The Competition Tribunal has found a supplier of hand sanitiser to the South African Police Service (Saps) guilty of excessive pricing amounting to R9.8-million during the Covid-19 pandemic.
BlueCollar Occupational Health, based in Gauteng, supplied the sanitiser in partnership with Atelico Investments, based in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Tribunal described BlueCollar's conduct as "shocking" because it exploited the pricing of hand sanitiser, which was seen as crucial for combatting the spread of the Covid-19 virus during the pandemic. Saps desperately needed hand sanitiser for its members, who had to enforce lockdown restrictions.
BlueCollar overcharged Saps R9.8-million for the bulk supply of 10 000 25-litre containers of hand sanitiser in 2020.
The Tribunal imposed an administrative penalty of R3.55-million on BlueCollar and Atelico "jointly and severally", meaning they bear equal liability. This is the second excessive pricing case successfully prosecuted by the Competition Commission relating to the public procurement process during the pandemic.
In April 2022, another Saps supplier, Tsutsumani Business Enterprises, was found guilty of price gouging in its supply of face masks in 2020. Tsutsumani was fined R3.4-million. The Tsutsumani matter is currently under review before the Competition Appeal Court.