Comment Sought on Competition Amendment Bill

Department of Economic Development

A draft bill designed to address concentration and drive transformation in the local economy has been published for comment.

Published in Government Gazette 41294, the Draft Competition Amendment Bill also seeks to clarify and improve the determination of prohibited practices relating to restrictive horizontal practices, abuse of dominance and price discrimination.

The draft bill also aims to amend the Competition Act, 1998, so as to introduce provisions that:

•    improve the regulation of mergers;
•    provide for the promotion of competition and economic transformation through addressing the de-concentration of markets;
•    protect and stimulate small businesses and firms owned and controlled by historically disadvantaged persons and their growth;
•    to protect and promote decent employment and employment security;
•    to facilitate the effective participation of the national Executive within proceedings contemplated in the Competition Act, 1998;
•    to empower the Commission to act in accordance with the results of a market inquiry;
•    to amend the process by which the Competition Commission may initiate market inquiries;
•    to empower the Minister to initiate market enquiries;
•    to promote greater efficiency regarding the conduct of market inquiries;
•    to clarify and foster greater efficiency regarding the determination of confidential information and access to confidential information;
•    to promote the administrative efficiency of the Competition Commission and Competition Tribunal;
•    and provide for matters connected therewith.

According to the economic development department, the draft amendments seek to “ensure evidence-based inquiry into and explicit scrutiny of concentration when mergers are considered, abuses of dominance are prosecuted, and market inquiries are undertaken by the competition authorities.”

Some focus areas of the draft bill include strengthening the provisions of the Competition Act relating to prohibited practices and mergers, aligning competition-related processes and decisions with other public policies, programmes and interests and enhancing the administrative efficacy of the competition regulatory authorities and their processes.

Comment is invited within 60 calendar days of the date of publication.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

Related legislation: