Cabinet warns on 2010 price hikes

2010-03-11 13:26

CABINET has warned of possible action against businesses unduly inflating their prices ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Cabinet is concerned about the “ill-advised move” by some business establishments to increase their prices ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in anticipation of making “mega-profits”, government spokesman Themba Maseko said today.

Briefing the media following Cabinet’s regular meeting yesterday, he said these moves should be discouraged at all costs, as they had the potential to discourage many soccer fans from attending the tournament.

This would have a negative impact on future tourism in the country.

“Government calls on all South Africans to resist the temptation to unduly inflate their prices during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.”

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk had commissioned a survey to look at the pricing structure in the sector ahead of the cup.

This study would identify the extent of the problem and make recommendations about possible steps that could be taken in this regard.

A report would be submitted to Cabinet shortly, Maseko said.

Speaking at the same briefing, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies spelled out Cabinet’s attitude on business inflating prices in anticipation of the event.

“We’re asking people to think long-term. If there are cases of price collusion by groups that are contrary to the Competition Act, rest assured we will be following up on those,” he said.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told journalists the message was a simple one.

“All we’re saying to South Africans is: Be reasonable, be sensitive to the visitors who are coming to this country, don’t try and do what the rest of the world has done and engage in short-term gain and you have long-term losses.

“That’s the usual business practices . . . that gets us into trouble. If we want 2010 to be a greater success . . . can we all, as South Africans, be clear that we’re going to be friendly, welcoming people, hospitable, and charge a fair price.

“Sending a signal that says we’re trying to exploit people is not the right signal at this point in time, when you want foreigners to actually come to this country. It’s a simple message,” he said.

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