Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

So, will the Competition Amendment Bill become known as the "Patel Bill" before it has made its way through the parliamentary process and ends up as law? The proposed changes to the Competition Act look horribly like a power grab by one of the most astute politicians in the ANC today. If it comes into effect in its current form it will put an end to a competition regime that has been one of the few highlights of the post-1994 government. The bill is a breathtaking attempt by economic development minister Ebrahim Patel to place himself at the very centre of competition policy and implementation in SA. Key proposals in the bill deal not just with who decides on cross-border mergers, but essentially transform the minister into the Competition Czar. It’s as though Patel has watched one too many Hollywood superhero movies and believes he should have all the powers that reside in the competition authorities. Here’s what’s on the cards: that the minister be given the power to issue regulat...

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