NOTABLE DEVELOPMENTS IN SOUTH AFRICAN AND AFRICAN COMPETITION LAW IN 2020

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.

Please click here for the detailed report.


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:

Jean Meijer
Jean Meijer
Partner, Johannesburg
+27 10 500 2642
Nick Altini
Nick Altini
Partner, Johannesburg
+27 10 500 2679
Leana Engelbrecht
Leana Engelbrecht
Associate, Johannesburg
+27 10 500 2674
Sandhya Foster
Sandhya Foster
Associate, Johannesburg
+27 10 500 2643
Lesetja Morapi
Lesetja Morapi
Associate, Johannesburg
+27 10 500 2677
Stewart Payne
Stewart Payne
Associate, Johannesburg
+27 10 500 2649

COVID-19: PRESSURE POINTS: NAVIGATING THE COVID-19 REGULATIONS AND THE ROLE OF COMPETITION LAW IN COMBATTING THE IMPACT OF THE PANDEMIC (SOUTH AFRICA)

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.

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WITH GREATER POWER OVER COMPETITION COMES GREATER RESPONSIBILITY

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.

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HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS EXPANDS SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICE WITH THREE SENIOR HIRES

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.

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