Gauteng warns against 'unconscionable' price hikes amidst food shortage fears after unrest
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Pretoria - The Gauteng department of economic development, through the Gauteng office of consumer affairs, has warned suppliers not to inflate prices of essential items, amidst reports of food shortages following the widespread riots and vandalism.
Chief director for consumer affairs and business compliance, Advocate Fati Manamela says both Sections 40 and 48 of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) make it prohibited conduct for a supplier to increase their prices unconscionably.
“Section 48 states that a supplier must not offer to supply, supply or enter into an agreement to supply goods and services at a price that is unfair or unconscionable. Unfair, unreasonable or unjust pricing [price gouging] is when a supplier increases prices of goods or services that do not correspond to or are not equivalent to the increase of providing that service or good,” said Manamela.
He said the goods and services in question are those which relate to basic food and consumer items, emergency products and services, medical and hygiene supplies as well as emergency clean-up products and services.
A supplier or person contravening these Regulations could be fined up to R1 million, a fine of up to 10 percent of a firm’s annual turnover, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months.
Manamela said consumers are encouraged to monitor the market and report any suspicious, unfair price increases of these goods and services.
“The Gauteng office of consumer affairs will continue with its efforts of implementing the provisions of the CPA by reducing and ameliorating any disadvantages experienced in accessing any supply of goods or services by consumer,” said Manamela.
Consumers in Gauteng Province are encouraged to report instances of what they view as unreasonable price hikes to Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs on email address: [email protected] for processing and referral to the Competition Commission and the National Consumer Commission.
African News Agency (ANA)