Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

Rooibos Limited, which describes itself as the "preferred supplier" of rooibos tea, has been charged with abuse of dominance by the Competition Commission and faces an administrative penalty equal to 10% of its annual turnover. The charge follows a complaint lodged by Khoisan Tea in 2015. The commission said Rooibos Limited has used its dominant position in the market to prevent the expansion of its rivals. Rooibos Limited is the largest processor of rooibos tea in SA, which is the only natural source of rooibos tea. An estimated 15-million kilogrammes of rooibos tea is sold annually with a retail value of R1.5bn. Rooibos Limited, which was previously the Rooibos Tea Control Board, controls about 70% of that market. On Monday Deputy Competition Commissioner Hardin Ratshisusu noted: "Dominant firms have a special responsibility to ensure they do not stifle competition." He said the commission was concerned about Rooibos Limited’s ongoing anticompetitive conduct, "particularly as this...

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