23 February 2010
Ina WilkenVeteran consumer champion Ina Wilken has joined forces with the National Consumer Forum, bringing over 15 years of experience in 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 last week opened its pilot A2K centre in the economically depressed area of KwaMhlanga, east of Pretoria, with support from food company Nestle 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.