Trade and Industry Minister, Ebrahim Patel, says a toll-free hotline has been established to report individuals or companies that hike the prices of products such as facemasks, gloves and hand sanitisers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Competition Commission is investigating 11 companies for heavily increasing the prices of items.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a three-week national lockdown, starting at midnight on Thursday, to help stem the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

New regulations 

Patel signed new regulations that will allow commercial banks and shopping mall owners to help financially distressed businesses amid the devastating impact of the coronavirus.

He said the coordination will allow banks to share information and come up with payment holidays and debt relief for the affected parties.

He added that the coordination of mall owners will help to avert evictions.

“I spoke early about the measures we took in respect of the finance sector. We will publish today special government gazette to enable shopping mall owners to address payment … ensure shops whose income will be falling during the lockdown have necessary flexibility and space.”

The infographic below gives more information about the 21-day lockdown: