Individuals, corporations and the economy have all fallen victim to the devastating impact of COVID-19 ("the coronavirus"). However, the recent regulations published by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Minister Patel, intends to bring some relief to the economy in its bid to fight the pandemic.

The Competition Act 89 of 1998 ("the Act"), allows the Minister to exempt categories of agreements or practices from the application of chapter 2 (prohibited practices) of the Act, in order to give effect to the purpose of the Act. The Act echoes the objectives of the Constitution in that it similarly has as one of its purposes "to promote employment and advance the social and economic welfare of South Africans".

The series of regulations published during the State of Disaster allows certain agreements between competitors (section 4), as well as between an entity, its suppliers and its customers (section 5), which typically is considered to be a contravention of the Act. The leeway afforded to competitors, suppliers and customers are all aimed at alleviating the socio-economic harms presented by the coronavirus.

We summarise the recent regulations published during the State of Disaster.  The regulations can largely be divided into two categories, being exemptive regulations and exploitative regulations. For a full summary of each regulation, click on the "read more" link below.

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