Set up courts for consumer rights, say stakeholders

0 30

STAKEHOLDERS yesterday clamoured for the establishment of special courts to deal with consumer-related disputes and criminal charges in a bid to promote and safeguard consumer rights.
This emerged during a business breakfast forum jointly organised by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) and Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) — publishers of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday — to discuss what the recently promulgated Consumer Protection Act means for consumers.
Legal expert Runouya Zimudzi said there is need to set up special courts that will specifically and expeditiously deal with dispute resolution and criminal cases involving consumer rights, adding that the present courts fall short in that regard.

Industry and Commerce minister Sekai Nzenza

“Currently, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has set up commercial courts in the High Court and the Magistrates’ Court. They are doing a good job, but I believe more can be done through the setting up of courts that are specifically designed to deal with dispute resolution and the criminal aspect of those who violate consumer rights,” Zimudzi argued.
Zimudzi added that there is also a need to train and educate judicial officers and prosecutors on consumer rights.
“If you look at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) you will realise that 90 to 95 percent of cases they deal with fall under the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act. This means that we have a long way to go in as far as educating the NPA on how to handle consumer rights-related cases under the Consumer Protection Act.
Industrialist Kumbirai Katsande said in addition to setting up special courts and educating prosecutors, it is also important to take the Act to the people it is meant to protect.
“We might sit here and discuss the Act and what it can do for consumers, but if we don’t take it to the people then it is not going to be effective. Let us have radio programmes, brochures with information on consumer rights and other creative ways to popularise this Act,” Katsande said.
He encouraged business owners to take responsibility for the goods they sell even if they are not the manufacturers.
“As business people, I believe it’s high time we kill the spirit that if I’m not the one who made it then it’s not my responsibility.
“If you are selling an iron or kettle it is your responsibility to make sure that it’s a quality product which can meet the consumer’s needs.
“If a consumer is not happy about the product, then address that issue instead of having an attitude and placing the fault on someone else,” Katsande said.
Meanwhile, Industry minister Sekai Nzenza said there was need to educate the public on methods of redress if they have a case against producers.
“Our consumer relations are clouded in fear and this goes back to colonial times. When consumers enter a shop they have fear in them and may even believe that the shop owner has a right to treat them in any way.
“This is why it is important to educate our consumers on their rights and the methods of redress provided for in the Consumer Protection Act,” Nzenza said
This emerged during a business breakfast forum jointly organised by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) and Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) — publishers of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday — to discuss what the recently promulgated Consumer Protection Act means for consumers.
Legal expert Runouya Zimudzi said there is need to set up special courts that will specifically and expeditiously deal with dispute resolution and criminal cases involving consumer rights, adding that the present courts fall short in that regard.
“Currently, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has set up commercial courts in the High Court and the Magistrates’ Court. They are doing a good job, but I believe more can be done through the setting up of courts that are specifically designed to deal with dispute resolution and the criminal aspect of those who violate consumer rights,” Zimudzi argued.
Zimudzi added that there is also a need to train and educate judicial officers and prosecutors on consumer rights.
“If you look at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) you will realise that 90 to 95 percent of cases they deal with fall under the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act. This means that we have a long way to go in as far as educating the NPA on how to handle consumer rights-related cases under the Consumer Protection Act.
Industrialist Kumbirai Katsande said in addition to setting up special courts and educating prosecutors, it is also important to take the Act to the people it is meant to protect.
“We might sit here and discuss the Act and what it can do for consumers, but if we don’t take it to the people then it is not going to be effective. Let us have radio programmes, brochures with information on consumer rights and other creative ways to popularise this Act,” Katsande said.
He encouraged business owners to take responsibility for the goods they sell even if they are not the manufacturers.
“As business people, I believe it’s high time we kill the spirit that if I’m not the one who made it then it’s not my responsibility.
“If you are selling an iron or kettle it is your responsibility to make sure that it’s a quality product which can meet the consumer’s needs.
“If a consumer is not happy about the product, then address that issue instead of having an attitude and placing the fault on someone else,” Katsande said.
Meanwhile, Industry minister Sekai Nzenza said there was need to educate the public on methods of redress if they have a case against producers.
“Our consumer relations are clouded in fear and this goes back to colonial times. When consumers enter a shop they have fear in them and may even believe that the shop owner has a right to treat them in any way.
“This is why it is important to educate our consumers on their rights and the methods of redress provided for in the Consumer Protection Act,” Nzenza said

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.