Laying the Table: the role of business in establishing competition law and policy in South Africa

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International Review of Applied Economics, Volume 33, Number 1, p.119–133 (2019)



business, Competition, competition policy, law and economics, regulation


Organised business played a significant role in the formal policy processes developing the competition regime after apartheid up to and including the drafting of South Africa’s competition law. The social organisation of business and its participation in formal policy processes were shifting and changing rapidly. Exploring several published accounts of the drafters of South Africa’s first democratic competition law and policy framework reveals the narrative context for the politics of the regime. The process of negotiating and drafting this legislation took place both in National Economic Development and Labour Council (a formal tripartite negotiating organisation) where business was influential, and in Parliament. Big business pursued its interests in competition policy and achieved significant results during this time. The current period differs from the post-apartheid period in light of the much less prominent role of conglomerates in the South African economy, the rise of organised black business structures, and the increasing importance of Parliament as opposed to the NEDLAC.


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