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South Africa Competition Commission Tackles COVID Unfair Pricing

 |  April 7, 2020

If companies hike the price of basic food items, medical, and hygiene supplies or stockpile goods, they could be liable to a fine of up to 1 million rand (US$54,691.43) or 10% of their annual turnover — or jail time of up to 12 months.

Trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel has announced that the government is cracking the whip over price manipulation, a dramatic rise in the cost of basic goods and anticompetitive behaviour amid the declaration of a national disaster in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing the media, Patel said the new regulations were to ensure there were no unjustified price hikes or stockpiling of goods. “We are doing this to protect consumers and to ensure fairness and promote social solidarity in this period,” he said.

Since the government announced a state of national disaster, prices of basic food items and hygiene products have increased as many consumers rushed to stockpile in anticipation of a total lockdown.

“I want to point out that breaches of the regulations can have serious consequences,” said Patel.

Full Content: African Antitrust

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