The National Consumer Commission is urging members of the public to report any overpricing following mass looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last week.
The commission says hefty fines and even jail time will be handed down to businesses found guilty of inflating prices of essential items.
Spokesperson Pheth’uo Ntaba says, in particular, they will be monitoring the prices of basic food supplies like bread, milk and emergency products.
“Where we find that suppliers increased their prices unfairly, we will then take that particular supplier to the tribunal whereby we will be praying for a maximum penalty or administrative fine of up to R1 million or up to 10% of that particular supplies annual turnover,” says Ntaba.
Ntaba says in instances where their investigation team reveals that there was an element of crime, they will take the matter up with the National Prosecuting Authority where a supplier or the director might face 12 months imprisonment.
SA Unrest | KZN businesses count their losses following looting:
Last week, South Africa’s largest food manufacturer Tiger Brands said the loss of stock due to looting is estimated at more than R150 million.
The company says vandalism resulted in damage to their rice and snacks operations in KwaZulu-Natal.
The company put out the JSE Sens announcement, stating that the extent of damage to property and infrastructure is still to be determined.
According to Tiger Brands, the loss of profit due to business interruption is still being quantified.
It says the security of supply to consumers is subject to the re-opening of key transport routes and access to the operations of their retail and wholesale partners.
KZN Unrest | Businesses start clean up and evaluation operations: