Draft legislation would expand the empire of the competition regulators
Parliament should keep in check whatever imperial ambitions the commission may harbour when it changes law, writes Michael Cardo
The Competition Commission is a key statutory body. Its mandate is to investigate and evaluate restrictive business practices, abuse of dominant positions, and mergers. Now the ANC government has earmarked the commission as a key institutional lever to "deconcentrate" the economy and promote economic inclusion. Draft legislation in the pipeline would significantly expand the commission’s mandate and powers to do so. Indeed, the Competition Amendment Bill gives considerable scope to reshape the economy by intervening in market structures. If enacted, the bill would expand the commission’s empire. The broad terrain of economic policy would become its fiefdom and protectorate. Already there are signs that the competition authority is acting in an imperious (perhaps even imperialistic) fashion. Hence, when Parliament amends the law later in 2018 it should keep in check whatever imperial ambitions the regulator may harbour. According to recent reports, a praetorian guard of VIP protectio...