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Companies hiking prices will be charged criminally, warns Patel

The Competition Commission is currently investigating nearly 500 cases, which also include possible price collusion during the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE: Government has warned retailers against hiking their prices during the lockdown. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said the competition commission has received over 500 complaints against companies suspected of hiking prices during the lockdown.

The competition commission is currently investigating these cases, which also include possible price collusion during the coronavirus pandemic.
Patel said government is worried about those using this time as a means to make profits unscrupulously.

Government has warned retailers against hiking their prices during the lockdown.

The trade and industry minister said some companies have already being accused of price collusion.

“The Competition Commission and the Consumer Commission are investigating have received just over 500 complaints of excessive pricing or unjustified price increases. These are now being acted on."

He said if found guilty, they will be severely punished.

“We will not hesitate to have these companies charged criminally under the legislation. They will be put in jail if they are found to be guilty.”

The minister said South Africans need to work together towards one goal which is to defeat COVID-19 and within the next three weeks.