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Tue Dec 06 02:47:34 SAST 2016

Cosatu claims maize price being manipulated

TMG Digital | 2016-01-19 16:10:14.0
Kernels of corn. File photo.
Image by: VINCENT KESSLER / REUTERS

Cosatu says it is concerned that traders are using the drought to manipulate maize price increases.

It charged on Tuesday that the cost and supply of maize was “very different to that being presented by the media”.

“The media reports that maize prices are rising with amounts that only affect a small quantum of maize sold. The amount of maize sold is within the amount that is available in South Africa in spite of the drought.

“It would seem that traders are manipulating the price of maize‚ where it is being bought and sold‚” Cosatu said.

It added that this had a huge impact on poor communities who were dependent on maize as a basic food item.

“This increase has a knock on effect on other prices as it is an important input into meat production etc.”

The union called for an investigation into the pricing of maize‚ claiming this was clearly being manipulated by traders who were buying and selling among themselves.

“There can be no other reason that justifies an increase of R150 per ton when all other factors driving cost remain the same except local purchases of 70‚000 tons.

“Cosatu wants the trading of maize to be made public so we can follow the pricing and see who is driving price increases through purchases. These purchases should be publicly available‚” the union said.

It called on the Competition Commission to investigate the pricing model of maize and the prices on the futures exchange SAFEX and the JSE.

“We also want a comprehensive investigation done into the demand and supply of maize in South Africa‚ in light of the drought. We believe the government should intervene into the supply and pricing of maize given its central role in food security and hunger alleviation.

“Cosatu want the investigation concluded as a matter of urgency and the perpetrators to be jailed for undermining South Africans’ food security through price manipulation.”

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