PRETORIA TO GIVE MORE POWERS TO COMPETITION COMMISSION

JOHANNESBURG, South African Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel says the government will be introducing through the Cabinet process amendments to the country’s Competition Act to as to change the mandate of the Competition Commission to give it more power.

The government wants the Competition Commission to investigate where there are high levels of unfair competition and find remedies, for these, he said when addressing a breakfast briefing of the National Policy Confrence of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) here Monday.

Over the last year or so, we have begun to re-engineer the work of the competition authority and they have focused on two key areas; in the in the future they will focus on a third one. The first one is mergers and acquisitions what should apply when one company buys another and the second one is they have focused on cartels and the abuse of market dominance.

The minister said the government wants big mergers to continue to support jobs and want ownership structures to represent the country’s economic transformation agenda. Patel said the government was also monitoring closely the activities of cartels which colluded with competitors to increase prices and reduce competition.

Patel praised the Competition Commission for cracking big cases such as unfair competition in the fertilizer and construction industries.

The competition authorities have been working actively over the last number of years building up their capabilities to catch companies who are engaged in these practices because these practices don’t help South Africans and we have been very successful and there are many parts of the economy that we have in fact cracked down and the first is the example of fertilizers and we uncovered that SASOL had deep concentration tight at the top. Through blending and selling of fertilizers to farmers.

Patel told party delegates that his department had up to 1.5 billion Rand (about 114 million US dollars) for the steel competitive fund to deal with the challenges of a glut in the steel market.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK