The Namibian Competition Commission was successfully launched in
December 2009, nearly six years after the Namibian Competition Act
was passed. What are the implications for South African and
neighbouring entities with business links and interests in
The NaCC has been a long envisaged goal for the Namibian
legislature and hopefully signals the beginning of an effective
body which can oversee and promote healthy competition within the
ever-growing Namibian economy. The NaCC will allow for the
implementation and enforcement of Namibian competition law as
enshrined in its Competition Act and is an encouraging step towards
ensuring the infiltration and implementation of competition
policies and laws on the African continent.
Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Minister of Trade and
Industry, Daniel Nghidinua, explained at the launch of the NaCC
that the body aims to enhance the development of enterprises, which
in turn will hopefully yield economic benefit and growth in the
form of competitive prices and healthy competition between
manufacturers and suppliers of goods and services in Namibia. The
NaCC aspires to promote and safeguard competition within the
Namibian market and to ensure that this is done in a way that does
not compromise consumers' interests.
The Act is applicable to all economic activity within or having
an effect in Namibia, barring the exempt categories of collective
bargaining activities and concerted conduct designed to achieve a
non-commercial socio-economic objective. The legislation
specifically deals with the major competition concerns of abuse of
dominance, anti-competitive mergers and any anti-competitive
agreements or arrangements between firms and it is now up to the
NaCC to effectively enforce and implement competition policies for
the benefit of consumers and to enhance competition as a whole.
The enforcement and interpretation of the Act have been
supplemented by the rules made under the 2003 Act, which were
published in March 2008. Firms throughout the Namibian business
sector, as well as South African companies which have business
interests there, must ensure that they are familiar with the Act
and rules now that the NaCC us finally up and running, in order to
ensure that they do not fall foul of the Act.
Although in theory, the establishment of the NaCC is certainly a
step in the right direction and the body will enable the proper
enforcement of competition policy, there is according to the
interim chairperson of the Commission, Dr Omu Kakujaha, a need to
develop the investigative skills of the Commission's
investigators, as well as the general analytical, research and
legal skills of the Commission's employees.
According to Dr Kakujaha, there is a limited number of people
with the required knowledge or skills who could play a role in the
NaCC and its potential investigations into any problematic
practices. It is now up to the Namibian competition authorities to
ensure that the relevant expenditure and resources are made
available to ensure the NaCC is able to effectively tackle
competition related issues. This is stated to be a top priority for
The role of South Africa's Competition Commission should not
be overlooked and there are definite similarities between the two
bodies' empowering legislation. Speaking at the NaCC launch,
the Commissioner at the South African Competition Commission, Shan
Ramburuth, observed that Namibia and South Africa have similarities
in the law and therefore Namibia can learn from South Africa's
experiences. The South African Commission has also done extensive
investigations and frequent prosecutions of prohibited mergers and
anti-competitive practices and therefore has valuable experience
which it can share with its Namibian counterpart to assist it with
its expansion of expertise.
The Namibian launch of its own Commission is a welcome step
towards a progressive, competitive and flourishing African
continent, but it does signal the need for hard work and
specialised training in the field of compliance both on the part of
the Authority, and for companies with Namibian interests. The
progression and effectiveness of the NaCC will be interesting to
follow, as will the development of competition law in other African
countries, which will no doubt follow suit. Companies with
interests in Namibia should not rely on a slow start and must
ensure that any anti competitive practices are discovered and
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