Significant amendments proposed to the South African Competition Act

An overview of the first draft of the Competition Amendment Bill and how it proposes some significant changes which fundamentally alter the scope of South Africa’s competition law and the powers of the competition authorities.

This briefing has been published by Stephen Langbridge, Johan Coetzee, Neil Mackenzie, Kathryn Lloyd and Stuart Strachan of Fasken Martineau, Kenya, who have agreed to Simmons & Simmons making it available to elexica subscribers.

On 01 December 2017, the Ministry for Economic Development published a first draft of the Competition Amendment Bill, along with an explanatory background note

The Bill proposes some significant changes which fundamentally alter the scope of South Africa’s competition law, and the powers of the competition authorities. Each proposed change is a subject for discussion and analysis on its own, which will be explained in a series of updates and articles over the coming weeks. This note sets out a high level summary of the main features which you need to know about.

The amendments have been proposed to redress “excessive concentrations of ownership and control within the national economy” and to open “the South African economy to a greater number of South Africans through ownership and opportunity”, while recognising that economies of scale are critical for the efficient functioning of some markets. 

The five key priority areas of the Bill are: 

  • strengthening the provisions of the Act relating to prohibited practices and mergers
  • considering the impact of anti-competitive conduct on small businesses and firms owned by historically disadvantaged persons (HDPs)
  • strengthening the provisions of the Act relating to market inquiries to effectively address anti competitive market features and conduct
  • promoting the alignment of 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.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.