Competition Commision explains Shorprite potatoes cheating case

Dear Sir, Madam

Reference is made to the above subject matter and to an article posted by Mwansa on 31st January, 2013. With the heading “SHOPRITE CHECKERS DECEIVING CONSUMERS OVER IMPORTED POTATOES”.

Firstly, the Commission is Delighted that members of the public are getting more acquainted with their rights as consumers as envisaged in the Competition and Consumer Protection Act No. 24 of 2010 (“the Act”) and are able to note unfair trading practices on the market.

The Commission however would like to state that it dealt with this issue through a complaint it received. From the complaint, it was reported that  Freshmark Africa Zambia Ltd ( a subsidiary company of Shoprite checkers)  are supplied with potatoes that are grown in Zambia by Buya Bamba potato growers. These potatoes are then packaged in bags that are imported from South Africa and bearing the label “A PRODUCT OF SOUTH AFRICA” and sold in all shoprite outlets thereby misleading consumers that the potatoes are from South Africa.

The Commission immediately commenced investigations into the allegation and held a meeting with the Respondent company. The Respondent company were warned  to desist from the alleged conduct which is a clear violation of sections 45(a), 46(1) and 47(b)(iii) of the CCP Act No. 24 of 2010. The Respondent company admitted to the  allegation but made mention that it was in the process of rebranding packages for these potatoes and other products bought locally so that they truly reflect the place of origin of the products (being Zambia).

The Respondent company However asked that the Commission allows them until March 2013 to effectively carryout the rebranding process.

The Commission directed the Respondent company to place stickers on the current potatoes being sold which should be labeled “A PRODUCE OF ZAMBIA” as an interim measure so as to avoid the continuance of the misrepresentation. It was added that the stickers be put as soon as possible as the re-branding process continues.

It is as a result of the aforementioned that Shoprite checkers is currently selling the potatoes with   stickers  labeled  “A PRODUCE OF ZAMBIA”. The Potatoes are Zambian and not South African as is perceived.

The Commission hopes that this email can clear the position so that there are no mixed views regarding the correct place of origin of these potatoes. The Commission also urges the members of the public to continue alerting the Commission on any violations of the CCPA No. 24 of 2010.

Kindly acknowledge safe receipt of email avail the same to Mwansa in case he wishes to get  full details of the complaint.

You may also get in touch with us using the number hereunder.

Kind regards,

Leya Mwanza(Ms)

Legal Assistant

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

4th Floor, Main Post Office Bldg

P.O Box 34919

LUSAKA

Tel: 222787

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