Price increase complaints flood commission

Johannesburg – The Competition Commission has been flooded with more than 800 complaints of unfair price
increases during the national Covid-19 lockdown.
It has been reported that in some cases essential items were priced in increments amounting to more than 10 times
the usual price.
On Monday the Competition Commission found that the Centrum pharmacy in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, was
charging excessive prices for face masks during the current Covid-19 lockdown period.
The Competition Tribunal ordered the business to donate hand sanitisers, surgical gloves and face masks valued
at R25 410 to two old age homes in the area.
The pharmacy was also ordered to reduce the prices of its masks, but no percentage or fixed prices were given.
The Competition Commission found that the pharmacy’s average mark-up in respect of facial masks for March
2020 was in excess of 100%, which is significantly above its average mark-up on other non-essential products that
it has maintained over time.
The complaints the commission is handling are mostly on the prices for essential hygienic products such as
sanitisers, surgical masks and facial masks.
Competition Commission spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said there were also increasing complaints on pricing of
basic foods.
“We have also noted a new wave of steadily rising complaints on basic food stuffs like eggs, milk, chicken and
more. These investigations include almost all shapes and types of enterprises, manufacturers, suppliers, spaza,
corner shops, local pharmacies and big retailers,” Ngwema said.

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