Pretoria — The Competition Commission has conducted a search and seizure operation at the premises of fresh produce market agents in Cape Town and Durban. This follows a search and seizure operation carried out at premises of nine fruit and veg agents in Pretoria and Johannesburg fresh produce markets on Thursday, 23 March. The raid in Cape Town was conducted on Friday at the premises of Subtropico (Pty) Ltd (Subtropico); RSA Group (Pty) Ltd and Fine Bros (Pty) Ltd (Fine Bros). In Durban, the Commission also conducted a search and seizure operation at premises of RSA Group, Wenpro KZN (Pty) Ltd and Delta Market Agents (Pty) Ltd (Delta).
“The search and seizure operations are part of an investigation into alleged cartel conduct, which was reported by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The agents, which serve as intermediaries between farmers and buyers of freshly produced fruits and vegetables in South Africa, are suspected of being involved in cartel conduct in contravention of the Competition Act.
“The commission has reasonable grounds to believe that the agents entered into an agreement and/or engaged in a concerted practice to fix the price and trading conditions for the supply of freshly produced fruits and vegetables in South Africa.
“This conduct is alleged to be ongoing and is in contravention of the provisions of section 4(1)(b)(i) of the Competition Act,” said the Commission.