The President of South Africa has assented to the Competition Amendment Act 18 of 2018 (Amendment Act). A copy of the Amendment Act is available here. This historic development marks the beginning of a new era of competition law, which is more public interest focused than ever before.
It is expected that some amendments, such as those pertaining to horizontal and vertical prohibited conduct, exemptions, price discrimination and buyer power, will only become fully effective once regulations have been finalised. First drafts of the Price Discrimination and Buyer Power Regulations (the Regulations) were published in December last year, and following the first round of stakeholder engagement in February, a second draft of the Regulations is expected to be published for public comment in the next few months.
The President has not yet published the commencement date of the Amendment Act by proclamation in the Government Gazette, but it is anticipated that some of the legislation, particularly those sections that do not require regulations to become effective, will most likely come into operation before the national elections in May 2019.
Once the Amendment Act becomes fully effective, new and complex competition law issues will emerge. Businesses of all sizes and across all industries must be cognisant of the significant practical implications of the Amendment Act. Businesses need to start thinking about revising compliance policies, providing additional competition law training to their employees, amending trading contracts, and reviewing merger and acquisition strategies and timelines.
Please look out for an invitation from us to a breakfast seminar soon after the Amendment Act becomes effective. An expert panel will help you understand the significant implications the Amendment Act may have on your business.