CIPC will not exercise its power to stop temporarily insolvent companies from carrying on business or trading
On 24 March 2020 the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (Commission) issued Practice Note GNR 351 (Practice Note) in which it advised that in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the declaration of a national state of disaster under the Disaster Management Act, 2002, it will not invoke its powers under section 22 of the Companies Act, 2008 (Companies Act).
The new buyer power provisions of the Competition Act and the Regulations are in effect. On 20 May 2020 the buyer power guidelines were further published, which set out the general principles that the Competition Commission will follow in assessing whether conduct contravenes the provisions, and elaborate on each element required to establish a contravention of the provisions.
The new price discrimination provisions of the Competition Act and the Regulations are in effect.
These provisions prohibit dominant (as defined in the Competition Act) sellers from discriminating in the prices that they charge to purchasers in the designated class of purchasers, which are firms that are small and medium enterprises (SMEs), or firms that are owned and controlled by historically disadvantaged persons (HDPs) and purchase less than 20% of the goods and services supplied by the dominant seller.
The President has proclaimed that the remaining sections of the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (“POPI”) will at last now come into effect.
At a recent sitting of a COVID-19 joint parliamentary committee, Rory Voller of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) said there has been an increase in the number of companies applying for business rescue.
As GMI, we have to balance the important work we do on behalf of our clients, whilst at the same time taking reasonable measures to protect ourselves, our employees, our families, and our communities from the effects of COVID-19.
Following this, we will be adhering to strict general hygiene measures as well as social distancing to reduce the spread of the Covid-19.
In keeping with best practices, we have made sanitizers available in public spaces, and we are increasing the rate of cleaning common surfaces in the workplace.
While our offices remain open, we encourage, where possible, for documents to be served and sent electronically, and for consultations to take place, insofar possible, via digital communication.
Where possible, subject to practice requirements, practitioners and their staff may work from home. However, this fluctuates from practice to practice and we encourage clients to make contact with the attorneys dealing with their matter via email if possible should they have any queries. Our switchboard remains operational however, due to the personnel not necessarily working from the office, it is preferable if the email is used as a primary form of communication.
We also note the directives of the various courts and government offices. We are complying with these arrangements, and this may have an impact on our clients’ matters. However, we will be available to address any concerns that our clients may have in order to try to minimize the impact of these directives on their matters.
Our staff has been informed of our Covid Protocol, and where the staff is symptomatic or otherwise vulnerable to infection, they are advised to self-quarantine.
We hope that by minimizing the potential for the infection to spread, we will play our part in flattening the bell curve and thereby minimize the rate of infection within our immediate vicinity and within the country generally. While we accept that these measures are both disruptive and necessary, we remain committed to providing you with the levels of service that you have been accustomed to and ask that you bear with us as we join the rest of humanity in doing our utmost to mitigate against the negative effects of this pandemic.
We continue to monitor the situation, and if warranted, will take the necessary steps to intensify measures should it become necessary.
The Directors and Staff of GMI
This matter concerns the proper interpretation of certain provisions of the National Credit Act (the Act). More specifically, the question raised is whether s 90(2)(n) and s124 of the Act render the common-law right of set-off inapplicable in respect of credit agreements that are subject to the Act