ITAC & Competition Commission on 2015/16 Annual Reports

Economic Development

11 October 2016
Chairperson: Mr A Cele (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Annual Reports:
International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa [126MB] [email]
Competition Commission of South Africa

ITAC received a record ten applications for tariff increases on primary steel from Arcelor Mittal (AMSA), South Africa’s largest steel producer. The Committee was taken through achievements against targets set for tariff investigations; trade remedies and import and export control. The policy intent of a price preference system for scrap metal included allowing the domestic industry access to affordable quality scrap. Impact assessments were carried out with respect to the impact of anti-dumping duties on drawn and float glass imported from China and India. Anti-dumping duties helped increase manufacture output and to recapture the domestic market. ITAC obtained an unqualified audit opinion. There was no irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure. ITAC was in a sound financial position, with more assets than liabilities.

In discussion, there were comments and questions about the improvement of ITAC finances; concern about AMSA; the price preferencing system and scrap metal; cheap imports from China; compliance of importers and exporters with enforcement outcomes, and Chinese wheelbarrows.

The core functions of the Competition Commission were enforcement, mergers and acquisitions, and advocacy. A newly adopted 2015-2020 strategy focused more on sectors impacting on the lives of the poor. The Competition Appeal Court overturned the Competition Tribunal’s ruling that found Sasol guilty of excessive pricing. South Africa hosted the fourth BRICS International Competition Conference. Prohibition and approvals of mergers were discussed. Examples of decisions demonstrating economic impact were provided such as the Commission prohibiting the merger between Pick n Pay and Fruit & Veg City in 2007, to the benefit of Fruit & Veg City. The Commission had conducted a study to assess competition dynamics in the cement industry after the Commission had intervened. Various new cement manufacturers had successfully entered the market. Audit outcomes included a material finding on compliance with legislation. R1.7 million irregular expenditure was related to supply chain management (SCM).

In discussion, there were comments and questions about cases carried over into the following year; the 32 percent increase in expenditure; effects of the criminalisation of cartel conduct; the abuse of dominance by State Owned Entities (SOEs); the #datamustfall campaign; price manipulation and hi-jacking; the SCM issue involving the Commissioner; women in strategic positions; regression in audit outcomes; updating of the organogram; the Engineering Council of South Africa and the identification of work; progress with construction cartel outcomes, and compliance with key legislation required for a clean audit.


Meeting report

International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) Annual Report 2015/16
Commissioner Siyabulela Tsengiwe and CFO Mr Zanoxolo Koyana presented. ITAC had to undertake its work within a context of slowed economic growth. ITAC received a record of ten applications for tariff increases on primary steel from one company, Arcelor Mittal (AMSA), South Africa’s largest steel producer. ITAC conducted investigations that strengthened requirements on reciprocal commitments by the primary steel industry. The Committee was taken through achievements against targets for tariff investigations; trade remedies and import and export control. The policy intent of a price preference system for scrap metal exports included allowing the domestic industry to have access to affordable quality scrap and to supply inputs into the government infrastructure programme. ITAC had to be more visible and proactive in the technical advice it provided on the implementation of trade policy. An impact assessment was carried out on the impact of anti-dumping duties on drawn and float glass originating in or imported from China and India. Anti-dumping duties helped to increase manufacturing output, and to recapture the domestic market. The Audit Committee had met with Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) to ensure that there were no unresolved audit issues. ITAC obtained an unqualified audit opinion in 2015/16 and it did not incur irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure. ITAC was in a sound financial position with more assets than liabilities.

Mr S Tleane (ANC) was encouraged by the fact that AGSA had smiled on ITAC documents. He appreciated that ITAC was doing a formidable job in building the economy and business, especially among the previously disadvantaged. He asked what could be done to improve ITAC finances. The budget had to be looked at to ask what could be done to improve finances and consequently the quality of work.

Mr M Mbatha (EFF) said that he wished to comment on the last part of the briefing, presented by the CFO. International involvement had been reduced. There was rationalising with regard to choosing which international trips were highly important. The Commission would no longer be available for some of its international commitments. He advised that ITAC increase its internal capacity with respect to conference venues, so as to use internal facilities.

Ms Matsimbi appreciated ITAC performance, and the Auditor-General’s report. She was worried about Arcelor Mittal (AMSA). The Competition Commission had fined it, but ITAC was protecting it. She asked if the country was being robbed.

Dr M Cardo (DA) referred to scrap metal controls (slide11). Details were given about the price preferencing system. He asked if latest review guidelines were in the final stages. He asked about progress with the price preferencing system, especially on provisions on the sole port of export at Port Elizabeth. He asked for a briefing on discussions with key stakeholders since May. He referred to the impact study to be finalised in June 2017. He asked what it was for, and what the terms of reference were.

Mr I Pikinini (ANC) asked if there was compliance among importers and exporters with enforcement outcomes.

Mr P Atkinson (DA) referred to the Auditor-General’s of the previous year. ITAC had audit findings on financial statements and internal controls. He hoped that these were addressed by correctly qualified people. He asked what progress had been made since the previous year.

The Chairperson asked about an effective way to deal with cheap products brought in from China.

Mr Zanoxolo Koyana, Competition Commission CFO, replied saying he had highlighted the way in which the Auditor-General (AG) had reported on that. There was engagement with the AG during the course of the audit. There was reconciliation, and significant improvement on the findings of the previous year. There was change in terms of how people worked. New knowledge was recruited into the finance team. He answered about the reduction in cost containment. Sometimes people had to attend international engagements, when investigation was needed. ITAC was not saying that people were not to travel. There was a unit in ITAC that dealt with international trips. With regard to conferences, ITAC used to work in hotels. It worked with that industry. ITAC would look at what the Treasury proposed. There was improvement with regard to finances and financial statements. Agreement and resolution could be reached about some of the issues highlighted by the AG, before the AG report was even presented. It would be taken up to management level. There were no recurring audit queries. Best candidates were recruited to work towards a very clean audit. There were some minor issues in the current year that could have been addressed. There were lots of changes in the way ITAC worked.

Commissioner Tsengiwe answered Mr Tleane about improvement of ITAC finances. The challenge was that the organisational structure was outdated. Units were transferred from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in 2003, to assist with the establishment of ITAC. There had never been a strategic review of the organisational structure since then. Capacity was overstretched. Challenges related to the amount and quality of work. There were technicalities and complexities. The current structure was not adequate to deal with litigation. Businesses were taking ITAC to court. Quality recommendations had to be made to the Minister. There were challenges related to impact assessment. If he were asked what would place ITAC on a higher growth plane, he would reply that it would be a review of the ITAC structure. There were increasing demands but the structure had remained the same. ITAC made a submission to the Department. ITAC was not short on financing, but a review of the organisational structure would necessitate more money. He referred to cost-cutting on international trips. ITAC was involved in international engagements, besides teams that had to carry out investigations abroad. Verification had to be done. ITAC participated in the WTO, SADC and SACU. Currently international travel was only motivated for when it was critical for ITAC to be there. ITAC was being more selective.

Commissioner Tsengiwe answered Dr Cardo about reviewing scrap metal guidelines. Scrap metal producers and consumers were involved. Hitherto exports had dominated what was sold domestically. ITAC was looking at increased interaction between domestic consumers and scrap metal. Proposed amendments were published. All parties were heard by the Commission. Concerns were raised by parties. He could not as yet divulge specifics related to amendments. All submissions were considered. After engagement with the Department, ITAC would decide which set policy was to be implemented. ITAC would conduct a study to ask if the price preference system could achieve the objective of promoting domestic scrap metal. Metal fabricators did not have access to quality scrap metal. Domestic mills and foundries had to gain access to that. Export trends since the system was implemented, had to be looked at. He repeated that exports used to dominate what was sold domestically.

Commissioner Tsengiwe replied to Mr Pikinini that by and large there was compliance by both importers and exporters with enforcement outcomes. SARS, SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had to deal with these issues. Imported and exported goods that were not handled according to regulations were confiscated. Transgressors were sometimes punished, but some got away.

About cheap imports from China, Commissioner Tsengiwe replied that this was a difficult one. There was a ceiling beyond which one could not go. Tariff protection needed for agricultural and manufactured goods was already there, especially in the value-added and labour intensive sectors. A ceiling had been reached with clothing and textiles. Goods from China went at prices that jumped over the highest tariff. Trade remedies included anti-dumping action. There were countries that acted against dumping by China, like the EU and the US. They had to watch China in terms of market economic status. Dumping was normally value less the export price, the normal value being the domestic sales value in the country from which the import originates. There were countries that treated China as a non-market. They had various options to establish normal value. South Africa had to use domestic sales prices in China. ITAC was able to launch investigations. It was found that domestic sales prices in China were as cheap as its exports to SA. It was a struggle to get to the difference to establish a dumping duty. ITAC had been constrained in the use of the anti-dumping instrument since 2005. It was a senstitive matter, as it was part of the Chinese industrial policy. Countervailing investigations that dealt with dumping had to look at counter measures that scrutinised government subsidies. Safeguards were hard to make use of because standards had to be very high for what could be shown in terms of import surge and unforeseen circumstances. ITAC could act when there was serious injury, but it was constrained with regard to imports from China.

He responded that in AMSA's settlement with the Competition Commission, AMSA made a commitment to invest R4.6 billion into the country. The company had engaged in uncompetitive behaviour. In cases where companies were found to contravene the Competition Act by engaging in anti-competitive behaviour, that country still was not protected from low-price imports. The government was not being taken for a ride by AMSA. Even where there was monopoly, a company still invested in SA. If the company was not protected from low-price imports, in the medium or long term, SA could lose those companies.

Mr Mbatha referred to Chinese wheelbarrows. There used to be many South African companies involved in wheelbarrow manufacture. He asked about the nature of damage caused by Chinese imports, and whether it was pricing or market shedding. He suspected that it was both. He asked what had to be done about it. There were big instances of unemployment.

Commissioner Tsengiwe replied that ITAC investigated the matter of Chinese wheelbarrows. The wheelbarrows came in at very low prices, and domestic firms could not compete. Domestic prices were depressed. There was material injury through squeezed margins, loss of domestic market volumes and shares, and job losses.

Competition Commission 2015/16 Annual Report
Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele and CFO Mr Molatlhegi Kgauwe presented. The core functions of the Competition Commission were enforcement, mergers and acquisitions, and advocacy. A newly adopted 2015-2020 strategy focused more on sectors that had an impact on the lives of the poor. The Competition Appeal Court overturned the Competition Tribunal’s ruling that found Sasol guilty of excessive pricing. The Commision considered merger applications where Vodacom made a bid to aquire Neotel and MTN and intended to acquire certain radio access network assets of Telkom. SA hosted a successful fourth BRICS International Competition Conference. The World Bank published a study which found that sanctioning of cartels in the maize, poultry and pharmaceuticals sectors could lift an estimated 202 000 people above the poverty line through lowering the retail prices of such goods. The Commission had recommended the prohibition of a merger between Pick n Pay and Fruit & Veg City in 2007 and market participants were of the view that it had positive effects. Fruit & Veg City experienced substantial growth and evolution since the merger was abandoned. The Competition Commission conducted a study to assess competition dynamics in the cement industry after the Commission’s intervention. Various new cement manufacturers had entered into regions previously allocated to other manufacturers due to the cartel. Prohibition of various mergers was discussed, as well as approvals recommended, key cases referred to the Tribunal, and abuse of dominance. The Commission launched a market inquiry into the grocery retail sector. Audit outcomes included material findings on compliance with applicable legislation. R1.7 million irregular expenditure related to SCM and was currently being investigated.
Mr P Atkinson (DA) asked if cases were dealt with on an annual basis. A certain number of cases was being carried over each year. In between 2013 and 2014 there was a total of 214 cases. In the previous year there was a total of 200 cases of which 36 were carried over. That amounted to 18 to 22 percent of all cases. He asked if there was a lack of personnel, or whether some cases came late in the year. He referred to the increased expenditure of 32% and the big jump in staff employed.

Dr Cardo asked about the implementation of legislative provisions regarding criminalisation. He asked about the effects that criminalisation of cartel conduct would have. He asked how it affected the corporate leniency policy. It could be a disincentive to come forward knowing that directors could spend 10 years in jail for doing so. He asked if there were further amendments to the Competition Act on cartel conduct in the pipeline, and what that would entail. Abuse of dominance was prevalent in the State Owned Entities (SOEs). The Commission had made statements at the UCT conference about that. SAA’s behaviour had put many out of business nationwide. He asked if there was investigation into the abuse of dominance by SOEs. He asked about procurement and contract management, as stated on page 110 of the Annual Report. Close family members had business interests in a contract awarded by a public entity. He asked if that matter was referred to the SAPS.

Mr Mbatha referred to the Formula One merger, which was arguably a buyout. Coordinated mergers of that kind were not found in the market any more. He commented that in the past, if the majority travelled by plane on Sunday, the price would be R250 or R200 less on a Monday morning. It was no longer the case. There was a market segment lost to regular travellers. He asked what had happened to that. He asked what the turnaround period was for the Minister to approve certain levels of change in the organogram. The turnaround would affect the content of the work done in that year. ITAC did not operate as a department or established entity. It operated as a market associated formation. If that was a problem for the authorities, it would affect the nature of the ITAC enterprise. Monopolies on the technical side were not allowed. He asked for an opinion on the #datamustfall campaign. The role of the Commission was to find new players, to make business easy in SA. Price manipulation and hijacking was not being handled well. Data was an untouchable subject. It was not because players were not known, but because they coordinated their activities. South Africans seemed to accept that things were supposed to be expensive.

Mr Pikinini commented that if there was overlap of work into a following year, a backlog would be created. He referred to the SCM issue. People resigned and created consultant companies. The same thing had happened in the previous year. The AG found out about it. The question was whether the person had gottten away with murder, or had done the work, and carried out the functions required of him. The elephant in the room was the Committee had to know that the matter would be followed up.

Mr Tleane commented that when applications for mergers were approved, there had to be conditions to protect workers. He asked if the Commission could monitor companies in the case of a prohibited merger, to see that workers were not victimised, for instance. He asked if there was a law that prescribed monitoring. He asked about the kind of costs involved when additional panel members were required to adjudicate appeals. He asked what could be done to ensure that cases taken up did not end up being lost in the appeal court. Companies repeated contraventions all the time. He asked how those who had been in the wrong more than once, could be deterred from persisting with contravention. The CFO had explained about the R1.7 million related to the resignation and return of the Commissioner. But the more he explained, the bigger the problem seemed to be. He asked that in future such matters be included in the report, and not in the form of an additional explanantion. He asked when it was detected for the first time. The Commissioner had left in 2013 and there had been no previous discussion of the matter. The explanation by the CFO suggested that there was perhaps implication of the Commissioner. A clearer report was needed, not prepared in such a way as to show no criminality.

Ms C Matsimbi (ANC) asked where the Other Income on page 133 of the Annual Report, was from. She asked if internal auditors were effective. She referred to the issue of women. The question was whether they were not in fact working in the kitchen. Women had to be in strategic positions. She asked, with reference to the R1.7 million, how it had happened that SCM policies were not in place.

The permanent Committee Chairperson, Ms Coleman, who had been delayed, joined the meeting. She asked that Mr Cele, who had been elected as Acting Chairperson, continue to chair the meeting.

Ms E Coleman (ANC) commented that it was a very important report. The Commission had to tell the country if it should continue or not, and whether its work was valuable. The Commission was motivating for HR and finance resources. There was regression in its audit outcomes. The Commission was not outcome audited. Had it been, a lot may have been discovered. She was worried about what the CFO had explained. The question was whether the Commission was getting better. Audit regression meant that management had weakened. She asked why that was so. There was negligence in terms of adhering to legislation. SCM was very important. There were weaknesses related to systems and controls not being in place. If things could not be detected during the course of the year, there were challenges. It could be an HR problem or someone had decided to relax a bit. The Commisioner and the acting Deputy Commissioner had to look at issues related to the updated organogram. Challenges had to be looked at while a response from the Ministry was awaited.

Ms Coleman noted that when the Committee met with the Engineering Council of South Africa, the Council explained that identification of work would bring benefits to them if they could get exemption. They could get organised and function just like any other practice. They were getting weakened every day on account of lack of exemption. If there was no organisation, there could be a mushrooming of people. She asked if the Commission in reviewing that application had benchmarked domestically, and with other countries. The Council felt that it was not being taken seriously by SA. She took the point that it could deprive people from entry. But it was hard to attract good engineers to South Africa. There were a number of various associations. If one received a title like electrical engineer, it proved that one had worked hard to get to where one was. It had to be recognised. If she were to say that she was Dr Cardo, she would be taken seriously. If anyone could enter, the question was how one proved that one was an electrical engineer if one was not properly identified as such. She wondered if she was undermining a Commission outcome. There could be deeper issues she was not privy to.

Ms Coleman asked about progress with the construction cartel outcome. There had to be monitoring mechanisms to prevent it recurring. People could claim that because of the pricing system they were wrongly priced during 2008 to 2010, and demand compensation. If claims were not monitored, it could become a challenge. Government might try to organise itself but the question was what about individuals who wanted to make claims. Someone had to speak on behalf of consumers in general. There was a lack of advanced lawyers to represent consumers in South Africa. The Commission could start to conscientise people about their rights. She asked if there was progress, or whether the Commission waited for people to start lodging civil claims. She asked at what stage court cases related to Corporate Leniency Policy (CLP) applications was. There were many loopholes. It was hard to deal with when a company participated in a cartel. The Commission investigated in order to grant or not grant exemptions. It had to look beyond simply granting leniency. Conditions had to be set down so that the same behaviour was not repeated. Leniency without conditions was not appropriate since the public interest and criminalisation clauses were established. She supported the criminalisation clause, although she knew that there would be a lot of resistance to it. She asked if there was capacity to process criminalisation cases. There had to be definite outcomes to criminalisation processes.
Mr A Cele (ANC), Acting Chairperson, asked how long people in the Commission had been in acting positions. He asked how often the Commission did road shows. It was very important in the sector.

Commissioner Bonakele replied that their cases were carried over into the following year because most could not be completed in one year. On average they took two years. There were also cases like mergers that commenced later in the year. The Commission planned in real time, not according to the financial year.

Commissioner Bonakele commented that there were policy questions. The law as it currently stood impacted on immunity applications. There had to be development with respect to criminalisation. It was discussed with the policy maker. The question around the Corporate Leniency Policy was what had to be foregone to have an efficient enforcement system. Cartels were getting away without fines. It could not be immune against claim damages, whether it had immunity or not. It was a big policy question. At a conference in the previous week three hours were devoted to the implications of criminalisation, including the capacity of the NPA to impact on the CLP.

Commissioner Bonakele replied that the Commission was concerned about the role of SOEs in the economy. The SAA matter was pursued, it was in the public domain. Regarding Transnet, the Ports Regulator was engaged, the country’s competitiveness was compromised if SOEs could not get goods moving quickly.

Commissioner Bonakele noted that the issue of Competition Commission capacity was submitted to the Ministry, but there had been no response. The state of the economy impacted on revenue. The Commission wanted finality about its structure. He replied about acting appointments, that no deputy commissioners had been appointed for some time. On supply chain management, he had been transparent in the matter. He had been involved in some companies and had then resigned. The resignation was apparently not effective, and the AG picked it up. There was no elephant in the room. The AG was not an investigator in the matter. Partnership was not proved. To say that two people were partners was not conclusive evidence of partnership. He would admit that the paperwork could have been done better. The Commission itself initiated the SCM problems and sent it to the AG.

On the prohibition of mergers, he noted that the Commission prioritised certain sectors. The Commission only monitored where it had imposed conditions. There was a special unit that did the monitoring. There was no ongoing monitoring of measures, except for the Pick and Pay / Fruit and Veg City merger. The Commission had to see what happened after it had intervened.

Commissioner Bonakele said that the high price of data was a spectrum issue. For operators to say that South African prices were among the highest in the world was a problem. The South African infrastructure was advanced. The Telecommunications Minister was the regulator responsible. The hands of the Commission was tied, it was not its space.

Commissioner Bonakele said that according to the organogram, the Commission investigators handed over to prosecutors. Files were not handed over. It was a resource issue, there had to be clarity. He answered Ms Coleman about the Council for the Built Environment. He suggested that there be a session for the professions in general. Lawyers wanted exemption from competition law. The Commission studied international benchmarks. Lawyers had to be asked why registration of property had to be reserved for them. It was in fact done by paralegals and secretaries. A lawyer took a percentage of the property price as his fee. Engineers were asked about the reservation of work. People protected their spaces. There were abuses in the system. The Commission benchmarked the EU with respect to engineers. But South African engineers wanted better than that. The Commission approach was to gather examples of exemptions.

Acting Deputy Commissioner, Hardin Ratshisusu, added that the Formula One acquisition of December 2011 was recommended for unconditional approval to the Tribunal. It was approved without conditions. Outcomes were taken on board. It could cause anomalies in the market. The issue could be flagged. Impact assessments were made to decide to block or approve. There up to 400 measures a year and the impact of every measure could not be noted, but the impact of the Formula One acquisition would be noted. As stated in the Annual Report, some road shows had to be deferred because of the BRICS conference. The Commission was small. There was only one person who had to cope with advocacy. The Commission went out, but it had a lot to attend to. Cases had to be dealt with on a daily basis. Advocacy was sector-specific. The Commission would propose that its research for outreach be improved. It worked with community radio stations. The public was responsive.

Commissioner Bonakele said that there was the problem of endless appeals. The Commission itself appealed. Role players had to be talked to in order to speed up decision making. Parties had to be brought together before the Tribunal in a non-adverserial way. It was not necessary to dispute everything the other party said. The Commission wanted the Committee to cooperate with it for outreach. The Commission was excluded on a previous occasion. It was an important platform for the Competition Commission.

Mr Makuale Mohlala, Head of the Cartels Division, added about the construction cartel, that work on advocacy had to involve all role players. It had to be ensured that the industry took a new competitive route. Areas where collusion was allowed had to be identified. All roleplayers had to be engaged. The question was how grading for jobs could be transformed so that certain firms were not excluded. It had to be discussed with the Department of Public Works (DPW). It appeared that there was collusion after the DPW had briefed them about tenders. Competitors talked among themselves. The Commission was talking to professionals such as quantity surveyors and project managers who were involved in collusion, about the manner in which briefs were conducted.

Commissioner Bonakele noted that the Department handled the question of when CLP could be applied for, from the vantage point of the consumer.

Ms Coleman asked if there could be a ripple effect on ordinary people.

Commissioner Bonakele replied that there could be a ripple effect on consumers. The Act did not allow anything to be done about that.

Mr Mohlala said that companies could apply for leniency at any stage. Information was needed to take the investigation forward. If information was submitted that the Commission had already, leniency was not granted. The Commission would not grant leniency if it already had evidence. Companies were encouraged to settle. It helped when companies gave evidence the Competition Commission was not aware of. The Commission was lenient if companies came forward.

Mr Molatlhegi Kgauwe, Competition Commission CFO, noted that the point was taken about the need for a detailed report on the AG finding. The matter was detected when the AG worked on SCM during the 2014/15 audit. Auditors raised the issue. The issue was discussed with the AG between the previous and the current year. He remarked on the efficiency of the internal audit, saying that internal audit was met with, post audit. The question was what to do to pick up on issues before the AG did. There was an SCM policy in place, and it was continually reviewed. Compliance with SCM procedure was a focus area. The 32% expenditure increase was related to items directly linked to the volume of cases, and expenditure on the BRICS conference. There were accommodation increases. The Commission tried to address that in general.

Commissioner Bonakele said that there had to be a trade-off between outsourced and insourced work. As long as there was not a finality of structure and lack of capacity, insourcing and outsourcing would remain a problem.

Mr Tleane commented that when corruption was being fought against, clarity was expected from the CFO about loopholes.

Ms Coleman told the CFO that the audit finding had been that there was not compliance with key legislation. The issue at stake was ineffective controls. Rigorous monitoring and control of deviations were lacking. There was an inability to identify contracts before awards were issued. The Commission was saying that it had identified the AG's issues. If it did and the AG still put it as a finding, it became an audit challenge. There was audit regression. Something was not in order. Conditions had to be accepted in order to change. The Commission seemed to be saying to the AG that it had been unfairly observed. The Commission had brought a contravention to light, and was then punished as if the AG had picked it up. The AG could not have been that bold to put it on paper as a final outcome if it did not have proof. It had to be ensured that during the process of management letters, issues were handled in such a way that it did not affect the final outcome.

Ms Coleman told the Commissioner that the Committee wanted the Commission as policy implementer to provide inputs on policy issues, and even policy development. The Commission had to say what could be improved, so that the Committee could meet with the Minister and lay these issues before him. The Committee would represent the Competition Commission on issues where it was not properly strengthened. The Commission had to submit something in writing. She would welcome further discussion on the IDO role. Professionals were benchmarking with the best, and even wanted to be better. It had to be discussed with them but the Commission had to pronounce beforehand. They had to be workshopped. The Commission had to consider what documents had to be looked for to prepare for a session. There had to be follow-up with the Minister about appointments. Progress could be seriously hampered. The Minister could help with finalising and approving the organogram. There was an outreach arrangement between the Committee and the Ministry, through the parliamentary liaison officer. She apologised for the Commission not being invited to a previous occasion. The Commission was informed in situations where there were public meeetings. On the previous occasion it was not planned to have public meetings or meetings with business people. Outreach had to include meetings where business people were addressed. The Commission could accompany the Committee, as before. She asked why outreach programmes using TV and radio to educate people, had been stopped. People were beginning to understand who the Commission was. She advised that it be continued. People could come forward to present issues the Commission was not aware of.

The Chairperson asked if the Commission could recommend documents for such a meeting.

Commissioner Bonakele replied that the Commission would have to select which documents were confidential and which not. There was lots of material on the topic. Issues of resources and appointments had been raised. It had to be costed. It was hard to decide at what level to pay people. Scarce professionals had to be employed. The Commission would respond on policy issues. There had to be a special session on criminalisation, perhaps with the Justice Portfolio Committee. The Commission would be happy to open up. It would be incorrect to look defensive about SCM. When transactions were clarified, the AG suggestions could be handled better. The AG would pick up things in one year and not in the next. He thanked Members for their support. The Commission was transparent.

The Chairperson asked for clarity on the Formula One case.

The Commissioner replied that there would be a response.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

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