Following a preliminary scoping of South Africa’s digital economy, the South African Competition Commission (“CCSA”) launched its market inquiry into digital markets earlier this year. The purpose of the inquiry is to optimize market conditions for the growth of small businesses and firms owned by historically disadvantaged persons, given the high levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality prevailing in the South African economy. Similarly, the scope of the inquiry is limited to online intermediation platforms because of the impact of intermediation platforms on small businesses and firms owned by historically disadvantaged persons. So far, the inquiry has received 134 written submissions from market participants and heard 51 oral submissions to date. The CCSA launched the inquiry because international studies and domestic experience indicated that there were features of online intermediation platforms which could impede, restrict or distort competition between platforms (inter-platform competition) but also competition between business users on those platforms (intra-platform competition). The inquiry is looking to explore these features with a view to understanding market dynamics, recommending solutions and instituting further action where necessary.

By Tembinkosi Bonakele1

 

On May 19, 2021, the South African Competition Commission (“CCSA”) launched its market inquiry into digital markets. While several competition agencies the world over have la

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