Price-fixing hurting South Africans - Patel

Minister Ebrahim Patel says it is critical to root out the deep and pervasive habits of price collusion.

FILE: Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel says price-fixing is pushing thousands of South Africans below the poverty-line.

He's delivered the key note address at the 10th Annual Competition Law, Economics and Policy conference in Cape Town this morning.

Local and international delegates have gathered to discuss the impact of competition policy on economic growth.

Minister Patel says it is critical to "shake out, root and branch the deep and pervasive habits" of price collusion.

"Two hundred thousand people stood to be lifted above the poverty line by tackling cartels over charges."

The Competition Commission's Tembinkosi Bonakele says there's a rampant culture of collusion.

"I am now a believer that the fines, at least at the level that we have them, are not enough."

Both have expressed satisfaction with the promulgation of a law that criminalises cartels this year, although no one has been jailed for price-fixing yet.