In what passes for a good news story in these difficult times, and in the interest of closing a loop that we started drawing the better part of a decade ago in these pages, we’re pleased to report that Premier Milling has reached a settlement with the Competition Commission in the price-fixing case that began with an investigation opened in 2007 and eventually embroiled 17 companies, including Tiger Brands, Pioneer Foods, Foodcorp, Pride Milling, and Progress Milling, and independent outfits Bothaville Milling, Godrich Milling, TWK Milling, Keystone Milling, Westra Milling, Carolina Mills, Brenner Mills, Paramount Mills, NTK Milling, Kalel Mills and Blinkwater Mills. All have since settled with the Commission, from Tiger Brands which paid a R500m fine in 2010, to Premier, which as a whistle-blower paid zip, nada, and niks. The businesses, you may recall, were agreeing on prices and sharing the timing of price increases with each other between 1999 and 2007, to the detriment of South Africa’s consumers.
Comment: A powerful institution, functioning as it should in the protection of the common folk. And great South African businesses, which have learned their lesson.