A sad era of ex­ploita­tion

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - OPINION -

AF­TER decades of abuse, the Com­pe­ti­tions Com­mis­sion has fi­nally wo­ken up to the reality that big busi­ness has taken the av­er­age South African for a joke by over­pric­ing for goods and ser­vices.

The re­cent in­ves­ti­ga­tions for the price fix­ing of cancer-re­lated drugs are the tip of the ice­berg.

Many other chronic medicines are pur­posely in­creased in cost so that a few folks can live ex­pen­sive lifestyles. This is clear from the pro­duc­tion cost and the cost at which this type of drug is sold glob­ally.

I have al­ways con­sid­ered that at the helm of many busi­ness con­cerns are in­di­vid­u­als who have cold souls and lit­tle com­pas­sion for the dig­nity of other hu­mans, es­pe­cially those who need the medicine.

As an en­tre­pre­neur my­self, I be­lieve in mak­ing a profit. I am not against any­one earn­ing a profit from their sweat and ef­forts. We all have the God-given right to ben­e­fit from our ef­forts. How­ever, some peo­ple want to make more than a good profit. In reality, some busi­ness peo­ple want to abuse the next person to the max­i­mum to en­sure a mega profit.

Ex­am­ple, how must or­di­nary peo­ple who, through no fault of their own, con­tract an illness pay for medicine when the cost of that medicine is in­cred­i­bly ex­pen­sive?

While mak­ing a mas­sive profit on a house with a swim­ming pool or an imported ve­hi­cle is al­most ac­cept­able, over­charg­ing for prod­ucts like medicine, bread and milk is not ac­cept­able.

Po­lit­i­cal par­ties across the spec­trum must spend more time fight­ing big busi­ness who abuse or­di­nary peo­ple by over­charg­ing for goods and ser­vices. While the fo­cus has al­ways re­mained on cor­rup­tion in gov­ern­ment and amid po­lit­i­cally con­nected peo­ple, rarely is the cor­rup­tion and col­lu­sion of big busi­ness in head­lines in our mass me­dia.

Ex­am­ple, dur­ing the 2010 World Cup, some con­struc­tion com­pa­nies ac­tively cor­rupted the process of sta­dium build­ing.

To date, no one went to jail and no in­di­vid­ual has been held ac­count­able. Bil­lions of rands just dis­ap­peared.

Why are th­ese in­di­vid­u­als al­lowed to col­lude and lit­er­ally steal from ratepay­ers who con­tinue to pay for the sta­di­ums that gen­er­ally re­main un­prof­itable? Why must ratepay­ers ac­cept the de­ceits that the con­struc­tion com­pany own­ers spun at the start?

Where is the jus­tice to those who pay for over­in­flated medicine, food prices or sta­di­ums built?

Cllr Yagyah Adams Cape Mus­lim Congress


It is dis­tress­ing that firms put profit be­fore com­pas­sion in the busi­ness of chronic medicine, says the writer.

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