IOL 20 March 2020

Durban – Wealthy eThekwini businessman Vivian Reddy has warned that some of his counterparts are being unscrupulous by overcharging poverty-stricken people who are in desperate need of vital products to protect themselves from the killer Covid-19. 

The Edison Power Group boss issued the warning on Thursday at a function held in Durban as he was handing over R2.5 million for the provincial government to distribute sanitary towels to young girls in the informal settlements and rural villages of KwaZulu-Natal. 

“It is absolutely unethical to be charging 400% and 500%. People are selling these (sanitisers) for R100 when it is only R5 a bottle,” he said. 

He said he had informed Minister of Cooperative Governance Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma about “unethical” businesses who were “massively” profiteering by overpricing the hygiene products.  

“At a time of crisis like this, businesses should be selling at cost and those businesses that can afford should be donating these products to the informal settlements and other vulnerable groups, [but] people are being exploited,” he said. 

Premier Sihle Zikalala also lashed out at the “unscrupulous” businesses. 

He said it was uncalled for business to be opportunistic by making more income through coronavirus disasters. He said they were being driven by greediness, which “our country does not deserve.” 

“It embarrasses us to see big companies beginning to charge us more and more. 

“In fact they are not even tripling the price for sanitisers, they are making it worse and difficult for poor people to get sanitisers because they have escalated the price to exorbitant fees that could not be afforded by the poor.

“What we normally buy for R10 costs today R80 or above just because it is in demand,” he said. 

He said during such difficult times the country should stand together “in solidarity.” 

“We should ensure that we lend support to each other to overcome the crisis we see. 

“We are facing a crisis and one person cannot benefit and over benefit from the crisis that is being experienced by the world,” said Zikalala. 

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