THE COMPETITION AMENDMENT BILL, 2018 INTRODUCED IN PARLIAMENT

By Claire Franklyn,Claire Reidy Wednesday, August 15, 2018
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Authors: Claire Franklyn and Odie Strydom

The ninth in a series of perspectives of the main proposals contained in the Bill.

The Constitution distinguishes between a number of different types of bills, and describes the parliamentary processes through which each of these types of bills must go before they can be passed by Parliament and become law (an Act of Parliament). The Competition Amendment Bill, 2018 is categorised as an ordinary bill that does not affect the provinces (a so-called Section 75 Bill). This is the second iteration of The Competition Amendment Bill, with a draft Competition Amendment Bill first being published for public comment in December 2017.
 
This article focuses on the parliamentary process for the Competition Amendment Bill to become law.
 
The Competition Amendment Bill was introduced in Parliament by the Minister of Economic Development on 11 July 2018, and was duly published in the Government Gazette. The Competition Amendment Bill was then referred to the Portfolio Committee on Economic Development, which has commenced a process of public consultation by inviting interested persons to submit written representations on the Competition Amendment Bill by 17 August 2018. The Portfolio Committee has also arranged public hearings on 28 and 29 August 2018 to allow interested parties to submit oral comments on the Competition Amendment Bill.
 
Once the public consultation process has been completed, the Competition Amendment Bill will be debated in the National Assembly. If the Competition Amendment Bill is passed by the National Assembly, it will be referred to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence. The Competition Amendment Bill will then be considered by the relevant NCOP select committee, will be debated in the NCOP, and will be voted on by the NCOP.
 
If the NCOP passes the Competition Amendment Bill, the parliamentary process will have been completed. If the NCOP rejects the Competition Amendment Bill or proposes its own amendments, the Bill will be returned to the National Assembly for further consideration.
 
Once the parliamentary process is complete (which can take anywhere from a number of months to a couple of years), the Bill will be sent to the President for assent and signature after which it becomes an Act of Parliament, is allocated an Act number and is published in the Government Gazette (assuming that the President has no reservations about the constitutionality of the Bill, which would require the President referring the Bill back to the National Assembly for consideration).

An Act comes into effect when published in the Government Gazette or on a date determined in terms of the Act itself (e.g. by the President by proclamation in the Government Gazette). In certain circumstances, different dates of commencement can be set for different provisions in an Act. As a general rule, the date for commencement of an Act will only be set once the responsible department has indicated that it is ready and has the capacity to implement the new law. 
 
If you have any questions relating to the above, please contact your usual contact in our Competition Practice.