Tourvest fined R9.18m for collusive tendering with Siyazisiza Trust

Unlisted integrated tourism group Tourvest Holdings has been ordered to pay an administrative penalty of just over R9.18 million within 30 days, after the Competition Tribunal found the company guilty of collusive tendering or price fixing together with the Siyazisiza Trust.

The Competition Commission of South Africa welcomed the decision by the Competition Tribunal on Monday, saying that Tourvest and the Siyazisiza Trust had contravened a section of the Competition Act.

“The contravention related to bid rigging in respect of a tender issued by Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) in February 2013, for leasing three opportunities of arts, crafts, and curio retail spaces at OR Tambo International Airport for a period of five years,” the commission said.

Tourvest being fined by the competition authorities could not have come at a worse time for the group, considering the devastating impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the tourism, hospitality and leisure retail sectors.

The group delisted from the JSE back in 2008.

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“Tourvest and the Siyazisiza Trust concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) before submitting separate bids for one of the three tenders issued by Acsa,” according to the Competition Commission.

“In terms of the MoU, the respondents agreed to cooperate, as opposed to competing, when bidding for one of the three tenders known as opportunity 3.”

The commission had received a collusive tendering complaint against Tourvest and the Siyazisiza Trust on April 25, 2014.

Its investigation found that the MoU concluded by the respondents in respect of the ‘opportunity 3’ constituted a collusive agreement, which contravened section 4(1)(b)(iii) of the Competition Act 89 of 1998 as amended, it said.

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“Tourvest conducts business in the tourism industry and operates five arts, crafts and curio retail stores, and two branded homeware stores in the international departures’ terminal section of the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg,” noted the commission, adding that it has been operating at airports since 1993.

“Siyazisiza Trust is a broad-based craft enterprise development agency and works with around 400 rural crafters,” said the commission.

“Siyazisiza Trust sells the crafters’ products to retailers, government entities, corporate clients within and beyond South Africa.”

While the Competition Tribunal has penalised Tourvest for the contravention, it decided not to sanction an administrative penalty against the Siyazisiza Trust despite the trust also being found guilty.