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A new provision recently introduced into the Competition Amendment Bill will make it possible for the minister of economic development to intervene in mergers regarded as affecting the national security interests of the republic. This is despite the economic development department last year rejecting such a measure which is practised elsewhere in the world. The clause is expected to add complexity to the decision on whether to approve or reject mergers. However, as the final version of the bill has not been gazetted, it is not possible to assess how it would define national security interests and how the minister’s intervention will take place. The new clause was introduced into the bill by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel in negotiations within the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) in the past few months. It has echoes of US President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel imports in the interests of "national security".<...

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