The topic at issue is successfully negotiating the ever-increasing rise of government interventionism in South African and regional merger control. Not only does interventionism have the potential to undermine the independence of the agencies, but given the increasing trend of government intervention over the past decade, there are concomitant negative effects on merger control in terms of timing and costs.
The number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and indeed Africa as a whole, which require mandatory merger notification, has increased dramatically in recent times. South Africa, which has the largest economy in Africa and has had a merger control regime in place for some time now, has made significant contributions to merger jurisprudence in Sub-Saharan Africa already. Accordingly, as many regional countries adopt competition law legislation or specific merger control regimes, they will look increasingly towards South Africa’s Competition Authorities to assist in interpreting and enforcing competition law policies.
In addition with this growth in regimes there are significant challenges for companies (and advisors on their behalf) engaging in multi-jurisdictional mergers principally due to the lack of uniformity across the respective jurisdictions. In particular, when one considers the unique merger review considerations that the South African authorities take into account, it becomes clear that navigating through the field of merger control in South Africa and indeed many African countries requires great skill and care.