Fruit and veg supplier to donate groceries to safe house after overpricing ginger

By Chevon Booysen Time of article published Jul 23, 2021

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Cape Town - After reaching a consent agreement for overpricing raw ginger, the Competition Tribunal ordered that Fruit Stop – a fruit and vegetable supplier – would donate essential goods to the value of about R23 000 to a community safe house.

In a statement, the Tribunal confirmed the consent agreement between the Competition Commission and Fruit Stop CC, after the Commission found that a Fruit Stop branch in Wonderboom, Pretoria, between April and June 2020, charged excessive prices for raw ginger – a basic food item protected under the Consumer Protection Regulations.

Fruit Stop, however, disputed that they had charged excessive prices for the raw ginger but was willing to resolve the matter by concluding the consent agreement and agreed to donate fruit, vegetables and groceries to the value of R23 110 to Amadea Safe House, a community-based organisation, over a three-month period.

They had also resolved to reduce the gross profit margin charged in respect of raw ginger to an agreed maximum percentage for the duration of the national state of disaster; to immediately desist from the pricing conduct as described in the consent agreement; and to develop, implement and monitor a competition law compliance programme.

In a statement, the Tribunal said the commission investigated Fruit Stop’s alleged conduct after information was received.

“Based on mark-ups added and profit margins earned from the sale of raw ginger, the commission found that Fruit Stop made excess profits of R23 110 between April 2020 and June 2020. The Commission found that Fruit Stop’s conduct of overcharging for raw ginger may constitute a contravention,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the commission filed a referral with the Competition Tribunal for prosecution against NGK Spark Plug Company Limited (NGK Limited), together with its South African subsidiary, NGK SA, for their involvement in price-fixing, market division and collusive tendering in respect of spark plugs to Subaru vehicles.

The commission now seeks an order from the Tribunal to levy an administrative penalty equivalent to 10% of the annual turnover of either NGK Limited or NGK SA.

“The commission investigated NGK and NGK SA as part of its investigation of 63 automotive components manufacturers alleged to have colluded on 310 separate instances involving 92 automotive components. The commission’s investigation against NGK found that, from at least 2008, NGK colluded with Denso when responding to a Request for Quotation issued by Fuji Heavy Industries for the supply of spark plugs for AR18 engine installed in its Subaru Impreza, Subaru Forrester and Subaru Legacy vehicles sold in South Africa, in contravention (of the Competition Act),” the statement read.

Cape Times

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