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Public Passenger Transport Market Inquiry Wrapped Up

April 26, 2021

Department of Economic Development

The Competition Commission recommends the setting up of dedicated transport authorities at provincial or metropolitan or district or municipal level, where appropriate, to promote the use of public transport as an integrated system and improve coordination.

The recommendation is contained in a summary of the findings and recommendations flowing from the Land Based Public Passenger Transport Market Inquiry published in Government Gazette 44469.

The Inquiry got off the ground on 7 June 2017.

It was designed to understand the general state of competition in the land-based public passenger transport sector.
The Commission holds the view that there are “features or a combination of features in the industry that may prevent, distort or restrict competition, and/or to achieve the purpose of the Competition Act.”

Another recommendation is that government (national and provincial government) and the South African Local Government Association need to create capacity at local government level to ensure that transport planning is prioritised by municipalities.

Other recommendations include that the transport department should address the conflict of interest between PRASA CRES and Autopax; subsidised bus contracts should be broken up into smaller contracts in order to create opportunities for new entrants and smaller bus operators; department to develop a policy that ensures efficiency and integrated planning in commuter rail services; exploring alternative funding sources to deal with infrastructure backlogs and new rail infrastructure investments and proposed subsidy policy to address fragmented subsidies in the public transport sector to improve coordination and correct the skewed distribution of subsidies between urban and rural areas.

Other notices published by the Commission include:

• Gazette 44469 – South African Petroleum Industry Association exemption from Section 4 of the Competition Act extended from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021;
• Notice 355 – Draft Guidelines on Local Procurement in the Implementation of the South African Value Chain Sugarcane Master Plan to 2030 – designed to provide guidance to the sugar industry and government on how the industry can collaborate in implementing the local procurement commitments contained in the Sugar Master Plan in a way that does not raise competition concerns – comment within 30 business days of date of publication;
• Gazette 44478 – Publication of the Impact Assessment on Covid-19 Response – based on the Covid-19 Block Exemptions to assist healthcare, retail property and banking sectors – also based on the Commission’s advocacy and enforcement of anti-price gouging Regulations during the Covid-19 disaster period.

Meanwhile, in Gazette 44469, the trade, industry and competition department called for comment on an application to the International Trade Administration Commission by ERG Industrial (Pty) Ltd for a reduction in the rate of duty on stemming plugs for mining and civil blast holes from 20% ad valorem to free of duty.

Comment is invited within four weeks of the date of publication.

In Notice 218, the department announced mergers approved by the Competition Tribunal.

Mergers include the acquisition of part of the Rental Enterprises of Steinhoff Properties (Pty) Ltd by Ultimo Properties (Pty) Ltd and JD Consumer Electronics and Appliances (Pty) Ltd; Enel Green Power Matimba 1 S.R.I by AL Rayyan Holdings LLC and Otto Brothers Distributors (Pty) Ltd by Mr Price Group Ltd.