Most Read Contributor in South Africa, September 2016
The Constitution 17th Amendment Bill (the
"Bill") was adopted by the National
Assembly on Tuesday 20 November 2012, by 276 votes to 25.
Before the Bill comes into operation it must still be referred to
the President of South Africa for assent and then published in the
The amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of South
Africa, No. 108 of 1996 (the
"Constitution") contained in the Bill
are far reaching and will likely have a significant effect on the
entire legal system in South Africa.
There are also specific amendments to the appellate regime in
competition and labour matters. In this regard, the Bill
removes the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Appeal (the
"SCA") to hear reviews and appeals from
the Competition Appeal Court (the "CAC")
and the Labour Appeal Court (the
In terms of the current wording of section 168 of the
Constitution, the SCA is the apex court in relation to competition
and labour appeals. The Bill has removed such authority,
effectively rendering the CAC as the court of final instance in all
competition matters. The same applies to the LAC in the
labour context. The amended section 168 will read as follows,
"The Supreme Court of Appeal may decide appeals in any
matter arising from the High Court of South Africa or a court of
status similar to the High Court of South Africa, except in respect
of labour or competition matters to such extent as may be
determined by an Act of Parliament".
In addition, the Bill makes significant amendments to the
jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court (the
"CC"). Currently, section 167 of the
Constitution limits the jurisdiction of the CC to matters of a
constitutional nature. The Bill significantly expands the authority
of the CC as the amendment provides that the CC may hear an appeal
in "any other matter, if the Constitutional Court grants
leave to appeal on the grounds that the matter raises an arguable
point of law of general public importance which ought to be
considered by that Court".
In our view, therefore :
The SCA will no longer have jurisdiction to hear appeals
from the CAC; BUT
An appeal from the CAC will often lie to the CC as, in most
competition law matters, issues of "general public
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Sub-Saharan Africa is primed for an era of sustainable growth. As other markets across Latin America and Asia face short-term challenges and many advanced economies decelerate, the outlook remains encouraging for sub-Saharan Africa to gather speed and create greater opportunities for its rapidly growing population.
The United Arab Emirates ("UAE") recently introduced its competition law: Federal Law No. 4 of 2012 ("Competition Law").
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