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Stakeholders invited to participate in retail inquiry

Stakeholders are invited to participate in the market inquiry into the South African grocery retail market that the Competition Commission is currently conducting.

 Following the publication late last year of its terms of reference for the inquiry, the Commission appointed Halton Cheadle to head the panel. Lulama Mtanga and Lumkile Mondi were appointed as panellists.

Cheadle is an attorney with 38 years experience in labour law, constitutional law, administrative law and municipal law, as well as legislative drafting. He is also Professor Emeritus at the University of Cape Town.

Mtanga is a director at Lulama Mtanga Legal Consultancy and specialises in competition law.

Mondi is a senior lecturer at the School of Economic and Business Sciences of the University of the Witwatersrand.

The official commencement date of the Inquiry was 27 November 2015 and it is expected to be completed by 29 May 2017.

The draft terms of reference for the inquiry includes the following:

  • The impact of the expansion, diversification and consolidation of national supermarket chains on small and independent retailers;
  • The impact of long-term exclusive leases on competition in the sector;
  • The dynamics of competition between local- and foreign-owned small and independent retailers;
  • The impact of regulations, including municipal town planning and by-laws, on small and independent retailers;
  • The impact of buyer groups on small and independent retailers; and
  • The impact of certain identified value chains on the operations of small and independent retailers.

According to the terms of reference, the grocery retail sector includes all shops that predominantly sell fast-moving consumer goods (for example food, toiletries and liquor), whether as wholesalers, retailers, or both. The shops that the inquiry will be considering range from small informal businesses (including street traders, hawkers, spaza shops and small independent grocery stores) to supermarket chains and wholesale groups or outlets.

Stakeholders are invited to make submissions to the inquiry according to timelines supplied on the Competition Commission’s website. (www.compcom.co.za/retail-market-inquiry/).

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