Johannesburg - The Competition Tribunal will hear a
complaint lodged by Rukanani Distributors against Coca-Cola Fortune, the bottling and distribution
company of beverages manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Tribunal said the hearing
would take place from May 10 until May 14.
Rukanani has accused Coca-Cola of actions amounting to a restrictive
vertical practice in contravention of the Competition Act.
Rukanani has also alleged that Coca-Cola was involved in
minimum resale price maintenance, or vertical price-fixing.
The matter was referred to the Competition Commission on
January 28 2008.
The Commission investigated the complaint and decided not to
refer Rukanani's complaint to the Tribunal.
Rukanani referred the complaint directly to the Tribunal on February
Rukanani is a wholesale distributor of liquor, block bricks
and soft drinks in Bela-Bela, Limpopo.
It submitted that in December 2007 it applied to Coca-Cola Fortune
to be a wholesale distributor of beverages supplied by Coca-Cola.
However, Rukanani was allegedly informed that another
wholesale distributor, Iqbal Taladia trading as North West Soft Drinks had offered
to supply it with soft drinks.
Rukanani insisted on being directly supplied by Coca-Cola,
which soon after this accepted its application, appointed it as a distributor
and allocated it an outlet number.
A first order was delivered on December 31 2007 and a second
order on January 4 2008 when another order was placed because of demand.
Rukanani says Coca-Cola failed to deliver the next day - as
was promised - and when Rukanani asked why, it was told the delivery would
cost more than the previous orders.
Rukanani refused to accept the inflated price and informed Coca-Cola
that it wanted to continue with the initial arrangement.
Coca-Cola allegedly replied that there would be no delivery unless
it accepted the new price -- which was the same as that charged by Taladia.
Rukanani said no more deliveries had been made since then. Rukanani
claimed that Coca-Cola's actions contravened the Competition Act.