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South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences

On-line version ISSN 2222-3436
Print version ISSN 1015-8812

S. Afr. j. econ. manag. sci. vol.11 n.3 Pretoria Oct. 2008




Has the conduct-based approach to competition law in South Africa led to consistent interpretations of harm to competition?



Ryan Hawthorne1

Competition Commission South Africa




The Competition Act and certain recent decisions by the competition authorities are examined here to assess the extent to which South Africa's conduct-based approach to competition law has led to consistent outcomes in the assessment of effects on competition. This has not been the case in the assessment of anti-competitive effects among customers or resellers when a supplier accused of an anti-competitive action does not compete with its customers. An anti-competitive effect among customers or resellers is treated as anti-competitive when it arises from some form of conduct, such as price discrimination. However, it is not seen as anti-competitive when it arises from a refusal to supply, for example. Possible reasons for South Africa's conduct-based approach and this inconsistent outcome in the assessment of competition among customers and resellers, including the economic foundations of the relevant approaches and their relationship with competition law in other jurisdictions, are assessed.

JEL: K21, L41



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1 The views expressed here are his own and are not those of the Competition Commission South Africa. The author would like to acknowledge useful comments on drafts of this paper provided by Simon Roberts and two anonymous referees. The author is solely responsible for any remaining errors or omissions.

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