The Competition Commission has referred its first case of alleged inflated pricing of essential goods to the Competition Tribunal.
The case was filed by complainants on March 24 and the tribunal intends to hear the matter on April 24.
Since Covid-19 was declared a national disaster by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the commission has received hundreds of complaints related to excessive price increases allegedly imposed by retailers from large to small across the country.
The first case is against Babelegi Workwear Overall Manufacturers & Industrial Supplies for alleged price gouging for facial masks.
The commission, in an investigation, found that Babelegi had increased its prices of facial masks from R41 to R500 a box, equating to a mark-up in excess of 500% between January 31 and March 5.
Additionally, Babelegi’s prices for facial masks increased by at least 888% when comparing the prices charged on December 9 last year to prices charged on March 5, the commission noted.
Babelegi’s supplier is also under investigation for alleged excessive pricing.
A number of other alleged cases are still under investigation by the commission.