[14 February 2019] The Competition Amendment Act 2017 was signed into law on 13 February 2019.

This Act augments the powers of the Competition Commission and the Minister of Economic Development in remedying market concentration in key industries that is excluding smaller entities from competition and hindering transformation. We anticipate that the provisions of the Amendment Act will have a substantial impact in the electronic communications sector.

Competition Amendment Act, 2018

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[6 December 2017] The Minister for Economic Development has published draft amendments to the Competition Act for public comment.

Draft Competition Amendment Bill 2017

Press release – Draft Competition Amendment Bill 2017

Comments are due by 31 January 2018.

The proposed amendments are interesting in that they are intended to provide the competition authorities with greater powers to tackle concentrated markets. The background document to the Bill identifies the communications technology sector as by far the most concentrated in South Africa.

According to the accompanying press release, the most significant amendments proposed are to:

  • Enhance the market inquiry process to empower the Commission to¬†consider features of markets, including high levels of concentration and limited economic transformation and take any remedial action that is reasonable and practicable to address such features of a market that prevent, restrict or distort
  • Expand the consideration of cross-shareholdings, cross-directorships and¬† the phenomenon of creeping concentration in merger control proceedings;
  • Ensure scrutiny of the impact of mergers on the spread of ownership in the economy as a public interest issue;
  • Require dominant firms to justify their conduct when they are accused of anti-competitive abusive practices and improve the prospects of prosecuting dominant firms for excessive or predatory pricing;
  • Enable the Commission to research and report on the impact of merger conditions and behavioural or structural remedies so that all stakeholders are informed about how the competition regime achieves the purposes of
    the Act;
  • Streamline and enhance various procedures governing the work of the competition authorities and the involvement of the Minister in competition matters.