15 April 2019

The Competition Tribunal this week dismissed the
Competition Commission’s complaint referral against construction company WBHO Construction in which
it was alleged to have colluded on a South African National Roads Agency

The matter stemmed from the commission’s
industry-wide investigation into the construction

 industry in 2006.

The commission alleged that WBHO and Group Five had
entered into a collusive agreement to fix trading conditions in a tender
relating to a portion of road along the N17 between
New Canada and Soccer City, in Johannesburg.

The basis of the commission’s case was a meeting
held between construction company
representatives in July 2006, under the auspices of the South African Forum
of Civil Engineering Contractors,
to discuss the contract’s allocation of risk and clarification of matters.

The commission alleged that the companies agreed to
fix trading conditions at this meeting.

In its order, the tribunal said the commission was
unable to prove that there was an agreement between the companies to align
their bids for the tender.

“We were given no reason by the commission to treat this meeting as one that was any more than a tender clarification-seeking meeting,” the tribunal said.

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