KwaZulu-Natal MEC for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube says her department is in talks with Spar’s KZN management to terminate contracts of franchise owners involved in price-hiking.
“The termination of contracts for the management and control of Spar shops will strengthen our zero-tolerance policy towards price gougers who are using the coronavirus outbreak to sell much-needed food and other products at inflated prices.
“We are aware as the department that there are currently over 900 independently owned Spar stores in the country with hundreds located throughout the corners of KZN,” Dube-Ncube said a statement on Friday.
The MEC welcomed that the holding company have strict regulations that were aimed at ensuring Spar’s brand image.
“It is for these reasons that we welcome the decisive action by the leadership of Spar in KwaZulu-Natal.”
She praised the willingness of the management to terminate contracts of the franchise owners, saying “it was a clear demonstration of patriotism and undoubtedly, history will judge them positively”.
Dube-Ncube called upon other retailers to follow the example.
“We are encouraging the leadership to continue to demonstrate, each day, that they put the interests of ordinary members of society on top of the agenda,” she said.
She highlighted that Stats SA released a report last year that indicated that consumers spent R31,900 per second in retail stores. In addition, the South African retail trade industry contributed to R1 trillion in sales to the local economy.
“Regarding price hiking in various retail shops in the province, we wish to assure the people of KwaZulu-Natal that senior officials from the Consumer Protection Services are currently processing hundreds of complaints.
“We have an enduring partnership with the South African Police Services, the National Consumer Commission, the National Competition Authority and the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa.
“Lastly, we have received thousands of messages from consumers welcoming the arrest of the owner of Longbery Meat Market in Phoenix.
“He was arrested for contravening the Consumer Protection Act Regulations and the Disaster Management Act Regulations.
“If found guilty, the owner will pay R1,000,000 fine or up to 10% of his business’s annual turnover. In addition, there is a possibility of imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months,” she concluded.