Thieves at the Dinner Table
Chapter 2: The new competition regime
The process of drafting the Competition Bill, negotiating it in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), piloting it through the parliamentary process, and reaching its final outcome, represents one of the success stories of the early years of South Africa’s democracy. I make this bold claim because, despite the complex and controversial nature of competition law, a statute emerged relatively rapidly and relatively amicably through the law-making process, a process in which everybody interested in the outcome was heard. The broad acceptance achieved through this process and extensive media coverage meant that by the time the Competition Act was placed on the statute book, something of a competition culture was already implanted in South Africa, despite the aridity of the soil that history had bequeathed. Stripped to its bare essentials, the process involved the preparation of a policy document that was approved by Cabinet and then released for public consumption and comment. The policy document was then tabled at Nedlac – the workings of which are described below – forming government’s input into the process of consultation and negotiation with organised labour, organised business and the ‘community’ over com- petition policy. Once the process of the Nedlac discussions had been concluded – effectively a negotiated outcome – a bill based largely on the principles agreed there was sent to Cabinet, which considered it and then sent it through the parliamentary process. This entailed submitting the bill to the trade and industry parliamentary portfolio committees, together with the Nedlac report
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