‘Colluders in Robben Island Museum ferry case should face criminal charges’

30 Jun 2018


The group of vessel owners who have been charged of collusion in the business of ferrying passengers between the Robben Island Museum and the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and show no remorse nor shame must be considered for criminal prosecution.

This is the view of Competition Commissioner, Tembinkosi Bonakele. He issued the view after the Competition Tribunal, confirmed the consent agreement with three vessel owners in the case.

“Robben Island is an iconic site that represents the saddest and richest history of this country dating back centuries,” said Bonakele. The museum, said Bonakele, deserves to be treated with great pride and respect as it symbolises the peak of courage and triumph of human spirit. “The actions of these vessel owners exhibited distain for this country’s history and utter disrespect for the people. Those who show neither remorse nor shame must be considered for criminal prosecution.”

The Tribunal has confirmed as an order the commissions consent with Thembekile Maritime Services, Silverbuckle and Nauticat Charters. These have admitted to charges of price fixing and collusive tendering. And the companies have agreed to assist the Commission’s investigation.

They have been hit with the following administrative penalties:

  • Thembekile R350 000.00
  • Silverbuckle R249 171.72
  • Nauticat Charters R422 087.87

The other two companies in the case are Ferry Charters and Tigger 2 Charters.

The Commission pursued the case after receiving a complaint from the Robben Island Museum. The museum preserves and showcases the apartheid era prison which amongst other names held Nelson Mandela as prisoner. It’s become South Africa’s prime tourist destination.

The Commission’s investigation established that the concerned companies colluded to increase the prices charged to be charged when responding the Museum tender.

The Commission’s investigation established that subsequent to the agreement the concerned companies acted as follows:

  • Thembekile and Nauticat Charters increased their prices to R18 000 per trip for 140 passengers. Ferry Charters did not alter their prices as it was already charging R18 000 per trip for 140 passengers and this resulted in all three quoting the same price of R18 000 for per trip for 140 passengers.
  • Silverbuckle and Tigger 2 Charters also increased their prices as agreed during the coffee shop meeting, but not to the same extent as that of the other respondents as their vessels are smaller.


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