Ticketing company Computicket has lost its appeal after being found guilty of abuse of dominance by the Competition Tribunal.
The appeal was dismissed with costs by the Competition Appeal Court, which confirmed that the company must pay a fine of R20 million.
In January 2019, the Competition Tribunal found Computicket guilty of abuse of dominance in contravention of the Competition Act between 2005 and 2010.
The company was ordered to pay an administrative penalty of R20 million. The Tribunal found that Computicket’s exclusive agreements with inventory providers had resulted in anticompetitive effects during the period 2005 to 2010.
During the proceedings, the commission was able to show that the agreements resulted in the closure of the market to competition.
Computicket appealed the decision and the matter was heard by the Competition Appeal Court on 25 June 2019.
The company’s central argument was that the Tribunal erred in its factual conclusions on exclusion and anticompetitive effects and that the commission’s expert witness Dr Liberty Mncube – who at the time was the chief economist of the commission – was not independent and therefore his testimony should have been dismissed.
However, in its judgement, the Tribunal said that the employment of Dr Mncube by the commission has no greater implications ‘than the appointment of an expert by a litigant’.
It also disagreed that the Tribunal had erred in its factual conclusions.
Computicket is also facing another case of anti-competitive behaviour for allegedly entering exclusive agreements with Shoprite Checkers.
The issue has already been considered by the Competition Commission who has investigated the agreements.
The case is currently before the Tribunal for prosecution and if found guilty Computicket and Shoprite Checkers will be liable for a fine of up to 10 % of turnover.