What to do if you see price gouging at your local shop

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Dr Jean Bassett of Witkoppen Clinic told the Fourways Review that she had seen a spike in pricing for goods like face masks. Photo: Paul Reichle

FOURWAYS GARDENS – Some items are vital in the fight against Covid-19, but locals have seen an increase in price for them recently. Here’s how you can report price gouging.

Medical gloves, face masks, hand sanitiser and other products used to just be items for sale, but now can make all the difference in the fight against and prevention of the spread of Covid-19.

It is to this end that the Department of Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel had published a list of 22 critical products in March for the National Consumer Commission (NCC) and Competition Commission to monitor in order to ensure that sellers did not hike prices in the face of great demand. So far, 30 retailers are under investigation for price gouging, and local health practitioners have reported seeing the same patterns.

“The clinic is short of masks, and a box of about 50 masks used to cost about R14.50,” explained Dr Jean Bassett, who heads up the Witkoppen Clinic on William Nicol Drive. “Recently I’ve seen the same box of masks for sale at R1 210, and I’ve also seen a single mask for sale at a price of R38.50 each.

“Healthcare workers need this equipment to do their jobs, we don’t have enough and as a non-profit organisation we can’t afford these prices.

“People hiking prices like this are unconscionable and are putting people at risk.”

Bassett did not specifically name the companies which she had observed raising prices to the Fourways Review, but has reported the matter to the correct authorities.

If you see an increase in price of any of the following items at your local store, please contact the NCC call centre to report the matter so that they can investigate.

Critical products:

  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Face masks
  • Disinfectant cleaners
  • qSurgical gloves
  •  Surgical masks
  • qDisinfectant wipes
  • qAntiseptic 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
  • Red meat, chicken and fish (canned, frozen or fresh)
  • Bottled water.

Witkoppen Clinic is also accepting donations of protective personal equipment, as well as food parcels to distribute to the communities that it serves.

Details: National Consumer Commission call centre 0800 014 880.

By: Robyn Kirk

Source: Fourways review