Despite Zimbabwean Government’s slow moving wheels to gazette the new Consumer Protection Act, the provisions of Consumer Protection Bill of 2014 states that consumers have a right to safe and good quality goods.
Although it seemed public knowledge that consumer health should be a priority to every manufacturer or distributors of food stuffs, a lot of manufacturers turn a deaf ear to this and leverage on the government’s long legislative system.
One of the biggest sharks in the dairy manufacturing industry Cortina has since joined the wagon and seemed not to care about the health of its clients, since it started distributing its ice creams without necessary provisions for consumption.
Cortina has been distributing ice creams from quantities as small as 125ml without spoons and this poses a health threat to consumers as these small quantities are mostly purchased to be consumed on the go.
It is common sense and expected that the company understands that these products are consumed mainly consumed on the go and should have spoons like any other supplier of ice cream does.
Mail and Telegraph did a survey in Harare after realizing that this giant was posing a threat to the nation’s health and found out that almost all suppliers of ice creams had spoons within their packages to enable healthy consumption of their products except Cortina.
Cortina turned a blind eye after engagement with this publication and gave excuse of shortage of foreign currency and expected that their products are consumed when one gets home.
Responding to Mail and Telegraph, Tairoodza the Marketing Manager said “For consumers’ convenience in such instances where one intends to consume on the go, we normally supply complimentary spoons. However due to ongoing foreign currency shortages we do not currently have any in stock. Therefore naturally one cannot consume on the go and it is expected that they would wait until they get home to enjoy their ice cream”
Asked whether or not this expectation was communicated to the consumers as required and whether or not they see it as a health threat, Tairoodza refused to answer.
Item (1) of Section 18 of the Consumer Council Bill of 2014 states that “Every consumer has a right to receive goods that— (a) are reasonably suitable for the purposes for which they are generally intended; (b) are of good quality, in good working order and free of any defects; (c) will be useable and durable for a reasonable period of time, having regard to the use to which they would normally be put and to all the surrounding circumstances of their supply;”
Zimbabweans’ consumer rights have been violated mainly because there is no legal framework to enforce the observance of consumer rights, hence this unjust practices being witnessed in the market.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) says Consumers have an important role to play if their rights are to be protected they have to speak up in order for them to be heard.