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Public hearings into grocery retail sector under way in Pretoria

By Sipho Mabena | 2017-06-05 14:29:42.0

The Competition Commission has begun the Pretoria leg of its public hearings for the inquiry into the South African grocery retail sector.

Industry leaders will submit presentations to the inquiry over the next three days before moving on to its next leg in Johannesburg‚ which will run from Thursday to Friday.

The hearings will then move to KwaZulu-Natal‚ with hearings scheduled for July 3-7.

The inquiry began in November 2015. Public hearings have been completed in the Western Cape.

The commission says it has reason to believe there are features within the sector that may prevent‚ distort or restrict competition in contravention of the Competition Act.

It is looking into four specific objectives:

•The impact (negative and positive effects) of the entry of national supermarket chains into townships‚ peri-urban areas‚ rural areas and the informal economy;

•The impact of long term exclusive lease agreements and the role of financiers on competition in the grocery retail sector;

•The impact of regulations and by-laws on competition in the grocery retail sector;

•The impact on competition of buyer groups and the buyer power of purchasers of fast-moving consumer goods in the grocery retail sector.

Panel member Lulama Mtanga said the objectives were a starting point for the inquiry and served as a guide for the submissions of stakeholders.

She said the commission had been on an extensive information-gathering drive‚ through stakeholder-engagement exercises as well as site visits‚ in preparation for the inquiry.