The President may get a say in corporate mergers that affect national security
- The government intends to put an amendment of competition law before Parliament this month. It published an outline of the changes on Thursday.
- One planned change is to bring the promotion of businesses owned by black people into competition law.
- Another is giving the President and his Cabinet a say in mergers – when they "affect the national security interests of the Republic".
The President will get a say in corporate mergers if they affect national security, if Parliament passes a Bill due to be put in front of it soon.
On Thursday the Economic Development Department gazetted a standard notice of the upcoming Bill, which has long been anticipated. But one part in particular caught the attention of competition experts.
One of the intentions with the legislation change is to "facilitate the effective participation of the National Executive" – the President and Cabinet – in competition proceedings. And specifically "making provision for National Executive intervention in respect of mergers that affect the national security interests of the Republic."
Gazetted notices of upcoming legislation typically use the preamble of the legislation verbatim, and that preamble typically closely follows the law it describes.
Both "intervention" and "national security" are broad concepts in law, possibly pointing to wide-ranging new powers to be granted to the President.
The memorandum also says the Bill will seek to "protect and stimulate the growth of small and medium businesses and firms owned and controlled by historically disadvantaged persons".
The Bill itself will only become public once it has been introduced to Parliament. This is due to happen during the course of July, the Economic Development Department said.
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