Cape Town - Consumer watchdog head
Mamodopi Mohlala-Mulaudzi on Wednesday rejected the findings of a
damning report on her organisation by the National Consumer Tribunal.
Appearing before Parliament's trade and
industry portfolio committee, she also revealed that her National
Consumer Commission (NCC) had just obtained an unqualified financial
audit report from the Auditor-General.
Referring to the tribunal's report,
compiled in June this year, Mohlala-Mulaudzi questioned its
motivation and timing, as well the reason for it having been leaked
to media houses.
"For us, the conduct of the
tribunal has... been very surprising. We have a situation where (it)
is preparing a report that is not required in terms of an act, or a
shareholder conference... (and is) not an imperative in terms of any
piece of legislation.
"So, we are... taken aback as to
why this report is being prepared, and, interestingly, why at this
point in time," she told MPs.
A report on the annual performance of
the commission would have been expected at the end of March.
"But all of a sudden, in June,
this report is prepared... It then is called a secret report. But
somehow it then ends up before every major media house in this
"So we are... a bit concerned
about why this report was prepared and then secondly it ends up (with
the media), and then, thirdly, it also forms a factor in relation to
my performance as a commissioner," she said.
Mohlala-Mulaudzi, who was appointed to
her post in October 2010, is locked in a legal battle with Trade and
Industry Minister Rob Davies over her contract, which the minister
decided not to extend past its expiration date next month.
On Wednesday, she faced questions from
MPs over the findings of the tribunal's report.
On the report's stating the NCC had
"failed to follow due process" in some cases,
Mohlala-Mulaudzi said there had been a failure on the tribunal's part
to give specific examples of this.
In response to the argument that her
commission had "exceeded our mandate" and presented "poorly
drafted compliance notices", she said the NCC did not understand
where this was coming from, "and on what basis are they (the
tribunal) coming up with this type of insinuation".
The NCC also took "serious,
serious offence" to the report's assertion that the commission
was "trying to usurp the powers of the minister or the powers of
It would never act beyond its powers,
To accusations that the NCC was "unduly
combative", she said there was a record of correspondence with
the tribunal where, "on each and every turn, we've been turned
This had reached a point where the
NCC's legal representatives were told that "if they persist in
trying to contact the tribunal... we would be reported to the Law
Society, and a criminal charge brought against us because we are
unduly interfering with the tribunal".
Mohlala-Mulaudzi said the commission
had letters from the tribunal specifically stating this. Copies of
all correspondence between the NCC and the tribunal could be made
available to the committee.
She called for a special sitting of the
committee, where both parties could be present, to review the
contents of the tribunal's report. She noted that while members had
been given a copy of the report, they did not have a copy of the
"I think it's a bit unfair that we
as the NCC are expected to sit here and respond to the contents of
the tribunal's report in their absence."
Earlier, the committee heard the NCC
had received an unqualified audit report from the Auditor-General.
"It's important to indicate that
the Auditor-General has given us a clean bill of health with regard
to (operational performance). They found no reason to question or
qualify (our) performance information... and they believe we met
the... requirements in terms of (our) strategic plan.
"In relation to our financial
performance... it's also important to indicate that we did receive an
unqualified audit, and we believe... this is a very important
accolade for the commission."
Mohlala-Mulaudzi said she had received
a letter from the Auditor-General in this regard.
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