Draft Competition Amendment Bill on Track

Department of Economic Development

More than 60 submissions on the Draft Competition Amendment Bill have been received.

The economic development minister, Ebrahim Patel, announced this during his department’s budget vote speech in parliament.

The draft bill was published for comment in December 2017.

It seeks to address concentration and drive transformation in the local economy.

The draft bill also aims 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.

The minister described the draft bill as a major reform of South Africa’s 20-year old Competition Act.

The department plans to table a revised bill before cabinet for approval in 2018.

The minister revealed that the competition authorities also plan to “investigate 100 cases of cartel conduct; consider a projected 400 mergers; and take on an additional two cases of abuse by dominant firms in the economy.”

Market Inquiries into private healthcare, grocery retail (which includes shopping malls and spaza shops) and communication data costs will also be completed in 2018.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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