Inaugural Competition Commission moot court

October 15th, 2019
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Back row, from left: Executive assistant and acting case adviser to the Commission of Competition Commission, Songezo Mabece; Commissioner of the Competition Commission, Tembinkosi Bonakele; recently retired Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal, Norman Manoim; Judge of the Competition Appeal Court, David Unterhalter; Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng; Mmapheto Mogoeng; Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal, Mondo Mazwai; Deputy Commissioner of the Competition Commission, Hardin Ratshisusu; Prof William Kovacic; Chidochashe Gowera; Deputy Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal of South Africa, Enver Daniels; Tapiwa Mhuru; Tarryn Sampson, Dr Precious Ndlovu; and Disebo Leokaoke. Front row, from left: Michael Buthelezi; Malibongwe Zungu; Kezile Kanyiso; Phumlani Sithole; Thalalowazi Msutu; Sibabalo Mtonga; Lehlohonolo January; Jacques Fooy; Bongani Papu; and Ishmael Setati.

By Simphiwe Gumede and Candice Slump

The Competition Commission (the Commission) hosted its inaugural moot court competition for university students at its 13th Annual Conference, from 28 to 30 August. The Commission welcomed 12 students and six staff members who represented six law faculties from around the country. Participants included the University of Venda, the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University, the University of Zululand and the University of Fort Hare.

The competition comprised of two preliminary elimination rounds, semi-finals and a final over the course of three days. The final was presided over by Competition Appeal Court Judge, Bashier Vally; the Deputy Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal of South Africa, Enver Daniels; and Manager of Litigation at the Commission, advocate Candice Slump. The finalists’ competition law knowledge and advocacy skills were strenuously put to the test by the moot court judges.

Each team was presented with a hypothetical case and were required to prepare and submit heads of argument to the Commission within a limited period of time, prior to the conference. This served to not only test their drafting abilities, but also their ability to work under pressure. The briefs were marked by senior members of the Legal Services Division of the Commission, including the Divisional Manager of the Legal Services Division of the Commission, Bukhosibakhe Majenge. The scores awarded to each team for their heads of argument were taken into consideration during the two preliminary elimination rounds. The semi-finals and final were judged solely on the students’ oral presentations.

The Commission celebrated 20 years of competition regulation by the Commission and the Competition Tribunal at the conference. The students also attended the conference and had the opportunity to meet various delegates and guests, including Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng; Judge President of the Competition Appeal Court, Dennis Davis; Judge of the Competition Appeal Court, David Unterhalter; and Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola. The conference was also attended by South African and international practitioners and academics, with whom the students could interact and engage.

In the lead up to the moot court competition, the students were given an overview of the Commission and the work it conducts by senior members of the Commission. They were also provided with training on legal drafting and litigation by the Commission’s Legal Services Division.

The standard of the students drafting and oral advocacy was exceptional and has set the bar for competitors in the Commission’s future moot court competitions.

The University of Johannesburg walked away as the winner of the inaugural moot court competition. University of Johannesburg student, Disebo Leokaoke, was presented the award for best orator by the Commissioner of the Competition Commission, Tembinkosi Bonakele. Stellenbosch University, in turn, won the award for drafting the best heads of argument, and achieved second place in the competition.

The Commission looks forward to hosting more universities next year, as it strives to encourage young lawyers to familiarise themselves with competition law throughout South Africa.

Simphiwe Gumede BA LLB (Rhodes) is a Junior Analyst in the Market Conduct Division and Candice Slump BJuris LLB LLM (Labour Law) (NMU) is the Manager of Litigation at the Legal Services Division of the Competition Commission of South Africa in Pretoria.