CONSTITUTIONAL COURT WEAKENS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATION AGAINST THE PROSECTUTION OF A PROHIBITED PRACTICE MORE THAN THREE YEARS AFTER IT HAS CEASED

Author: Lesetja Morapi

  1. On 24 June 2020, the Constitutional Court (“Court”) issued its decision in the Competition Commission’s appeal from the Competition Appeal Court (“CAC”) in Competition Commission v Pickfords Removals SA (Pty) Ltd (CCT123/19) [2020] ZACC 14. The judgment dealt with:

1.1 the effective date of complaint initiation into a prohibited practice in circumstances where a firm was only expressly identified as a party to the prohibited practice by an amendment to an original complaint initiation which did not expressly name that firm;

1.2 whether s67(1) of the Competition Act, 1998 provides an absolute time-bar against the initiation of a complaint in respect of prohibited conduct by the Commission more than 3 years after the cessation of the prohibited practice, or if it is merely a procedural time-bar capable of condonation; and

1.3 if s67(1) only provides a procedural time-bar, whether s58(1)(c) of the Competition Act provides the Competition Tribunal (“Tribunal”) with the statutory power to condone non-compliance with s67(1). Continue reading

WHERE A COMPLAINT INITIATION IS AMENDED TO INCLUDE ADDITIONAL FIRMS, DOES THE THREE YEAR LIMITATION APPLY FROM THE DATE OF FIRST INITIATION OR FROM THE DATE OF THE AMENDMENT? COMPETITION COMMISSION V PICKFORDS REMOVALS SA (PTY) LTD (167/CAC/JUL18)

Authors: Lesetja Morapi

1. In Competition Commission v Pickfords Removals SA (Pty) Ltd,1 the Competition Appeal Court (CAC) dealt with a number of issues including, relevant to this note, the effect of an amendment to a complaint initiation on the application of the statute of limitation prescribed by s67(1) of the Act.

2. The CAC had to determine the effective date of complaint initiation in circumstances where a firm was only expressly identified as a party to a prohibited practice by an amendment to an original complaint initiation which did not expressly name that firm. In particular, the CAC had to decide whether the three year period prescribed by s67(1) should be calculated from the date of cessation of the prohibited practice to the date:

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