DA walkout stalls debate on contentious Competition Amendment Bill
Parliament’s economic development committee has postponed its deliberations on the contentious Competition Amendment Bill after the DA walked out of Tuesday’s meeting.
The bill is intended to provide, among others, for an extension of the mandate of the competition authorities and the executive to tackle high levels of economic concentration, limited transformation in the SA economy and abuse of market power by dominant firms. Aspects of the proposed legislation have been criticised by stakeholders who argue they may deter foreign investment.
Committee chair Elsie Mmathulare Coleman said the DA’s walkout affected the committee’s quorum.
DA MP and economic development spokesperson Michael Cardo said he decided to walk out after an "egregious display of Stalinist chairing by the committee chair, Ms Elsie Mmathulare Coleman, who tried to prevent us from posing questions to economic development minister Ebrahim Patel".
The bill, which was tabled in parliament on July 11, "is being railroaded through the committee without proper interrogation", he said.
"Only two days were set aside — during the parliamentary recess, moreover — to work clause-by-clause through a technically complex piece of legislation that could have far-reaching consequences. Unfortunately, several members of the committee could not be present on that occasion," Cardo said.
"If it is enacted … the bill could increase the cost of doing business, deter foreign investors and kill jobs … It is unfortunate that Ms Coleman seems to be more concerned with her re-election prospects than doing justice to a key piece of legislation," he said.