Robben Island. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Robben Island. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Five vessel owners who ferry passengers between the Robben Island Museum and the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town have been referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution on charges of price fixing and collusive tendering.

This follows an investigation by the Competition Commission‚ after it received a complaint from the Robben Island Museum pertaining to the five.

They are: Thembekile Maritime Services; Silverbuckle Trade 21 CC, trading as Yacoob Yatch; Nauticat Charters; Ferry Charters; and Tigger 2 Charters.

The respondents allegedly met in September 2015 at the Cape Town Fish Market restaurant to discuss prices they would charge the museum after a tender was issued. The tender was for bidders to be listed on the museum’s database as a preferred service provider for a year.

The commission’s investigation also found that:

Thembekile and Nauticat Charters increased their prices to R18,000 a trip for 140 passengers; Ferry Charters did not alter their prices as it was already charging R18,000 a trip for 140 passengers and this resulted in all three quoting the same price of R18,000 for a trip for 140 passengers; and Silverbuckle and Tigger 2 Charters also increased their prices‚ but not to the same extent as that of the other respondents as their vessels are smaller.

"This conduct constitutes price fixing and collusive tendering in contravention of the Competition Act and the commission has referred the complaint to the tribunal for adjudication‚" the commission said.

"The commission is seeking an order from the tribunal declaring that the five respondents have contravened the Competition Act and that they are liable to pay an administrative penalty equal to 10% of their annual turnover."

TMG Digital

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