The number of articles written on competition matters is indicative of the impact it is making. And while, as with most laws, the intention is good the rulings made do not always appear to be in the best interest of the country; sometimes it appears political expediency seems more important. This is unfortunate and Geoff Parr's article on page 6 paints a picture of a popular misconception about skilled workers and unskilled workers retaining their jobs when it comes to M&A. The public interest issue is one that will always be controversial and the impact of its use should be very carefully considered.
The recent Walmart/Massmart merger raised questions about the competition authorities' role in preserving jobs at the merging firms and at their suppliers, and about conditions of employment. In this and other mergers, a prime concern has been to protect the jobs of unskilled workers.
South Africa's Competition Act1 does not contain any special provisions relating to cross-border merger control. Consequently, South Africa's competition authority, the Competition Commission, analyses cross-border mergers with the same criteria used in analysing domestic mergers.
Following the recent Constitutional Court rulings in the cases of Competition Commission and Yara South Africa (Pty) Ltd, Omnia Fertilizer Ltd and Sasol Chemical Industries Ltd - CCT81/11  ZACC 14 (Yara) and Competition Commission and Loungefoam (Pty) Ltd, Gommagomma (Pty) Ltd, Vitafoam (Pty) Ltd, Steinhoff Africa Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Steinhoff International Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Feltex Holdings (Pty) Ltd and KAP International Holdings (Pty) Ltd - CCT 90/11  ZACC 15 (Loungefoam), debate around the impact of these decisions has been extensive.
A key focus area at the 6th Annual Conference on Competition Law, Economics and Policy recently hosted by the Competition Commission, the Competition Tribunal, Wits School of Law's Mandela Institute and the University of Johannesburg's Centre for Competition Economics, was the "health" of the healthcare sector in South Africa.
The Competition Commission has indicated that it intends initiating a market inquiry into the private healthcare sector. Only the second of its nature in South Africa, the proposed inquiry is partly a response to concerns about rising healthcare costs.
Corruption in South Africa has reached staggering proportions. Daily newspapers are rife with reports of widespread corruption in both the public and private sectors. The arms deals scandal, coupled to prison sentences for the former Commissioner of Police Jackie Selebi and the recent termination of his replacement, Bheki Cele, who was embroiled in a R 1, 8bn overspend on Police accommodation has done little to boost confidence in public sector integrity.
Now that the 2012 London Olympics have come and gone, the city of London is proud to have hosted the Olympics for the third time in the history of these games. It goes without saying that the Olympics and any such major sporting event provides many companies with the opportunity to advertise and promote their brands, products or services.
South African securities law is up for revision. The Securities Services Act (SSA),1 which came into force on February 1 2005, is to be replaced by the Financial Markets Bill2 at some stage in the future. The review of the SSA apparently highlighted a number of critical provisions that must be given effect to in legislation to ensure that the integrity of the regulatory framework of the South African financial markets is maintained, that the regulatory framework continues to meet its objectives and the objectives of financial regulation in general and that it is aligned with relevant local and international developments and standards.3
The Companies Act (2008) provides for two methods through which a company can acquire its own shares. The first is the mechanism set out in s48 of the Act. This section essentially provides that a company may, to the extent that it is solvent and liquid, buy-back its own shares. From an approval perspective, the requirements of s48 are minimal and only require the approval (or decision) of the board.
I am regularly asked to speak at partner conferences and in workshops on the theme of “what do clients really want?" ...But faced with such a theme it is hard not to dive straight into the deep end of platitudes and banality.