Major investigation into Takealot, UberEats and Google in South Africa – final deadline set

 ·28 Jul 2023

The Competition Commission of South Africa says that it has completed its investigation into online market companies such as Takealot, UberEats, Google and others – and the final report and its decisions on the matter will be published on 31 July 2023.

The commission launched the inquiry in 2021 in response to the growing importance of the online economy and competition concerns in South Africa and other economies.

The inquiry identified leading platforms in each category of e-commerce – those that get the most consumer traffic – upon which the business users are relatively dependent, and which are, or are likely to be, entrenched.

This includes:

  • Apple App Store;
  • Google Play Store;
  • Takealot;
  • Airbnb;
  • Mr Delivery;
  • Uber Eats;
  • Property24;
  • Private Property;
  • AutoTrader;
  • Google Search.

In July 2022, the Competition Commission released an interim report stemming from the inquiry, noting specific non-competitive behaviour in the sector.

The commission recommended that certain considerations be taken into account regarding payment options for goods, how things are priced and what comes up when you search for them.

The commission found that there was a general lack of effective competition in the fees charged by app developers leading to high app prices; the way that most accommodation and food delivery services offer the same prices; and how the market seems to be against new entrants as dominant businesses pump money behind a service.

It found several competition issues around search rankings, where top positions are sold to businesses even if they are not relevant; fee discrimination, where SMEs were undermined in classifieds; and various conflicts of interest in online marketplaces.

However, the interim report was met with wide criticism by the industry players identified in the report, which resulted in an extended review and commentary period.

The final report was initially expected to be submitted on 18 November 2022, but was extended by three months to 18 February 2023.

In February, the deadline was extended by two months to April – and then in April it was extended by a further month to May.

After two more extensions of a month each in May and June, the final report will now be published on 31 July, the commission said.

“The final report includes an annexure containing the detailed Remedial Action decisions of the Inquiry in addition to the summarised versions in the main text of the report.

“The final report also includes platform category annexures which are focused on the stakeholder submissions made in respect of the Provisional Report, summarising those submissions along with the views of the Inquiry on those submissions that take a contrary view to the Provisional Report,” it said.

Read: These WhatsApp and social media posts can land you in legal trouble in South Africa

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter