Yesterday President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law the Competition Amendment Bill, which will strengthen regulations against anti-competitive behaviour in industrial markets.
The bill, which was approved by the National Assembly in October 2018 and endorsed by the National Council of Provinces in December 2018, is a step in the right direction for SMEs, economic inclusion and it 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 Presidency said on Monday.
“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,” the Presidency explained.
Additionally, 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.
Tony Ehrenreich, Cosatu’s deputy parliamentary office co-ordinator told Business Day yesterday:
“Cosatu strongly supports this progressive, anti-monopoly legislation as it will help open up the economy, ensure greater competition, lower prices and spur badly needed economic growth. Workers are tired of being exploited by monopolies and seeing their meagre wages being squeezed dry by ridiculous prices,” he said.
The Presidency said this will 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.
The signing ceremony took place yesterday afternoon at the Tuynhuys Chambers in Parliament. Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, who campaigned fiercely for the bill’s codification, was set to join the ceremony along with a group of stakeholders.