Home News Covid-19 price surge: Government shields consumers

Covid-19 price surge: Government shields consumers

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Following the shocking news that South Africa now has 150 confirmed Covid-19 cases, government has announced good news for shoppers who have been battling to buy essential products at inflated prices.

Government has capped price increases for certain goods and services and non-complying retailers and service providers could face hefty fines or even prison sentences. They are also not allowed to increase the net profit margin on a list of goods above the average margin or mark-up in the three months leading to 1 March 2020.

The list includes:

  • toilet paper;
  • hand sanitiser;
  • facial masks;
  • disinfectants and cleaners;
  • surgical gloves;
  • surgical masks;
  • disinfectant wipes;
  • antiseptic liquids;
  • all-purpose cleaners;
  • baby formula;
  • disposable nappies;
  • bleach;
  • cooking oils;
  • wheat flour;
  • rice;
  • maize meal;
  • pasta;
  • sugar;
  • long-life milk;
  • canned and frozen vegetables;
  • canned, frozen and fresh meat, chicken or fish, and
  • bottled water.

Prices for private medical services relating to coronavirus testing, prevention and treatment will also be covered by the new regulations. Companies who do not adhere to this warning, could face fines of up to R1 million or 10% of their turnover, as well as imprisonment for up to a year.

Suppliers also have an obligation to ensure the “equitable distribution” of these goods to consumers and customers, including small businesses, whilst maintaining adequate stocks of goods.

Furthermore, government has noted that fake news was undermining South Africa’s response to the coronavirus. The spreading of coronavirus-related fake news is now considered a criminal offence which could land you in jail.

Staff Reporter
Staff Reporter
Researched and written by our team of writers and editors.
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