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Tougher competition laws on the cards

On Tuesday, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel briefed the media on the Competition Amendment Bill which will give more teeth to the existing Competition Act.

FILE: Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. Picture: World Economic Forum

CAPE TOWN - Tougher laws are on the cards for businesses that flout competition regulations.

On Tuesday, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel briefed the media on the Competition Amendment Bill which will give more teeth to the existing Competition Act.

Cabinet earlier in July approved the submission of the proposed legislation to Parliament.

It said the amendments would mitigate against high levels of economic concentration, limited transformation and abuse of market power by "dominant firms".

It’s been 20 years since the late former President Nelson Mandela signed the Competition Act into law.

The government now wants to amend that act to strengthen the country’s existing competition laws.

Companies can also expect tougher penalties and repeat offenders can be fined up to 25% of their annual turnovers.

Patel said: “We’ve provided that the penalty regime is a bit tougher in that if you’re subsidiary of a holding company, in certain circumstances, the penalty can be extended to the holding company.”

The amendments will also make it easier to prosecute dominant firms for things like “predatory pricing”.

The bill will now be considered by the National Assembly.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)