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Commission banging wrong drum

2006-05-22 12:10

John Oxley

The commission has also decided the reason is because the government is charging too much in import duties. Hallelujah!

Anybody who reads Wheels24 regularly will know we came to that conclusion a long, long time ago.

The difference was that we didn't waste stacks of government money to find out. A little bit of on-line research and background knowledge of the workings of the motor industry in SA was all it took.

What I want to know is why is the Competitions Commission involving itself in this thing at all?

It has previously concluded that there's no collusion within the motor industry to maintain prices, which to me is the extent of its portfolio.

Trying to get high profile publicity, perhaps?

Or maybe it doesn't want to tackle the really difficult issues, such as collusion or monopolistic behaviour which results in high bank charges, high cellphone charges, and high Internet charges, to name but a few.

Only Trevor Manuel and his men at the Department of Finance can bring duties down, and that has to be done in conjunction with the Motor Industry Development Programme through talks with the motor industry and the Department of Trade and Industries.

But the government is, I believe, being very careful about what it does to upset the MIDP, because changes to the programme could easily result in export losses, which in turn will mean job losses, and neither would be good news for South Africa.

So, if we're going to have action which is going to lead to meaningful change in car prices, let's have the right players involved.

The Competitions Commission seems to be banging somebody else's drum!

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