OPINION: Competition Amendment Act brought into force
JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa published a notice in the Government Gazette to immediately bring into force certain of the provisions of the Competition Amendment Act.
The amendments were passed in February and the latest Gazette covers many of the procedural changes the Amendment Act envisaged. Still not in force are the controversial new rules on buyer power, price discrimination - both calculated to benefit small and black-owned businesses - and the “natio- nal security veto” on certain foreign investments.
Presumably this is because these substantive provisions require the promulgation of additional regulations to be effectively enforced.
The administrators of the act (commission and the ministry in charge of competition) will note that their enhanced powers of appeal in merger proceedings and to conduct market inquiries are now in force.
So are various additional factors to be taken into account in merger analysis, such as: structural links into related markets; the effect on small businesses; and ownership by historically disadvantaged persons and workers. Repeat offenders are now also liable for a penalty of up to 25percent, and all contraventions are now subject to a penalty on a first offence.
Chris Charter (national practice head, director) and Craig Thomas (associate) in the competition practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.