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Cosatu calls for maize price-fix probe

Jan 20 2016 12:19
Dane McDonald

Cape Town – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Tuesday called for a Competition Commission investigation into the alleged price fixing of maize.

Cosatu provincial secretary in the Western Cape Tony Ehrenreich told Fin24 that the price of maize was rising dramatically “overnight” and that the amount of trading was not justified.

“Cosatu is concerned that traders are using the drought to manipulate maize price increases,” he said in a statement.

Ehrenreich said that the amount of maize sold was within the amount available in South Africa in spite of the drought.

Reuters reported that the price for South Africa's white maize March contract climbed 2.4% to a record high of R5 106 a tonne as concerns over the drought weighed.

The trade union federation has called for a “comprehensive” investigation into the pricing and demand and supply of maize in South Africa, while accusing traders of price manipulation and “buying and selling among themselves”.

“There can be no other reason that justifies an increase of R150 per ton when all other factors driving cost remain the same except local purchases of 70 000 tons,” Ehrenreich said.

“Cosatu wants the trading of maize to be made public so we can follow the pricing and see who is driving price increases through purchases. These purchases should be publicly available."

“We believe the government should intervene in the supply and pricing of maize given its central role in food security and hunger alleviation,” the union said.

Grain SA CEO Jannie de Villiers told reporters on January 15 that SA would need at least R20bn to import the 5 to 6 million tons of maize needed to mitigate the effects the drought has had on crop production in the country.

cosatu  |  grain sa  |  tony ehrenreich  |  drought  |  agribusiness  |  maize
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