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COVID-19: SAHRC to meet with Competition Commission over inflation of prices

Several companies have been nabbed by the competition watchdog, which has taken a tough stance against businesses seeking to benefit unduly from the public health crisis.

Competition Commission commissioner Thembinkosi Bonakele. Picture: @CompComSA/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is expected to meet on Friday with the Competition Commission to probe potential price gouging relating to essential items during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several companies have been nabbed by the competition watchdog, which has taken a tough stance against businesses seeking to benefit unduly from the public health crisis.

The SAHRC said the probe would look at companies operating both within the state and those working privately.

The commission is hoping its constitutionally enshrined mandate to investigate the conduct of the state and non-state players would assist in efforts aimed at nabbing the culprits.

The SAHRC also announced that it would launch its own investigation looking into allegations of tender irregularities in the procurement processes of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Gauteng.

“Corruption is one of the areas that the commission has identified as a priority because corruption takes away the scarce resources that are set aside from public funds, each year, for the realisation of the rights in the Bill of Rights, including rights to access sufficient food and water, housing, education, health care services, and social security. When these resources are stolen the corruption, therefore, impacts quite negatively on the rights of especially the poor and marginalised,” the commission said in a statement on Thursday.

The Competition Commission has already worked to secure the toughest sanctions against a string of companies hiking prices of PPE since the start of the lockdown.

But concerns have been raised that not enough businesses have been brought to book.

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