PPE UPDATE: The reality of the trade in face masks is broken down in this exceptional investigative article by amaBhungane in an article entitled "Where did all the masks go?" Some snippets from the article:
"The maximum price payable for N95 masks is R37.80 each.
For medical masks it is R10.22
and for surgical masks R12.48" - National Treasury's price list applying to the public sector.
"Private hospital group Mediclinic told amaBhungane that it saw some suppliers inflate prices to 20 times normal levels before negotiations brought them back down." 3.
"The Competition Commission has received 1 354 complaints related to price gouging since the beginning of the state of disaster on 17 March.
Of these, 164 complaints related to masks." 4.
"Babelegi Workwear Overall Manufacturers & Industrial Supplies in Centurion hiked the price of facial masks from R41 to R500 per box.
Hennox Supplies and Sicuro Safety hiked prices for FFP1 masks tenfold.
FFP1 masks are a lower grade mask not suited for medical use.
Dischem stores hiked prices for surgical masks between 46% and 261%.
National Consumer Commission has referred more cases to the Competition Tribunal and dozens of investigations are ongoing." 5.
"Price increases have been underpinned by the instantaneous rise of a new cohort of traders - mask dealers who never previously had anything to do with the industry.
The commission noted the rise of "opportunistic trading through various platforms, such as existing retail channels, direct sales to the public or online platforms of items that were not previously traded with huge mark-ups".
"Companies that have never had anything to do with PPE have suddenly changed course to become intermediaries for local and foreign producers." Read the entire article with infographics at this link: https://amabhungane.org/stories/where-did-all-the-masks-go/ *With thanks to the investigative journalists at amaBhungane.