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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ina Wilken joins the NCF

Veteran consumer champion Ina Wilken has joined forces with the National Consumer Forum, bringing over 15 years of experience and to the consumer movement.

NCF chairman Thami Bolani said Wilken had showed her commitment by speaking out on a number of issues and representing consumers on industry bodies and other platforms.

"The consumer movement in South Africa needs a lot of building up," said Bolani, "and we welcome people who are passionate about improving the lot of the average consumer."

Wilken was honoured as Individual Consumer Champion of the Year by the Department of Trade and Industry in 2005, and was runner-up in 2006. She was director of the former SA Consumer Council in 1995, and was closely involved with the SA National Consumer Union from 1996 to 2009.

She has been the consumer voice on various bodies, including the Department of Justice's Debt Collectors Council, the SA Banking Adjudicator Commission, the SA Bureau of Standards' Consumer Sector Board, and the Financial Services Board's Consumer Advisory Panel.

Bolani said that Wilken would continue to be a spokesperson on consumer rights, and would take a leadership role in the NCF's recently launched Access to Knowledge (A2K) programme.

The consumer group recently opened its pilot A2K centre in the economically depressed area of KwaMhlanga, east of Pretoria, with support from food company Nestlé and financial services provider Metropolitan.

After officially opening the centre, deputy minister of trade and industry Bongi Ntuli urged the NCF to roll out these centres across the country, to empower consumers with knowledge.

Never heard of the NCF?

The National Consumer Forum is a self-sustaining, non-governmental organisation that educates consumers about their rights, lobbies on consumer issues and speaks out where it can on a range of challenges that consumers - especially lower income earners - experience in their daily lives.

The NCF publish a national, free-distribution consumer rights newspaper called Consumer Fair six times a year. They also host an annual World Consumer Rights Day conference, and work closely with a range of consumer agencies such as the industry regulators and the provincial offices of the Consumer Protector.

The NCF is an affiliate member of the global federation of consumer organisations - the London-based Consumers International - a grouping of over 250 consumer organisations in more than 120 countries. They support the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection, in particular the right to basic needs: All consumers have the right to basic goods and services such as adequate food, drinking water, shelter, clothing, health care, electricity and education. These rights lay a foundation for a life of human dignity and therefore give meaning to citizens' rights to vote for the political party of their choice periodically.

National Consumer Forum
012 428 7071

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