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Police face mask supplier fined R3.4m for excessive pricing

Orrin Singh Reporter
A Johannesburg company has been fined R3.4m for overpricing 3-ply surgical masks in its supply to the police service in April 2020
A Johannesburg company has been fined R3.4m for overpricing 3-ply surgical masks in its supply to the police service in April 2020
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

A Johannesburg-based company has been found guilty of excessive pricing when supplying face masks to the police service during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020. 

Tsutsumani Business Enterprises has been ordered to pay a R3.4m administrative penalty after being found guilty by the Competition Tribunal for charging the police service excessive prices for the urgent supply of 500,000 face masks.

In its order, the Tribunal has found Tsutsumani contravened the Competition Act  during from April 5 to 29 2020.

“Tsutsumani was responding to a request for quote issued by the police for the urgent procurement of personal protective equipment from suppliers. This was necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic and national state of disaster which required all police staff to wear masks. The service required nine million masks per month for use by its staff in the frontline of combating the coronavirus during the lockdown.”

In September 2020 the Competition Commission said it was “concerned” the funding arrangement between the parties contributed to the mark-up. 

“The police service procured 500,000 surgical face masks from Tsutsumani at R32.50 per mask. Tsutsumani earned a gross mark-up of 87% on this transaction, which the commission deems excessive.”

Tsutsumani has been ordered to pay an administrative penalty of R3,441,689.10 within 30 business days.

TimesLIVE


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