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
- Streamline and enhance various procedures governing the work of the competition authorities and the involvement of the Minister in competition matters.