By Sanette Viljoen
The public aren’t always aware of the different types of ombudsman in South Africa. Furthermore, the man in the street is also unsure of how he can be reached.
What is an ombudsman?
An ombudsman is an appointed official or instance with the authority to investigate an individual’s complaint against a company or an organisation. In essence his role is to find a solution and facilitate the conflict between parties by offering advice and arbitration. It provides a solution where the discussions with a company or organisation failed and the person who lodged the complaint was not in the wrong. There are different, independent ombudsman schemes for different disputes. What is more, the service is free, which is excellent news for those who might not have the financial means to seek justice in the court. It is a shorter and more effective process.
How do I reach the ombudsman?
Following is a list of numbers of the different ombudsman schemes:
- Timeshare Institute 021-9145210
- Public Defender 012-3222915
- Ombudsman for short-term insurance 011-7268900
- Ombudsman for life-insurance 021-6740330
- The Council for Estate Agents 011-8837700
- The Consumer Affairs Committee in Pretoria 012-3109579
- The Master Builders Association 011-8056688
- The Financial Services Council 012-4288000
- Micro-lenders 011-6474400
- The Bank Adjudicator 011-8380035
- Advertising Standards Authority 011-7812006
- Gauteng Office for Consumer Affairs 011-3558008
If you aren’t sure which ombudsman to approach, contact the following number and they will refer you to the correct ombudsman: 0861 OMBUDS (0861 662837).
Contact the above numbers to lodge a complaint against a company or organisation.