Until recently, the pecuniary risks of non-compliance with the Competition Act at a firm level involved a fine of up to 10% of a firm’s turnover, and for those guilty of cartel conduct, the risk of criminal sanctions that can take the form of fines or imprisonment.
Well-defined Policies and Procedures can help your business to grow because they enhance your employees’ ability to deliver consistent, high caliber service without dramatically increasing the burden of employee management responsibilities on you.
Despite this generally accepted truth, it is surprising how many companies do not have Policies and Procedures in place that are easy to read and allow employees to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. Compliance policy documents in particular are usually full of legal jargon that makes it difficult to read – or just plain boring. They are there to “tick the box”. Hardly anyone reads them.
There are a few civil matters in which the conduct complained of is so morally reprehensible that one is left aghast at the fact that such conduct managed to continue unchecked for so long. Yet, it took a determined legal aid clinic, a textbook test case and a no-nonsense Constitutional Court to change a debt-recovery procedure that has been in operation (and subject to abuse) for nearly 40 years. Read more
Over the past 16 years there have been various competition law cases pending against Arcelor-Mittal (Mittal).
In order to bring these cases to finality, Mittal has reached a settlement agreement with the Competition Commission to pay an eye-watering and record-breaking R1.5billion fine (payable in annual installments over the next 5 years) for its involvement in cartel conduct. The fine (together with other remedies) is significant and represents the largest fine paid by a single firm to date for anti-competitive conduct. Read more
The Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill [B33-2015] was published for comment on 29 April 2015. The parliamentary process is complete and the Bill is now awaiting presidential assent. Little has been made of this Bill in the media, perhaps because the changes envisaged by the Bill has no apparent nor immediate impact on ordinary consumers.
For accountable institutions (identified in FICA), however, the Bill is a call to action. It is an opportunity for businesses to take ownership of their processes to combat money laundering and terrorist financing activities. Merely ticking the boxes will no longer suffice. Read more
The media has been flooded in recent months by stories about people who made inappropriate statements on Twitter and Facebook: Penny Sparrow, Gareth Cliff, Chris Hart etc. Why should employers care what their employees post on their private social media accounts? Because it is becoming harder and harder to separate the personal from the professional.
Currently, employees who are found making offensive or harmful statements on social media can be fired and, depending on the circumstances, can even be liable for damages. This is because the employee-employer relationship is based on the utmost good faith. Why then do you need a social media policy? Read more
As of 1 May 2016, competition law in South Africa will be strengthened when the criminalisation of hard core cartel activity becomes a reality. This amendment to the Competition Act makes it an offence for company directors or persons in a position of management authority to engage in or “knowingly acquiesce” in cartel conduct and brings competition law in line with other jurisdictions such as the United States and more recently, Australia and the United Kingdom. Read more
It has become clear in recent years that the proper treatment of their personal information matters to consumers, but why should it matter to the businesses who are using the information? Put differently, how can a business justify spending money on and committing resources to becoming POPI compliant? Because POPI compliance and the risk of not treating personal information with care is about much more than legal compliance.
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