Face mask distributor MATUS has agreed to pay a penalty of R5.9m and R5m to the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund after an investigation by the Competition Commission found that it had inflated prices of essential hygienic products. The company with offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban and satellite branches in Port Elizabeth and Mbombela admitted to inflation of its gross profit margins essential hygienic product during the COVID-19 disaster.

 The company undertook, for the duration of the state of national disaster, to ensure that its gross profit margins for essential products will not be increased above what was applicable on 16 February 2020, for as long as such products remain as essential in terms of the Consumer Protection Regulations or any subsequent amendment or replacement of these regulations.

The Commission found that MATUS unreasonably increased the prices of dusk masks resulting in excessively inflated gross profit margins in contravention of the Competition Act and Regulation 4 of the Consumer Protection Regulations.

 MATUS supplies and distributes personal protection equipment such as dust masks (including FFP1 and FFP2 masks), overalls, hand sanitisers, fire protective gear and first aid kits, among other. These are procured from local and overseas manufacturers.