Parliament’s portfolio committee on trade and industry has raised concerns about “unscrupulous traders” who have increased the price of bottled water to benefit from the ongoing water crisis in Cape Town.
The Committee will write to to Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, as well as the National Consumer Commissioner, asking for an intervention to freeze the price of bottled water.
In a media statement, chairperson of the committee Joanmariae Fubbs said that given the situation in Cape Town, price increases for bottled water amounted to exploitation: “The current increase in the price of bottled water being charged by some unscrupulous entrepreneurs amounts to exploitation of the poor and vulnerable and does not reflect the spirit of the Constitution.”
She said the minister and the NCC must apply their minds “expeditiously to make sure unfair business practices do not prevail” in Cape Town.
“In principle we are asking for intervention so that something can be done to make sure the regular price of bottled water is not increased without any regard to the pockets of consumers especially the most vulnerable,” said Adrian Williams of the African National Congress (ANC).
Ghalieb Cachalia, from the Democratic Alliance (DA), agreed that “measures should be developed to prevent the poor bearing the brunt of such unfair trading”.
Day Zero, when taps will run dry, has been moved to April 16, from April 12, mainly due to a reduction of releases in agriculture from the dams over the previous week.
To drive the usage of water down even further Capetonians will only be allowed to use 50 litres of water daily per person which will come into effect from Thursday.
– African News Agency (ANA)