For the first time in South African history, shoppers and small shop owners will have a voice.
A first of its kind in the country, the Grocery Retail Market Inquiry invited the public to voice their opinions and concerns with the country’s retail sector.
In a press conference held in Pretoria on Tuesday, the chairperson of the inquiry, Professor Halton Cheadle, welcomed written submissions with the details available on the Commissions website.
“The panel would like to specifically invite consumers and spaza shops, general dealers, independent supermarkets and all other small grocery retailers to make submissions on the issues set out in the draft Statement of Issues,” says Cheadle.
Cheadler says these public submissions will help them understand the dynamics inside the retail sector. One of the issues that the inquiry is looking at are the competition elements involved in the sector.
Cheadler says the inquiry also looks at the question of foreign owned and locally owned small “spaza” shops in South Africa among other issues.
“What happens is that in some shopping malls the financiers and the land owners enter into exclusive leases with the national supermarkets which has the effect of preventing other retailers and small retailers from competing,” says Cheadler.
Cheadler says the inquiry will also take a close look at the impact national supermarket chains coming into the previously disadvantage areas have on local “spaza” shops and small retailers.
The inquiry is expected to be completed by May 29.