Seven meat suppliers in three provinces - whose products are available in upmarket restaurants‚ a fast food chain and even Abu Dhabi - are under investigation for suspicion of price fixing in South Africa.
"The Commission is this morning conducting simultaneous search and seizure operations at 13 premises belonging to seven meat suppliers in three provinces‚ as part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged fixing of prices and trading conditions‚" it said in a statement.
The Commission is probing alleged contraventions of the Competition Act by Karan Beef‚ Sparta Foods‚ Chalmar Beef‚ Beefmaster Kimberley‚ Morgan Beef‚ Beefcor and Fabvleis trading as Midland Meat (Fabvleis).
The companies - operating from Gauteng‚ the Free State and Northern Cape - are meat suppliers which are also known as feedlots. They purchase weaner calves from farmers in order to bulk feed them in preparation for slaughtering in the production of beef. They also sell beef to wholesale and retail customers‚ the Commission explained.
"The meat suppliers are alleged to have entered into an agreement and/or engaged in concerted practices to fix the prices and trading conditions when purchasing weaner calves from farmers. They are also alleged to have an agreement to fix the prices at which they sell meat to wholesale and retail customers."
The search and seizure operations were conducted "with due regard to the rights of all the affected persons"‚ the commission said‚ adding it had obtained search and seizure warrants from the High Court Gauteng Division in Pretoria; the Northern Cape Division in Kimberley; and the Free State Division in Bloemfontein in terms of section 46 of the Competition Act.