Advisory panel established to fight economic concentration
Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has established an advisory panel to develop draft amendments to the Competition Act with a view to bolstering South Africa’s legislative capacity to address “persistently high levels of economic concentration”.
Patel announced the proposed amendments in his Budget Vote speech, indicating that the changes could compel the competition authorities to consider the ownership profile, as well as structural impediments to market entry, when assessing mergers or complaints of anti-competitive conduct.
The panel, which is expected to report to the Ministry within six weeks, is made up of advocate Michelle le Roux of the Johannesburg Bar, Doris Tshepe, a partner in a Johannesburg law firm, Liberty Mncube, the Competition Commission’s chief economist and Professor Imraan Valodia, dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Patel said the current Act was primarily concerned with anti-competitive effects arising from the conduct of market participants, as opposed to optimising the structure of markets.
“It is therefore proposed to amend the Competition Act to enable more effective measures to be taken against these features of market structure. These amendments will amplify and complement the measures already available to address all forms of anti-competitive conduct.” Patel reported that the Competition Commission would investigate about 100 cases of cartel behaviour in different sectors of the economy.