The demand for garlic and ginger has shot up amid claims that they can help with Covid-19 symptoms.
The increase in demand has also seen an astronomical growth in the prices of the two food products, a rise in prices which the Competition Commission will now investigate.
The commission’s spokesperson, Siyabulela Makunga, said the commission had noted with concern public outcry regarding the price of garlic and ginger.
The commission appreciates that the demand for garlic and ginger has gone up but it is of the view that the retail prices of these food items had increased astronomically, Makunga said.
“We don’t think that the increased demand in ginger justified a price increase of up to R400 a kilogram,” Makunga said.
The commission has since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic been monitoring food prices, Makunga said.
Makunga added that the commission had also been following up on complaints it has received and with sufficient evidence it is likely to investigate and prosecute cases where it believes the Competition Act has been contravened.
Since March last year, the commission has produced three reports, Makunga also said.
Makunga said the commission calls on the public to report via SMS or WhatsApp acts they believe to restricted conduct of price gouging using this number: 084-743-0000.
Meanwhile, Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe said since medical school did not teach about natural remedies, she is not comfortable with confirming or dismissing claims that garlic and ginger works to clear Covid-related symptoms.
However, Rakumakoe said based on reading from reliable and trusted sources, these food items were good natural immune boosters.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no evidence that eating garlic can protect people from contracting Covid-19.