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Bad building: Hotline comes to the rescue

On 6 August 2011 Ms W Heukelman of Potchefstroom in North West lodged a complaint with the National Consumer Commission (NCC) about the shoddy building of a flower box at her home, but without a success. Apparently, Smart Stone, the company which was supposed to install the flower box, did not build it according to Ms Heukelman’s specification. In fact, they didn’t even complete the job. After several calls to Smart Stone an official promised to pay back her deposit and destroy the incomplete flower box but this didn’t happen.

Ms Heukelman then turned to the NCC but they too could not help her. Finally, she turned to the office of the President on 10 April 2012 through the Presidential Hotline, which then routed a case to the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) to investigate the complaint, since the NCC is one of the government agencies.

The dti established that the NCC could not help Ms Heukelman because they did not have enough money or staff to deal with the matter. The Presidential Hotline phoned Ms Heukelman several times to keep her informed about progress. Since the NCC could not help, the dti took the issue further and contacted Mr Thinus Marias of Smart Stone. On 28 August 2012 the DTI helped the two parties to come to an amicable solution. Smart Stone would pay her R1 250 as a courtesy, which was higher than her initial payment of R1 000. Ms W Heukelman made a courtesy call to the Presidential Hotline to thank them and to confirm that she was paid. She also said both parties signed a Lawyer’s letter to declare the matter closed.