Activist with warmth and passion

Carol Hills

Carol Hills

Consumer rights champion Isobel Jones was at one time described as all that stood between South Africans and high prices. She passed away on Tuesday morning.

She underwent heart surgery in November and made a full recovery, her son Adam Jones said.

She was admitted to the intensive care unit at Morningside Clinic with breathing difficulties on Friday last week and was found to have a lung infection.

"Her body did not respond positively to treatment and it was downhill from there," her son said.

The Gauteng economic development department offered its condolences to Jones' family and friends on Tuesday.

Gauteng MEC for finance and economic affairs Paul Mashatile said Jones had contributed immensely towards promoting fair business practices and protecting consumer rights.

She was born in London and came to South Africa more than 20 years ago, started off as a food journalist, but soon moved into consumerism. She was a great mother with amazing drive and passion for everything she did, Adam said.

While the rest of the world saw her tough image, her family got to see her warmth.

Jones was best known to the South African public for her fight for consumer rights on the SABC3 TV programme Fair Deal.

The Direct Marketing Association gave her a special award in 2002, acknowledging that while taking part in infomercials, she had retained her independence as a consumer champion.

She also received a Trade and Industry Department award last year for consumer champions.

At the time, she chaired the short-term insurance ombudsman board of directors, was a member of the long-term insurance ombudsman council, and a member of an advisory committee to government on short-term insurance.

She also served as vice-chairman of the Financial Services Board consumer advisory panel and the credit information ombudsman's council, and as a member of the motor industry ombudsman's council, according to the department's website.

Jones was still there for the public. She joined Talk Radio 702 in 1998, where she presented the consumer, food, wine, books and motoring programme Isabel Jones Live.

Her funeral will be held at St Michael's Anglican Church in Bryanston at 10.30am tomorrow.