The Competition Commission on Wednesday conducted a search and seizure, or dawn raid, operation at the premises of various liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) suppliers in Gauteng and the Western Cape.
The operation formed part of the commission’s investigation into the alleged fixing of the price or deposit fee for gas cylinders and was unrelated to the ongoing market inquiry into the broader LPG industry.
The affected suppliers were African Oxygen, Oryx Oil South Africa and EasiGas, in Gauteng, and KayaGas and Totalgaz Southern Africa, in the Western Cape. The firms were competitors in the market for the supply of LPG and gas cylinders.
The operation was also extended to the offices of the LPG Association of Southern Africa, in Gauteng, as it represented firms active at various levels of the LPG sector.
The commission seized documents and electronic data, which would be analysed, together with other information gathered, to determine whether a contravention of the Competition Act had taken place.
In terms of Section 48 of the Competition Act, the commission was authorised to enter and search premises and seize documents which had a bearing on an investigation. The commission duly obtained warrants authorising it to search the offices of the firms at the High Court of South Africa.
“The commission believes that the information that will be obtained from the operation will enable us to determine whether or not the firms have indeed engaged in collusive conduct.
“However, as part of any investigation, we also wish to urge anyone, be it business or individuals with further information to come forward and assist the commission in concluding this investigation,” Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele said.