices of various bodies in favour of consumers.  These successes were achieved through direct representation on boards and in committees, as well as by submitting written comments on proposed legislation and other developments.  Action plans were developed to address membership and financial challenges by providing more feedback to members and by increasing the visibility of SANCU's actions and successes on the web site and through social media.

Members

SANCU’s Associate Members play a vital role in keep SANCU functioning.  Their membership enable us to run an office efficiently.  The sponsorships received for projects is greatly appreciated, all booklets printed are distributed free of charge, which we would be unable to do without the support of our Associate Members.  To those Associates that manage to attend our meetings, thank you very much.  To those that cannot attend, we appreciate your feedback on emails that we distribute.

I would like to express my gratitude to the many Affiliate Members that travel far to attend our meetings and provide valuable input at our meetings.

Honorary Membership

At last year’s AGM Honorary Membership was bestowed on Mrs Marie van der Merwe (myself)

Consumer Cup

SANCU had the privilege of presenting the Consumer Cup to Ms Lucinda Filander of Shoprite Checkers for their continuing support of SANCU.

During the year under review consumers were once again faced with unfavourable conditions in their day to day economic activities.  In line with the challenges referred to in the previous year’s report, fuel price increases, cost of electricity, sugar tax, proposed carbon tax, unfavourable exchange rates, and the increase in the Value Added Tax, keep haunting vulnerable consumers.  Following the outcry against the increase of VAT, Treasury appointed a Committee to investigate the possibility of adding some products to the list of VAT-exempt items.  We engaged with our members to establish which products they would like to be added to the existing list.  Eventually the following items were added to the list: 

Peanut butter (motivation received from SA Groundnut Forum

Red Meat – especially offal (motivation received from the Red Meat Industry Forum)

Poultry fresh and frozen

Sorghum Meal

Macaroni and Spaghetti

Polonies

Long Life Milk

Although good rains brought relief to many areas, especially in the Western and Eastern Cape, severe drought is still contributing to the misery of some farming communities.  It is expected that the wheat crop will be bigger than the previous year, resulting in less wheat to be imported.  This is good news for consumers as the availability of bread will not be compromised.

The current discussions regarding the expropriation of land without compensation is also a matter of concern.  The Executive Committee of Sancu has discussed this issue on several occasions and ruled that this is not a consumer issue.  However, the discussions have escalated to a level where it is not only agricultural land that is at stake, but also residential properties and this has a direct impact on consumers.  During the last couple of weeks the banking sector made it clear that should a property be expropriated without compensation, the current owner will still be liable for payment of the bond obligations.  During the debates that took place on this issue, it was clearly indicated that the expropriation of agricultural land without compensation, food security in South Africa will be compromised.  Sancu is represented on most of the discussions on this issue.

Another bone of contention for many consumers is the proposed National Health Insurance.  Consumers who are members of medical schemes will be the most vulnerable as they will have to pay their medical aid fees as well as contribute to the NHI.  However, this is an ongoing discussion and it is uncertain in what format this will be implemented.

Executive Committee Meetings

Exco members are all volunteers and meet on a monthly basis to discuss consumer related issues, complaints, legislation which might have an impact on consumers, nominate members to serve on various boards, trusts or any other organisation requesting consumer representation and regularly discuss the role of our various members and the interaction we wish to have with them on a regular basis.

Exco members represent consumers on the following Boards and Committees:

AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Trade Forum                          Groundnut Forum

Dairy Standards Agency                          Oil & Protein Seeds Development Trust

Maize Forum & Steering Committee           Oils Seeds Advisory Committee

Sunflower & Soybeans Forum                             Potato Industry Forum

Sorghum Forum                                     Wheat Forum & Steering Committee

Winter Cereal Trust                               

FINANCE

Credit Ombud Council                              National Credit Regulator

FOOD/NUTRITION

Food Legislation Advisory Group                Food Advisory Consumer Service
 
MEAT

Red Meat Industry Forum                        Red Meat Research & Development

SA BUREAU OF STANDARDS

Impartiality Committee

Jennifer Tselentis undertook a comprehensive investigation into the Sugar Tax and attended many of the Free Market Foundation Media Briefings.

Tutti Rudman attended all the Advertising Standards Committee meetings and made sure the consumers’ voice was heard.  Tutti made valuable contributions at the all the Red Meat Industry Forum meetings she attended.

Dr Clif Johnston attended many meetings this year:

SABS TC138/SC6  Plastic pipes and fittings - Attended a further three meetings on a project to revise two standards on plastic sewage pipes and fittings for above-ground applications.  The project was concluded successfully and in the publication process.  The revision corrected an inappropriate requirement for protection against degradation due to ultraviolet light, which had resulted in early failures.

SABS TC176:  Quality assurance and management - attended one meeting.  SANCU's interest is maintenance of the SANS 10 000- series of standards on customer satisfaction

SABS TC217: Cosmetics - attended Sunscreen Working Group meeting.  Managed to get enhanced protection against ultraviolet radiation specified for all sunscreens with an SPF greater than 15.

Free Market Foundation - attended meeting on medical aid/insurance

Right to repair (Motor Industry) - met with representatives of this organization and agreed to cooperate with them (nothing much has come of this)

SABS TC007: Consumer standards - attended two meetings of this committee.  Work includes projects for standards on Cross-border trade in second-hand goods, Online reputation, Swimming pool safety, Consumer warranties and guarantees, Unit pricing, and Labelling of consumer products containing manufactured nano-objects.

Dairy appeal board - chaired a DAFF Appeal Board which ruled on a product labelling issue.

SABS TC301 Energy Management - Concluded work on the standard "Energy services - Guidelines for the assessment and improvement of energy services to users."  The standard (SANS 50007) has now been published.

SABS TC64/SC1 Lamps, lights and auxilliaries - Work is being done to address the new LED lamps which are now flooding the market.

SABS TC70/SC4 Legal metrology - Sale of goods.  Work being done on the control and labelling of quantities in which products are sold. SANCU wishes to tighten up the regulations regarding placement of quantity indication and increase the step size between different permitted quantities to discourage product downsizing.  SANCU is also promoting the concept of Unit Pricing.

Workshop on consumer representation in standards development - Conducted a workshop for SABS Standards personnel.

NRCS working group on luminaires (light fittings and lampholders) - Attended a meeting and recommended that NRCS exempts safety requirements in respect of low-voltage LED luminaires that operate in the "Safety extra low voltage" range (such as 12V or 24V) as these are inherently safe, and are finding increasing application among rural communities where cost considerations are critical.

NATIONAL REGULATOR FOR COMPULSORY SPECIFICATIONS 

VC 8043 Comp. Spec. for incandescent lamps      
Trade Metrology - Stakeholder engagements
VC Comp. Spec. for plastic bags 
All levy negotiations

OTHER

Advertising Standards Authority                           
Society of Consumer Professionals

Consumer Goods Services Ombud                      
Electrical Contracting Board

Health Quality Assessment

OTHER EVENTS ATTENDED BY EXCO MEMBERS ON BEHALF OF SANCU

Free Market Foundation discussion on medical aid/insurance

Workshop on consumer representation in standards development. Dr Clif Johnston conducted a workshop for SABS Standards personnel

Energy Indaba

CEO Forum hosted by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Credit Ombud Council launch of their 2017 Annual Report.  It was highlighted that during the year under review more than R15 million was saved for consumers.

Breakfast Seminar on Expropriation without Compensation was hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Credit Ombud Council hosted a Russian delegation who is interested to learn how SA deals with non-banking credit conflict resolution, with a view to implementing a similar system in Russia.

During the period under review the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries established three Appeal Boards following inspections by officials in terms of the Agricultural Products Standards Act.  Two members of Exco were requested to serve on these Appeal boards, one member chaired one of the Boards.

The National Credit Regulator invited stakeholders to a discussion on the effect of the affordability assessment regulations (Regulation 23A of the National Credit Act) on consumers.  The stakeholders represented consumer groups/civic organisations, credit bureaus and credit providers.  All stakeholders agreed that consumers are not educated on credit in general.  It was emphasised that often consumers are so desperate to obtain loans that they “go underground” and land up being exploited by unscrupulous money lenders.  The NCR undertook to provide the results of the assessment to the participants.

The Free Market Foundation held a media briefing where Wayne Duvenage of OUTA was the speaker.  He reminded the audience of the journey OUTA has embarked on since the e-toll saga unfolded.

Listerioses seminar hosted by the dti.  Sadly the Departments of Health and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries were not attending to provide their inputs regarding the actions taken, or not taken, when the outbreak of Listerioses was announced on 4 March 2018.

Health Quality Assessment (HQA) held their 14th Annual Industry Results Presentation and Clinical Quality Conference.  HQA is of the firm believe that measuring and reporting on clinical quality is in the interest of a more sustainable health care sector.  Sharing of clinical quality measures and results allows medical funds, managed care organisations and provider groups to continuously improve the clinical quality of the care they fund/manage/provide.  As an end goal the consumer should be empowered to find the best value for his money when seeking a medical fund, health insurance, hospital or doctor.  HQA is now challenged to take the next step for moving towards developing and reporting outcomes measures.

RECOMMENDATIONS

SANCU annually tables recommendations at its AGM.  These recommendations are forwarded to the relevant authorities and often it is noted that some of the recommendations are implemented although we do not receive official notification thereof.

GENERAL MEETINGS

SANCU once again managed to attract excellent guest speakers at our general meetings.  We are indeed grateful that they were prepared to share their knowledge and expertise with our members at no cost to SANCU.

The following topics were addressed during the year under review:

Red Meat Abattoir Association  :  Listeriosis

Free Market Foundation : NHI and Cost of Medical Aids in the future

Consumer Profile Bureau : Balancing customer compliance with satisfaction

LP Gas Association of SA  :  Using gas safely

SABS

I would like to extend my sincere thank you to the Acting CEO of the SABS Mr Garth Strachan for supply SANCU with offices and for opening up the use of the prestigious Acacia Room for our General Meetings. In addition the SABS has granted SANCU use of their 3rd floor Committee Rooms for our Exco Meetings.  These are all supplied at no cost to SANCU.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

SANCU once again feature prominently in the media by way of our Press Releases or direct contact from journalist.  The following are subjects that were featured : 

Consequences of Listeriosis should be dire

Word Consumer Rights Day

Warn consumers to check sell by dates

SANCU denounces Eskom Price Increase

Christmas spending

Consumer applaud Nersa ruling on Eskom tariffs

VAT Increase beware of new prices

Network Dialling Codes to Change

Competition Commission launches abuse of dominance investigation against Vodacom

Sell by dates

Egg Shortage

ICASA Data

Pick n Pay Groceries on Credit

The Executive Office launched SANCU’s first Facebook page, which has been very well received by consumers.  Ann urges members to forward any consumer news to her for inclusion on the page.

OFFICE REPORTS

At each General Meeting the Executive Officer gives and extensive report on SANCU activities for the previous two months.  These reports are circulated with the Minutes.

SANCU SUBMITTED COMMENTS ON THE FOLLOWING: 

Proposed Inspection Fees to be implemented by assignees appointed by DAFF

Establishment of a breeding and technology levy on wheat, barley and oats

Statutory Measures for the Macadamia Industry

Sugar Tax

RMIF Application for Statutory Measures

Comments Cotton and Lint application for Statutory Measures

Comments on Table Eggs application for Statutory Measures

Comments on recommended debt counselling fees

Letter of congratulations to the newly appointed NAMC CEO

Submitted comments on the MIO Draft Code of Conduct

Submitted comments to Nersa on the Eskom price increase application for 2017/2018

Submitted comments to NAMC on Imported chicken products

Submitted comment on Sunscreen Products that contain SPF

Comments on application Statutory Measures for Maize and Wheaten Products

Submitted a list of Zero-Rated items to be considered for Vat exemption – National Treasury. 

COMPLAINTS

For the period 1.10.2018 – 31.8.2018 SANCU received 274 complaints. Of these 274 complaints 250 were resolved in favour of the consumer.  Online loans was a constant complaint as was vehicle relate complaints.  Advice was given to many of SABS employees on how to work out a budget and how to go about lodging their complaints with the various Ombud’s offices. 

CONSUMER INFORMATION

Advice was given to many of SABS employees and walk-ins on how to work out a budget and how to go about lodging their complaints with the various Ombud’s offices i.e. assisting with completing the forms and which documents to attach.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Since all Exco members are volunteers, they nevertheless attend many meetings without being remunerated and I can only thank them for their dedication to SANCU and their efforts to engage in matters on behalf of consumers.

To Tutti Rudman, Honorary Treasurer, for keeping a close eye on SANCU’s finances and making sure that we deal with all expenses in a responsible manner.

Clif Johnston, Vice Chair, thank you for always being prepared to chair meetings if necessary.  Your excellent reporting on sometimes very difficult and technical matters is amazing.  You make it easy for laymen in Exco to understand.

Ann Goslin, our Executive Officer, you once again amazed us all by the way you managed the office, even while you were in ICU and later when you were hospitalised again.  Your perseverance, even under difficult circumstances, in solving problems on behalf of consumers is greatly appreciated.  We realise that you often put in extra hours and we can only say a big thank you for your dedication!

Our Affiliate, Associate and Private members, we thank you for your continued support and for attending our meetings.  As mentioned in previous General Meetings I would appreciate interaction with you at our meetings as this is the only opportunity to directly engage with you.

I hereby present my report for the period 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2018 for adoption.

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