The Competition Commission (Commission) is a statutory body constituted in terms of the Competition Act , No. 89 of 1998 (the Act) . It is one of three, independent competition regulatory authorities established in terms of the Act, with the other two being the Competition Tribunal and the Competition Appeal Court (formerly, the Competition Board). While the Commission is the investigative and enforcement agency, the Tribunal is the adjudicative body and the Competition Appeal Court considers appeals against decisions of the Tribunal. The Competition authorities are functionally-independent institutions, but are administratively accountable to the Department of Economic Development.
The Commission is empowered by the Competition Act to investigate, control and evaluate restrictive business practices, abuse of dominant positions and mergers in order to achieve equity and efficiency in the South African economy. Its purpose is to promote and maintain competition in South Africa in order to:
- Promote the efficiency, adaptability and development of the economy;
- Provide consumers with competitive prices and product choices;
- Promote employment and advance the social and economic welfare of South Africans;
- Expand opportunities for South African participation in world markets and recognise the role of foreign competition in the Republic;
- Ensure that small- and medium-sized enterprises have an equitable opportunity to participate in the economy; and
- Promote a greater spread of ownership, in particular to increase the ownership stakes of historically disadvantaged persons.
- Implement measures to increase market transparency;
- Implement measures to develop public awareness of the provisions of the Act;
- Investigate and evaluate alleged anti-competitive conduct;
- Conduct formal inquiry in respect of the general state of competition in a market;
- Grant or refuse applications for exemption from the application of the Act;
- Authorise, with or without conditions, prohibit or refer mergers of which it receives notice;
- Negotiate and conclude consent orders;
- Refer matters to the Competition Tribunal of South Africa (the Tribunal) and appear before the Tribunal when required;
- Negotiate agreements with any regulatory authority to coordinate and harmonise the exercise of jurisdiction over competition matters within the relevant industry or sector, and ensure the consistent application of the principles of the Act;
- Participate in the proceedings of any regulatory authority;
- Advise – and receive advice from – any regulatory authority;
- Review legislation and public regulations, and report to the Minister concerning any provision that permits uncompetitive behaviour; and
- Deal with any other matter referred to it by the Tribunal.