Johannesburg – The Competition Commission on Tuesday said that the Dis-Chem Group and three other companies currently answering to allegations of price inflation could face penalties of up to 10% of their turnover.
Dis-Chem allegedly hiked the price of surgical masks by between 43% and 261%.
The retail group has denied that it hiked prices and has accused the commission of making it a scapegoat.
In a joint virtual meeting of Parliament’s Trade and Industry committees, the commission said it was busy reaching settlement agreements with 35 firms, while 13 settlements valued at R12.8 million had so far been confirmed by the Competition Tribunal.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Dean Macpherson asked the commission about Dis-Chem’s accusation that it was being used as a scapegoat, the Competition Commission’s chief economist, James Hodge, said this was not the case.
“We have an obligation to enforce the Act. All the major retailers, including Dis-Chem, were engaged in fact prior to the regulations coming into effect. And as part of that advocacy effort, the commission continued to engage with these retailers to highlight the risks to them, including where store managers and individual stores may have been opportunistic,” said Hodge.