Competition Commission to appeal SABMiller case


“We are definitely appealing the SABMiller decision to the Competition Appeal Court,” acting commissioner Thembinkosi Bonakele told CNBC Africa.

The Competition Commission is a statutory body responsible for the control and evaluation of restrictive business practices, abuse of dominant positions and mergers in order to achieve equity and efficiency in the South African economy.

“The Competition Commission regrets that the hearing of its complaint against SAB and its appointed distributors has been dismissed on a technicality preventing merits from being heard”.

Bonakele added that [DATA SAB:SABMiller plc] had been dragged to court after abusing its dominance in the market.

“Abuse of dominance is a tricky kind of offence in terms of competition laws, [it’s not a scenario where players in an industry meet and fix a price]. Such kind of cases are based on undermining competition due to one’s size however, it is not easy to meet evidential threshold on such cases,” he added.

The commission is accused of taking a painstakingly longer period when dealing with investigations of abusive industry players, they argue that this is influenced by the nature of South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

SABMiller was taken to the Competition Tribunal after the brewery was charged with unfair practice.

The incident involved a wholesaler who said that South African Breweries charged him the same price it charged retailers thereby preventing him from earning a fair margin on his sales to retailers.

SABMiller was under investigation between the 2004 and 2007.

With more than 200 beer brands and 70,000 employees in over 75 countries, SABMiller is one of the world’s leading brewers.

(READ MORE: SAB Miller reviews Tsogo Sun stake)

The SABMiller is enjoying a growing business stake in soft drinks being one of the world’s largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products.

Among others, the commission is investigating cement companies, private healthcare companies, power cables, food products and Unilever.