Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Cambridge Food Jozini: Pandemic or not, the price-gouging continues

A northern KwaZulu-Natal retailer that hiked its maize meal price without a corresponding increase in costs early on in the Covid-19 pandemic is the latest business to be nailed by the Competition Commission for price gouging.

Cambridge Food Jozini, a division of Cambridge Food and a Massmart subsidiary, was fined for hiking the price of its 25kg bags of maize meal from R129.99 to R159.99 during April.

The retailer reached an agreement with the commission last week, in terms of which it agreed to limit the gross profit on its 25kg maize meal for the duration of the state of national disaster. Cambridge Food Jozini also agreed to donate essential goods valued at R24 947 to Siyaphambili Qondile home-based care project 1.

The commission conducted an investigation into Cambridge after receiving complaints about the inflation of maize meal prices in April. It found that the retailer had been selling the staple at a “far lower” price before the lockdown was declared on March 26, but had not been affected by a price increase by the time it hiked its price.

In a statement, the commission said it had concluded 30 investigations to the value of R15.8-million into price gouging since the lockdown began. A total of R5.5-million had been donated to the Solidarity Fund by offenders, while goods valued at R551 000 had been donated to affected communities.

In May, the commission referred its first Covid-19-related cases to the Competition Tribunal, among them a prosecution against Dis-Chem, which was charged for hiking the price of face masks. Dis-Chem was found guilty in May and fined R1.2-million, but announced its intention to appeal the ruling.

The KwaZulu-Natal department of economic development conducted raids on retailers around the province in the early part of the lockdown to take action over claims of big hikes in the price of food and Covid-19 essentials. 

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
Storyteller.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Life Esidimeni inquest postponed until August 30

The lawyer for the bereaved families argued that Dr Makgabo Manamela’s requests for postponements have a negative impact on the families of the deceased who seek closure

RECAP: Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

More top stories

ANC Integrity Committee recommends Zweli Mkhize step aside

ANC sources say the report by the committee will be tabled at the next national executive committee meeting

Rivals agree on new measures to end Cape Town taxi...

But key route remains closed and affected areas halt issuing of operating licences

Magashule claims his suspension of Ramaphosa was lawful

In his application for leave to appeal the high court judgment, Magashule argues that the court erred in holding that Ramaphosa’s suspension was not lawful without giving any explanation for that conclusion

Life Esidimeni inquest postponed until August 30

The lawyer for the bereaved families argued that Dr Makgabo Manamela’s requests for postponements have a negative impact on the families of the deceased who seek closure
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×