The National Consumer Commission (NCC), working together with the Competition Commission, has started an investigation into accusations of excessive price hikes by 30 retailers from various provinces in the country since the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The NCC is currently investigating 19 retailers, while the Competition Commission investigates 11 retailers.
Investigations into the following 11 companies have started:
- Silver Oaks SuperSpar - Silverlakes, Pretoria East (Gauteng)
- Spar in Platterkloof - Platterkoof (Western Cape)
- North Safety - Paarden Eiland, Western Cape
- Checkers Hyper –Kempton Park (Gauteng)
- National Overalls - Villeria Pretoria (Gauteng)
- Makro - Springfield, Durban (KZN)
- Clicks - Westgate Mall (Gauteng)
- Free State Pharmacy - Bloemfontein (Free State)
- Mopane Pharmacy - Nelspruit (Mpumalanga)
- Sea Side Pharmacy - Table View (Western Cape)
- Pick ‘n Pay in Milnerton - Milnerton (Western Cape)
Also, the NCC will be issuing eight further investigation certificates into four retailers in Gauteng, one in KwaZulu-Natal, two in the North West and one in Limpopo.
Mabuza said these accusations are also against the excessive price of items or goods like face masks and hand sanitizers.
“A fine of up to R1 million or up to 10% of a firm’s annual turnover or even imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months will be imposed to a company/retailer found guilty of price gouging,” Mabuza warned.
Mabuza added that the Commission has also noted with concern panic buying that is currently happening in light of the looming lockdown from Thursday.
“This leads to shortages of basic consumer commodities and overpricing, or price gouging.”
She urged all South Africans to continue monitoring the market and lodge complaints should they notice a sharp price increase.