Budget 2019: BIG ISSUE
COMPETITION COMMISSION: Budget boost put on back burner
An additional R125m has been set aside for the Competition Commission — subject to certain conditions being met
Tucked away on page 51 of the Budget Review is a rather bizarre little note that could be interpreted as a heads-up to all those companies that were thinking of taking advantage of the Competition Commission’s recently announced go-slow. Just one month after the commission dramatically announced it had run short of funds and was forced to scale back on key market inquiries and investigations, the Treasury has announced it has set aside R125m for the commission "to investigate cartels and anticompetitive behaviour". This is in addition to the commission’s ordinary annual budget. But — and this is the strange part — the commission will only get the extra money in 2021. And, rather chillingly, payment will only be confirmed "after the economic development department completes its forensic investigation of previous irregularities in the commission". The FM was unable to get comment from either competition commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele or commission spokesperson Sipho Ngwema on Wednes...