This brief addresses notable developments in competition law in South Africa and across the rest of Africa during the course of 2020. It includes the measures introduced by various competition law regulators in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and related cases and prosecutions.
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For more information, please contact Jean Meijer, Nick Altini, Leana Engelbrecht, Sandhya Foster, Lesetja Morapi and Stewart Payne or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact:
Authors: Stewart Payne and Natasha Rachwal, with supervision by Nick Altini and Leana Engelbrecht
Following the declaration of a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act No. 57 of 2002 (as amended), the concerning escalation in the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in South Africa prompted the National Coronavirus Command Council to enforce a nationwide lockdown for 21 days which came into effect from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020.
These developments have been accompanied by the expedited publication of numerous regulations aimed at combatting the outbreak of COVID-19 and mitigating its anticipated impact on the already strained economy. In particular, emphasis has been placed on enabling both the public and private sectors to act swiftly in responding to the healthcare crisis.
Authors: Jean Meijer, Nick Altini, Leana Engelbrecht, Sandhya Foster, Lesetja Morapi and Stewart Payne
This bulletin highlights key developments in competition law in South Africa and other African jurisdictions in 2019.
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Author: Stewart Payne
In future market inquiries the Competition Commission will be able to impose remedies across a whole sector.
The Competition Commission is soon expected to release a draft report from its public passenger transport inquiry, the last of four separate market inquiries it will have concluded over the past year (into data and the health-care and grocery retail sectors). Once the transport inquiry is finalised, the commission will have cleared its slate of all pending market inquiries initiated under the Competition Act before its amendment past year.
Though the commission has sought to achieve significant and sometimes wide-reaching reform through the recommendations it has made in its recent inquiry reports, a key feature has been that its recommendations are simply that — recommendations. They are non-binding and do not in and of themselves impose any obligations on firms to comply.
The commission could in these market inquiry reports advise firms to alter or cease behaviour under threat of prosecution if they fail to do so. This is a tactic it employed against MTN and Vodacom in the data market inquiry, where it believes it has gathered sufficient evidence to make a case that specific aspects of the firms’ conduct contravene a provision of the act.
Global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills today announced that three leading South African lawyers will join the firm in its Johannesburg office. The hires – two partners and a senior consultant – are bringing well established teams with them, resulting in a total of 13 appointments.
Expanding Herbert Smith Freehills’ corporate, competition and technology & telecoms offerings, the three senior hires bring a total of 77 years’ experience advising high-profile South African and global companies.