Investigation into the impact of big retailers on township economy

On Monday, the Competition Commission’s grocery retail market inquiry began as part of an ongoing investigation into reports of unfair competition practices within the sector.

Earlier this year, global player Massmart lodged a complaint with the commission with allegations that giants in the retail sector are blocking rivals from accessing shopping malls.

Sipho Ngwema, spokesperson for the Competition Commission spoke to Afternoon Drive host, Redi Tlhabi saying the commission has been observing conducts that sought the potential to distort and lessen competition.

He says they now analysing both positive and negative impacts of the entry of big retailers in the township.

We are very concerned about certain clauses in those contracts.

Sipho Ngwema, spokesperson, Competition Commission

We are looking at the regulations and by-laws that affect trading in the townships and affect small businesses.

Sipho Ngwema, spokesperson, Competition Commission

Read: Competition commission receives more complaints over uniform price fixing

Ngwema adds that they are also investigating the impact of bulk purchases as this has often led to violence in the townships particularly. Ngwema tells Tlhabi that there have been positive attributes with big retailers owning space in the townships.

We've also heard stories of business that have had to be demolished forcefully to make way for the big retailers.

Sipho Ngwema, spokesperson, Competition Commission

Ngwema goes on to say that their main objective is to ensure healthy competition between retailers while sustaining the survival of the smaller retailers.

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