Competition Amendment Bill signed into law

The amendment bill will close loopholes that businesses have used to enrich themselves.

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Competition Amendment Bill into law on Wednesday. 

Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel (pictured) has campaigned fiercely for the bill, which will strengthen regulations against anti-competitive behaviour in industrial markets.

Patel said that the bill would go a long way in closing loopholes which businesses exploited to enrich themselves, such as only procuring production materials from their own subsidiaries or selling materials to subsidiaries at a lower price than to other companies.

The Bill was approved by the National Assembly on 23 October 2018 and endorsed by the National Council of Provinces on 4 December 2018. 

The statement, released by the Presidency on Tuesday, announcing that Cyril would sign the bill into law said:

“The amended law constitutes a boost for SMEs and economic inclusion and opens up the economy to fresh investment and innovation. It also provides a clear mandate to the competition authorities to address economic concentration in a balanced manner and to promote economic transformation.

“The Bill provides greater clarity to firms and investors on prohibited practices and what constitutes abuse of dominance. Another expected benefit is improved administrative efficiencies in the work of the competition authorities and facilitative powers to the Executive.”

According to the statement, the amended legislation will combat concentration and economic exclusion as core challenges that contribute to slower and less dynamic growth, lower employments and greater inequalities, as well as socio-political conflict. 

The statement further reads: 

“The amendments enable a more effective approach to concentration, with a focus on improving outcomes for small and black-owned business, and strengthen the institutions involved in managing competition policy and law.

 “These changes are in the long-term interest of both business and organised labour and benefit small to medium-sized companies through a pro-growth, transformation model that can help lift investment and advance economic inclusion.”