Sam Mpofu

South Africa’s President Ramaphosa signs new law discouraging unfair competition takes

South Africa is working to continue to grow its economy following a 2018 recession. To build on recent gains, President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed a new bill, which will strengthen regulations against anti-competitive behaviour in industrial markets, into law. The Competition Amendment Bill was approved by the South African National Assembly in October 2018 and endorsed by the National Council of Provinces in December 2018.

The amended legislation seeks to combat concentration and economic exclusion as core challenges that contribute to slower and less dynamic growth, lower employment and greater inequalities, as well as socio-political conflict.

“The bill provides greater clarity to firms and investors on prohibited practices and what constitutes abuse of dominance,” a statement by the Presidency said.

“Another expected benefit is improved administrative efficiencies in the work of the competition authorities and facilitative powers to the executive.” 

It also provides a clear mandate to the competition authorities to address economic concentration in a balanced manner and to promote economic transformation.

The Presidency further stated that the amended bill 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,” the Presidency said. 

Although the law has been signed, lawyers remain unclear about when and how it will be enforced.