The Competition Commission of South Africa has found a third company guilty of price gauging when they supplied hand sanitisers to the South African Police.
The commission has found the company Red Roses Africa to have charged excessive prices for the supply of 25-litre containers of hand sanitiser to the South African Police Service during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Red Roses Africa supplied SAPS with a total of 90,000 25-liter containers of hand sanitisers. The supplier charged R4 700 per 25-litre container with a gross markup of 236%.
The commission’s investigations found the price Red Roses charged SAPS during the national state of disaster is excessive and contravenes section 8(1)(a) of the Competition Act, read with Regulation 4 of the Consumer Protection Regulations and National Disaster Management Regulations and Directions.
“The excessive price was exploitative and directed at taking advantage of the SAPS at a time when PPEs, and particularly hand sanitisers, were in high demand,”
Commissioner Doris Tshepe explained.
The matter has been referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution.
In April, South Africa's antitrust regulator also fined BlueCollar and Ateltico 3.5 million rand ($196,000) for overpricing sanitizers during the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2022, another SAPS supplier, Tsutsumani, was found guilty of price gouging in its supply of face masks in 2020. Tsutsumani was fined R3.4 million. The Tsutsumani matter is currently under review before the Competition Appeal Court.