Constitutional Court dismisses Shoprite application, with costs
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THE Competition Commission yesterday welcomed a Constitutional Court decision to dismiss, with costs, Shoprite Checkers’ application for leave to appeal against a judgement and order of the Competition Appeal Court in favour of the commission.
Shoprite had approached the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the judgment and order handed down by the Competition Appeal Court in October, 2020, which had set aside findings made by the Competition Tribunal to the effect that the commission could not prosecute both the parent company and its wholly owned subsidiary for abuse of dominance under section 8 of the Competition Act.
Section 8 prohibits a dominant firm in the market from abusing its dominance by, among other things, engaging in conduct that has the effect of excluding its competitors from the market.
Computicket is a subsidiary of Shoprite that distributes tickets for entertainment events, bus, flights, hotel accommodation and holiday packages.
The commission found Computicket had entered into exclusive agreements with most of the inventory providers, such as theatre owners, promoters and other event organisers, in terms of which Computicket was the sole provider of ticketing services.
The commission also found that the effect of the exclusive agreements was to exclude competitors of Computicket from the market.
The commission found that after Shoprite had acquired Computicket in 2005, it played a key role in influencing Computicket’s behaviour in entering into exclusive agreements with inventory providers.
The commission decided to prosecute both Computicket and its parent company, Shoprite, for engaging in abuse of dominance by excluding its competitors from the market through these exclusive agreements.
The Constitutional Court’s decision means the commission will be able to continue with its prosecution of Computicket and Shoprite in the Competition Tribunal.