The Elite Star Trading Africa group (EST Africa) has expressed shock at South Africa’s four grocery retail giants’ “absurd” denial that their move into the township market is harmful to the economies of these areas.

The independent buying group founded in 2007 through an amalgamation of Devland Cash & Carry‚ Yarona Cash & Carry and Hikma Trading was making its submissions at the Competition Commission’s public hearings on its inquiry into the country’s grocery retail sector held in Pretoria on Monday.

In his passionate submissions‚ the group’s managing director‚ Louis Greeff‚ said none of the grocery retail giants – Spar‚ Pick n’ Pay‚ Shoprite and Walmart – could begin to argue that township trading was not under strain and disappearing because of their entry into the market.

“How can they even vaguely try to say it will have very little impact on those small and independent traders? It is‚ to say the least‚ absolute absurd‚” Greeff charged.

He demonstrated how townships had their own economies and their own GDP‚ with a certain amount of available money that could be spent in that geographic area.

Greeff said he could not understand how the grocery retail giants could argue that a trader…