Consumer activist Madlala went the extra mile

Thuli Zungu

Thuli Zungu

Nonhlanhla Kathleen Madlala, or "Sis Pinky" as we affectionately called her, actively fought the consumers' cause. Her death has left the thousands that she protected against unfair business practices grief-stricken and in shock.

Madlala was a very compassionate person who cared about her family, friends, co-workers and the many vulnerable people that she served through her work.

In March she was awarded the Consumer Champion Award for 2007. She received it in her hospital bed, where she had been battling poor health since January.

Born on June 22 1947 in Sophiatown, Madlala moved with her family to Soweto.

She completed her primary education at Thulasizwe. She attended Orlando High School in Soweto and later Enkamane High School in KwaZulu-Natal where she matriculated. She completed her BIuris degree at Ongoye University 1973.

The consumer activist met and married Sipho Madlala in May 1970, with whom she had five children - Busi, Nonhlanhla, Sifiso, Nozipho and Palesa.

She pursued her career in the legal field and worked for the Legal Resources Centre from 1979 until she became too ill.

Madlala was a very busy woman and she served on various committees, boards and agencies.

She coordinated the access to justice project at the Legal Resources Centre and she was also chairman of the National Association of Child-minders.

The very efficient Madlala was a permanent member of the Gauteng consumer affairs court.

She served on the management committee of the national consumer forum and the legal task team of the Estate Agency Affairs Board.

Madlala spent many hours at the board's claims committee, which probed claims by home buyers who were victims of rogue estate agents.

She was a vice chairman on the board's disciplinary committee, a member of the board's micro-finance regulatory council and a member of the education sub-committee whose task was to enlighten consumers about their rights when dealing with micro- lenders.

Madlala was a member of the Council for Short-Term Insurance representing the consumer sector.

She was a director of the Home Loan Guarantee Company and served on the Credit Information Ombudsman's Council representing consumers.

Annette Reed, one of Madlala's colleagues at the Legal Resources Centre, said Sis Pinky was much loved by everyone who knew her.

"Pinky cared," said Reed.

Madlala was buried yesterday.