Before contacting the Competition Tribunal, please browse our FAQ section to determine if it answers a particular question on your mind.

Who enforces the Competition Act?
Three institutions are responsible for the application of the Competition Act, namely the Competition Commission, the Competition Tribunal and the Competition Appeal Court.

What is the difference between the Competition Tribunal and the Competition Commission?
The Competition Commission is the investigative and prosecutorial authority that investigates complaints regarding anti-competitive conduct, which it can refer to the Competition Tribunal for hearing. In this regard it acts as the “prosecutor” before the Competition Tribunal “the court”. The Competition Commission can adjudicate on small and intermediate mergers, but in the case of large mergers it can only make a recommendation to the Competition Tribunal after investigating the merger. The Competition Tribunal can choose to approve, conditionally approve or prohibit the large merger. The Competition Commission’s decisions on small and intermediate mergers can be taken on review to the Competition Tribunal.

What is the role of the Competition Tribunal?
The Competition Tribunal is in effect a court of first instance in all competition matters, adjudicating on and providing remedies in respect of large mergers, interim relief applications, and complaints relating to prohibited practices. Examples of prohibited practice cases would be those involving cartels or abuse of dominance. It also acts as an appeal body in matters over which the Competition Commission has decision-making authority such as intermediate mergers and exemptions. It may impose remedies such as prohibiting a merger, imposing interim relief, levying administrative penalties and ordering divestitures, etc. Decisions of the Competition Tribunal can be appealed to the Competition Appeal Court, a special division of the High Court.

Who works for the Competition Tribunal?
The Competition Tribunal consists of 11 members, of whom five are appointed as permanent members and six as part-time members. Some members are lawyers and other economists. Members are appointed by the South African President for a term of five years. There is a Chairperson and deputy chairperson. Supporting staff are appointed by the Chairperson and act as the secretariat of the Competition Tribunal.

What rules govern the Competition Tribunal proceedings?
The governing rules are the COMPETITION TRIBUNAL RULES

Can I bring a case to the Competition Tribunal?
The Competition Commission or any private party can file a complaint with the Competition Tribunal. However, in the case of a private party, it can only file a complaint with the Competition Tribunal after the Competition Commission has investigated the complaint and decided to issue a notice of non-referral. Note that if the private party elects to self-refer the complaint, it could be held liable for costs should it lose the case at the Competition Tribunal.

A case can also be referred to the Competition Tribunal for adjudication by a High Court if a party before that Court raises matters having competition law implications.

Is there a fee attached to filing a case with the Competition Tribunal?
Yes - a filing fee of R100 must accompany a complaint referral or an interim relief application. This is payable via EFT or cash.

Do I need a lawyer to represent me?
The Competition Tribunal proceedings are quite informal and private parties can represent themselves, should they wish. However, since the law is complex, it is strongly advisable to have legal representation.

How do I file a complaint referral?
Upon non-referral by the Competition Commission, and within 20 business days, a private party/complainant can self-refer a complaint to the Competition Tribunal. When a private party files a complaint with the Competition Tribunal the complainant must complete the CT1(2) REFERRAL OF COMPLAINT BY COMPLAINANT FORM, with affidavit and supporting documents. It must be filed with the Competition Tribunal to get a date stamp and a case number, after which it must be served on all the respondents and the Competition Commission. Please refer to Rules 14 – 24 of the COMPETITION TRIBUNAL RULES. A filing fee of R100 will be required.

How do I apply for interim relief?
Only after lodging a complaint with the Competition Commission, can a party bring an application for interim relief to the Competition Tribunal. The application must be filed with the Competition Tribunal on a CT6 NOTICE OF MOTION FORM, with an affidavit and supporting documents. The Competition Tribunal will date stamp the application and give it a case number, after which it must be served on all the respondents and the Competition Commission. Please refer to Rules 26-28 of the COMPETITION TRIBUNAL RULES. A filing fee of R100 will be required.

Can I ask the Competition Tribunal to review a decision of the Competition Commission to prohibit/conditionally approve my small/intermediate merger?
Yes. Any party to a merger may, within 10 business days after the Competition Commission issued its decision, on written notice and in the prescribed form CT4 REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION OF AN INTERMEDIATE MERGER FORM, request the Competition Tribunal to consider the conditions or the prohibition of the merger. Please refer to Rules 32-34 of the COMPETITION TRIBUNAL RULES.

Where can I find information on the status of a case?
For any information regarding ongoing cases, kindly contact the Registrar or Case Manager assigned to the case. Email ctsa@comptrib.co.za

Will my confidential business information remain confidential?
Any confidential information that is brought before the Competition Tribunal must be indicated as such on a CC7 CONFIDENTIALITY CLAIM FORM. Confidential information is never released to the public unless the party who filed it consents to it. Please refer to the TRIBUNAL PRACTICE NOTE ON CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION IN REASONS.

Can I intervene in a case before the Competition Tribunal?
Any person who has a material interest in a matter may apply to intervene in the Competition Tribunal proceedings by filing a notice of motion using the CT6 NOTICE OF MOTION FORM, which must include a concise statement of the nature of the person’s interest in the proceedings. After the Competition Tribunal has date stamped the application and given it a case number, the applicant must serve the application to intervene on all parties in the proceedings. Please refer to Rule 46 of the COMPETITION TRIBUNAL RULES.

Who will hear my case?
The Chairperson will assign a case to a panel composed of three members of the Competition Tribunal. At least one member on the panel must have legal training and experience. The Chairperson will designate one member of the panel to preside over the panel’s proceedings.

What is the format of a hearing?
The Competition Tribunal tries to hold its hearings less formally than would a court. Merger hearings would be a good example of this. However, sometimes formality is needed in cases - particularly in prohibited practice cases and where hearings more closely resemble those of a court with examination and cross-examination of witnesses and legal argument. All hearings, except pre-hearings, are transcribed.

What is a pre-hearing?
The purpose of a pre-hearing is essentially to deal with the timetable and any procedural considerations related to a case. Pre-hearings are normally conducted by one member only. Please refer to Rules 21-22 of the COMPETITION TRIBUNAL RULES.

How long does the process take?
Cases before the Competition Tribunal often raise complicated competition issues and may involve a significant number of parties, so it may be difficult to know at the outset how long a particular case will last. However, the Competition Tribunal does seek to manage the timetable and aim to complete “straightforward” cases as soon as possible.

In terms of the COMPETITION TRIBUNAL RULES large, small and intermediate mergers must be set down for hearing or pre-hearing within 10 business days of the Competition Commission filing its recommendation in the case of large mergers, or in the case of small and intermediate mergers after the filing date. Within 10 business days of completing the hearing the Competition Tribunal must either approve, with or without conditions, or prohibit the merger. Within 20 business days of its decision, the Competition Tribunal must issue written reasons for its decision.

Complaint referrals and procedural matters will be set down for pre-hearing and hearing as soon as pleadings have closed. These matters can run from one day or for years depending on the litigation process followed by parties.

Where does the Competition Tribunal hear cases?
All Tribunal hearings are held at Block C of the dti Campus, 77 Meintjies Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria.

Who can attend the Competition Tribunal’s hearings?
Any person can attend a hearing. In the event of confidential information being presented during the hearing, the presiding member on the panel will announce that the hearing will go in camera and the public will be requested to leave the hearing room. The Competition Tribunal tries to keep in camera sessions as short as possible. The public will be called back to the hearing as soon as the confidential session ends.

Are the transcripts of hearings publicly available?
Please contact the Registrar for copies of hearing transcripts.

How can I obtain copies of the Competition Tribunal’s Reasons or Competition Appeal Court judgments?
Public versions of all the Competition Tribunal’s reasons for decisions in cases including the judgments of the Competition Appeal Court are available here.

What can I do if I do not agree with the Competition Tribunal’s decision?
All decisions of the Competition Tribunal can be appealed to the Competition Appeal Court, a special division of the High Court, which sits in Cape Town.

Do I have to pay costs if the Competition Tribunal decides against me?
Should the Competition Tribunal award costs to the winner, the loser will have to pay the costs as ordered.

Does the Competition Tribunal keep the money when I have to pay an administrative penalty?
In terms of SECTION 59(4) OF THE ACT all fines imposed by the Competition Tribunal must be paid to the Competition Commission which in turn pays the fines into the National Revenue Fund.

Do you have examples of different applications properly filed with the Competition Tribunal?