SA steps up measures against price fixing

Friday, April 29, 2016

Pretoria – Businesses in South Africa have been warned against colluding to fix prices, tenders or markets, as the provisions of the Competition Amendment Act come into effect.

Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, said the coming into effect of provisions of the Competition Amendment Act makes it a criminal offence for directors and management to collude in the fixing of prices, tenders or markets.

“These provisions are part of the measures to step up the fight against cartels that damage the economy and impose high prices on consumers,” Minister Radebe said.

He was briefing the media on Friday on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting, which was held earlier this week.

“We call on businesses in South Africa to compete based on lower prices, more innovation, improved quality of goods offered or superior service to customers rather than on collusion,” Minister Radebe said.

Industrial Policy Action Plan

Cabinet also approved the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) 2016/17 – 2018/19, which is a key pillar of the President’s Nine-Point Plan and contributes towards implementation of the National Development Plan.

IPAP 2016/17 seeks to achieve a higher impact industrial policy in difficult economic circumstances.

“These include the on-going effects of the global economic recession, including the steel crisis and commodity slump as well as the severe drought and other significant domestic constraints,” Minister Radebe said.

This is the eighth annual iteration of successive government industrialisation plans, which builds on the achievements, policy platforms and programmes of previous iterations.

“Achievements from the previous year include the saving of approximately 67 000 jobs and the creation of an estimated 7 000 new decent jobs in the clothing and textile leather and footwear sector.

“The agro-processing sub-sector is one of the largest domestic manufacturing sectors by employment, providing an estimated 216 090 jobs in 2015 compared to 208 822 in 2014,” he said.

More than R600 million worth of investment was attracted in 2015/16, laying the basis for strengthening enterprise development with a focus on rural communities.

Mining Charter

Minister Radebe said Cabinet has encouraged relevant stakeholders to comment on the draft reviewed Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Charter for the South African Mining and Minerals Industry, 2016 which was published in the Government Gazette.

“The draft reviewed Mining Charter further integrates government’s transformation policies and legislation to enhance the ease of doing business, create regulatory clarity, predictability and certainty,” he said.

It is also aligned to the provisions of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, 2003 (Act No. 53 of 2003) and the Codes of Good Practice (DTI Codes).

Acquisition of SAB Miller by AB InBev

Cabinet has welcomed the agreed approach by the Minister of Economic Development and AB InBev to the competition authorities on a range of public interest issues regarding the proposed acquisition of SAB Miller by AB InBev.

“The commitment by the company serves as a guide, on public interest issues, to other companies in merger and acquisitions in similar circumstances.

“This includes an agreed commitment by the company to spend R1 billion over the next five years to promote small-scale farming and local supplier development, new enterprises, energy and water efficiency technologies and youth development,” Minister Radebe said.

He said the commitment on jobs including an undertaking to avoid involuntarily retrenchment of workers as a result of the merger and to maintain employment levels at the company for the next five years, are part of a ground-breaking agreement between the company and government to support industrialisation, small business development and job creation. –

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