Competition Amendment Bill Tabled

Department of Economic Development

The Competition Amendment Bill has been tabled in parliament.

The economic development department published the bill’s explanatory summary in Government Gazette 41756 last week.

The proposed legislation, designed to address concentration and drive transformation in the local economy, was published for comment at the end of 2017.

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

•    clarify and improve the determination of prohibited practices relating to restrictive horizontal and vertical practices, abuse of dominance and price discrimination and to strengthen the penalty regime;
•    introduce greater flexibility in the granting of exemptions which promote transformation and growth;
•    strengthen the role of market inquiries and merger processes in the promotion of competition and economic transformation through addressing the structures and de-concentration of markets;
•    protect and stimulate the growth of small and medium businesses and firms owned and controlled by historically disadvantaged persons while at the same time protecting and promoting employment, employment security and worker ownership;
•    facilitate the effective participation of the National Executive within proceedings contemplated in the Act, including making provision for National Executive intervention in respect of mergers that affect the national security interests of the Republic;
•    mandate the Commission to act in accordance with the results of a market inquiry;
•    amend the process by which market inquiries are initiated and promote greater efficiency regarding the conduct of market inquiries;
•    clarify and foster greater certainty regarding the determination of confidential information and access to confidential information;
•    provide the Competition Commission with the powers to conduct impact studies on prior decisions;
•    promote the administrative efficiency of the Competition Commission and Competition Tribunal; and
•    provide for matters connected therewith.

Some focus areas of the 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.

The portfolio committee on economic development will now process the bill.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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