Today, 14 October 2015, the Commission is conducting a search and seizure (dawn raid) operation at the premises of African Oxygen Limited, Oryx Oil South Africa (Pty) Ltd, EasiGas (Pty) Ltd and the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety Association of Southern Africa (LPG Association) in Gauteng and KayaGas (Pty) Ltd as well as Totalgaz Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd in the Western Cape.
The five firms are competitors in the market for the supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and gas cylinders. The LPG Association is an association of firms which are active at various levels of the LPG sector.
The Commission has an ongoing market inquiry into the broad LPG sector. This dawn raid operation forms part of the Commission’s investigation into alleged fixing of the price or deposit fee for gas cylinders, and is unrelated to the ongoing market inquiry.
The Commission is conducting the dawn raid operation with due regard to the rights of the firms and all affected persons. During the search the Commission will seize documents and electronic data, which will be analysed together with other information gathered to determine whether a contravention of the Competition Act has taken place.
In terms of section 48 of the Competition Act, the Commission is authorised to enter and search premises and seize documents which have a bearing on an investigation. The Commission duly obtained warrants authorising it to search the offices of the firms at the High Courts of South Africa, namely: Gauteng Division in Pretoria and Western Cape Division in Cape Town.
Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele said, “The Commission believes that the information that will be obtained from today’s operation will enable the Commission 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.”