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24 Apr 2013 14:19
Thuli Madonsela. (Gallo)
"The trade and industry department acted like an over-protective parent, not willing to allow an 18-year-old child to stand on their own two feet," Madonsela told reporters in Pretoria on Wednesday. "There was no sign of mutual co-operation and good faith."
Former National Consumer Commission (NCC) commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi complained that the trade and industry department, and particularly director general Lionel October, abused its power of oversight over the NCC and interfered in its operations.
October withdrew department of trade and industry staff from the NCC without consulting the commissioner, causing operational disruptions.
The department in turn claimed the commissioner failed to implement proper financial systems and irregularly procured offices.
Madonsela found the commissioner failed to put financial systems in place until late in the financial year.
However, the department of trade and industry was partly responsible, because it did not provide the commissioner with resources.
Madonsela said she tried to conciliate a meeting between the two, but this did not help.
"There seems to have been different interpretations of the independence of the NCC in the context of the department of trade and industry's responsibility as a shareholder," she said.
"The NCC wanted to walk independently while it was still learning to crawl, while the department wanted a full parental relationship." Madonsela was releasing her findings on six investigations.
Her main report, titled "There are no heroes", deals with the NCC matter.
"There are no heroes because basically nobody decided to be the bigger person, so to speak," Madonsela said.
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