Francistown Deputy Mayor, Joyce Ndove, has expressed concern over a growing trend by some members of the business community in Francistown to violate consumer rights.
Addressing the Francistown City Council (FCC), Ndove said that some of the businesses have a tendency of delaying responses to consumer complaints or queries.
“To make matters worse some businesses still fail to issue receipts to consumers when they buy goods. The consumer will therefore not have a proof of purchase. In the event that the bought item does not function well or the consumer needs redress for some reason, it becomes difficult to lodge a complaint without the proof of purchase as required by the Consumer Protection Act,” she said.
Ndove also raised worry over ignorance by some consumers who enter into purchase agreements or contracts without understanding their terms and conditions.
She said that the habit is disheartening especially when consumers are buying expensive items such as vehicles. She added that some of the consumers would go to an extent of signing for no warranty or no guarantee without voicing their rights. She said that it then becomes difficult for the consumers to return the goods when they are faulty or not in good condition.
“In addition some consumers accept disclaimers that put them at a disadvantage such as being told that they will not be allowed to return the goods,” she said.
She urged the business community in Francistown to desist from such business practices as the habit tarnishes the image Francistown. She also advised members of the public to seek advice from relevant institutions before purchasing any item to avoid being cheated.
Touching on health issues, the deputy mayor said that Francistown has been experiencing shortage of drugs in hospitals and clinics in the previous months. She said that the shortage was due to non-availability of the drugs at the Central Medical Stores (CMS) which is the national supplier to all the districts.
“The staffing of the District Health Management Team is also a problem as there is shortage. This has been reported to the ministry of health and rationalization of staff members is ongoing so that the available human resource can be distributed equitably taking into consideration the services that are delivered and the population size in the district,” she added.
She also raised concern over an escalation of teenage pregnancies in Francistown saying that it ranges from 60 to 120 quarterly in a year. She said that the pregnancies are a sign that young people continue to engage in risky behaviors of unprotected sexual activities.
“There are also escalating numbers of Sexually Transmitted Infections. A total of 4514 cases were recorded during the first quarter of 2013 as compared to 4377 which was reported during the fourth quarter of 2012. A good number of people are defaulting or refusing to take medication. There is therefore a need for every stakeholder to put an effort in encouraging our communities to take care of their health and participate in curbing the spread of HIV,” she said.
On a different note Ndove expressed concern over divorce rates in Francistown. According to statistics, she said that there were 96 marriages while 80 divorces were registered during the period of April to June 2013.
“This is an indication that something is not right and we must find ways of advising couples to continue to stay together in the institution,” she said.