The SA Rooibos Council (SARC) on Friday defended one of its members against allegations of wrongdoing after the Competition Commission accused the company of abusing its market dominance.
“Rooibos Ltd is a member of good standing with SARC and has not been in contravention of the code of conduct at any time in the past‚” the SARC said in a statement.
“As the matter between Rooibos Ltd and the Competition Commission is currently sub judice‚ SARC is prohibited from entering into any discussion regarding these allegations.”
The commission said earlier this month it had referred Rooibos Limited to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution on charges “relating to abuse of dominance by inducing rooibos tea farmers not to deal with rooibos tea processors it competes with”.
The commission said it had received a complaint from a processor of rooibos tea in 2015.
“The Commission is concerned of Rooibos Limited’s ongoing anti-competitive conduct‚ particularly as this hampers the growth of the agro-processing industry in South Africa. Dominant firms have a special responsibility to ensure they do not stifle competition‚” deputy commissioner Hardin Ratshisusu said in a statement.