A supplier of fresh produce in Kempton Park, Gauteng, has agreed to donate hand sanitisers to the Tembisa Provincial Hospital, after having been accused by the Competition Commission of charging excessive prices for hand sanitisers.
In a consent agreement entered into with the commission, Evergreens Fresh Market has agreed to make the donation to the hospital, but it has not admitted liability – that is, it has not admitted guilt.
“Evergreens Fresh Market enters into this consent agreement to avoid protracted litigation and nothing in this consent agreement should be construed as an admission of liability for the alleged contravention of the [Competition] Act by Evergreens Fresh Market,” the supplier says in a statement.
In terms of the agreement, Evergreens will, besides others, immediately reduce its margin on hand sanitisers and donate hand sanitisers valued at R1 800 to the hospital.
The value of the donation, according to the agreement, is equal to the total amount allegedly “overcharged” for 45 units of hand sanitisers, according to the commission.
The commission found that Evergreens’ average margin in respect of hand sanitisers for March was about 33.4%. The commission said this was not reasonable – adding that it deems, as reasonable, the average margins of hand sanitisers (from a number of retailers) to be between 20% and 25%.
This is the third consent agreement relating to alleged excessive pricing in the context of Covid-19 to be approved as an order of the tribunal. The first two agreements related to face masks and surgical gloves, respectively.