The CRC Series on Competition, Regulation and Development
Edited by Paul Cook, Raul Fabella and Cassey Lee
Chapter 8: Competition Policy and Enterprise Development: The Role of Public Interest Objectives in South Africa’s Competition Policy
Trudi Hartzenberg INTRODUCTION Competition policy reform was high on the agenda of South Africa’s new government after the ﬁrst democratic elections in 1994. The African National Congress (ANC) had espoused strong socialist principles during the years preceding South Africa’s democratic transition. However, by the time the ANC came to power, the winds of political and policy change had shifted substantively, internationally and in South Africa too. Instead of a policy of nationalization of private enterprises, the ANC looked to competition policy as an instrument to regulate private enterprise and to address the legacy eﬀect of apartheid and economic isolation on domestic markets. South Africa’s Competition Act No. 89 of 1998, which was drafted and promulgated after an extensive and inclusive policy-making process of consultation and debate, reﬂects the political concerns of the ANC. In addition to economic eﬃciency, the Competition Act explicitly includes equity and distributive goals. The preamble to the Act notes the high levels of concentration of ownership and control, ineﬀective checks on anti-competitive practices and restrictions on economic participation, especially by black South Africans due to apartheid laws and policies, and articulates a conviction that credible competition law and institutions to implement the law eﬀectively are necessary for an eﬃciently functioning economy. Furthermore, the Act says that an economic environment balancing the interests of workers, owners and consumers will beneﬁt all South Africans. A hallmark of the Act is thus its concern with public interest issues, equity and justice, balanced...
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