Statement by the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs - Nomusa Dube-Ncube on negotiations around the termination of contracts of franchise owners operating Spar.
I wish to report to the people of KwaZulu-Natal that my department is in negotiations with Spar KZN Management with the view of terminating contracts of franchise owners who are 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 KwaZulu-Natal.
Importantly, welcome the fact that the holding company has strict regulations that are aimed at ensuring Spar's positive brand image.
It is for these reasons that we welcome the decisive action by the leadership of Spar in KwaZulu-Natal. The willingness to terminate contracts of the management and control of Spar by franchise owners, is a clear demonstration of patriotism. Undoubtedly, history will judge them positively.
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.
We are calling upon other retailers to follow this example.
Stats released by Stats SA last year indicated that consumers spent R31, 900 per second in retail stores. In addition, the South Africa's 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 R1000 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.
A team of experienced officials from the department are on standby to investigate complaints regarding excessive pricing. Contact details are as follows:-
Email: Consumer.Complaints @kznedtea.gov.za
Whatsup: 082 458 0706 or 082 374 6660