Thieves at the Dinner Table
Chapter 6: Competition enforcement on the world stage
For decades, much of what could be characterised as robust antitrust enforcement or the existence of a vibrant competition culture emanated from the United States and, to some extent, Germany. And so our history of international contacts begins in the US, probably still the god-head of competition law, despite the rise of the European Union as a leading enforcer and intellectual player in this field. The first workshop set up by the African National Congress in December 1992 was convened at a rather tacky resort outside Johannesburg by Tito Mboweni, then the deputy head of the ANC’s economic policy department and, later, Minister of Labour and then Governor of the Reserve Bank. The advisers to both the ANC delegation and the business delegation were two US academics – professors Geoff Shepherd and Thomas Hazlett – represent- ing distinctly divergent traditions in US antitrust. My clearest recollection of that meeting – apart from its rather tetchy character – was that it was opened by Nelson Mandela, an auspicious start to the process of reforming competition law! I recall that when the meeting began and all of the 30 or so participants were asked to introduce themselves and their institutional affiliations, Mandela introduced himself as ‘an ANC member of the Orlando West branch’, a line that I don’t doubt he has used on more than one occasion with consistently charming effect. When I asked Professor Hazlett for his clearest recollection of the meeting, he responded: In particular, I recall being introduced to Nelson Mandela at the very outset (he quickly left).
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