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Consumer Protection Act, 2008 (Act No. 68 of 2008)

Chapter 1 : Interpretation, Purpose and Application

Part A : Interpretation

2. Interpretation



1) This Act must be interpreted in a manner that gives effect to the purposes set out in section 3.


2) When interpreting or applying this Act, a person, court or Tribunal or the Commission may consider—
a) appropriate foreign and international law;
b) appropriate international conventions, declarations or protocols relating to consumer protection; and
c) any decision of a consumer court, ombud or arbitrator in terms of this Act, to the extent that such a decision has not been set aside, reversed or overruled by the High Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal or the Constitutional Court.


3) If a provision of this Act requires a document to be signed or initialled by a party to a transaction, that signing or initialling may be effected in any manner recognised by law, including by use of—
a) an advanced electronic signature, as defined in the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act or
b) an electronic signature, as defined in the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act;


4) The supplier must take reasonable measures to prevent the use of a consumer's electronic signature for any purpose other than the signing or initialling of the particular document that the consumer intended to sign or initial.


5) Despite the periods of time set out in section 6, each successive threshold determined by the Minister in terms of that section continues in effect until a subsequent threshold in terms of that section takes effect.


6) When a particular number of business days is provided for between the happening of one event and another, the number of days must be calculated by—
a) excluding the day on which the first such event occurs;
b) including the day on or by which the second event is to occur; and
c) excluding any public holiday, Saturday or Sunday that falls on or between the days contemplated in paragraphs (a) and (b), respectively.


7) Unless the context indicates otherwise, any use of the word "includes" or "including, in relation to a defined or generic word or expression, on the one hand, and one or more enumerated examples or specific items, on the other, is not to be construed as limiting the defined or generic expression to the examples or items so enumerated.


8) If there is an Inconsistency between any provision of Chapter 5 of this Act and a provision of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act No. 1 of 1999), or the Public Service Act, 1994 (Proclamation No. 103 of 1994), the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999, or of the Public Service Act, 1994, as the case may be, prevail.


9) If there is an inconsistency between any provision of this Act and a provision of any Act not contemplated in subsection (8)—
a) the provisions of both Acts apply concurrently, to the extent that it is possible to apply and comply with one of the inconsistent provisions without contravening the second; and
b) to the extent that paragraph (a) cannot apply, the provision that extends the greater protection to a consumer prevails over the alternative provision

provided that in the case of hazardous chemical products only the provisions of this Act relating to consumer redress will apply.


10) No provision of this Act must be interpreted so as to preclude a consumer from exercising any rights afforded in terms of the common law.