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South Africa: Businesses can expect a wave of new competition regulations in the coming months

31 August 2022
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During his keynote address at the Competition Commission’s (Commission) Sixteenth Annual Competition Law, Economics & Policy Conference this morning, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), Minister Ebrahim Patel, alluded to a wave of new competition regulations to be issued in the coming months. 

The DTIC, alongside the Commission, is to publish the following: 

  • August 2022: Draft block exemption regulations aimed at exempting small, micro and medium-sized businesses from agreements or practices which ordinarily would have contravened the horizontal restraint (section 4(1)) and vertical restraint (section 5(1)) provisions of the Competition Act, No. 89 of 1998 (as amended). These draft regulations were published this morning and stakeholders are invited to comment. Public comment is open until 30 September 2022.
  • September 2022: A notice in relation to non-binding advisory opinions issued by the Commission. In January 2018, the Commission suspended its advisory opinion services pending the outcome of a matter the Commission was litigating. In March 2021, the DTIC published draft regulations on non-binding advisory opinions and invited the public to comment. Finalised regulations have yet to be issued.
  • October 2022: A number of new notices, forms and rules. It is not clear as yet what these may relate to, but during last year, stakeholders were invited to comment on proposed revisions to the Merger Notification Forms, Forms for Exemption Applications, and the Commission’s Guidelines for Small Merger Notification. Finalised versions of these have yet to be published.
  • November 2022: Draft regulations for horizontal and vertical cooperation arrangements.
  • Early 2023: Draft regulations guiding merging parties on the DTIC’s participation in merger proceedings and how the DTIC will work with merging parties to formulate meaningful commitments.