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Date of release: 16 November 2021
Tribunal grants further extension (but not variation) of interim relief order
in GovChat, Facebook and WhatsApp matter
The Tribunal, on Thursday 11 November 2021, heard an extension and variation application brought by GovChat (Pty) Ltd (“GovChat”) and its subsidiary, #Let’sTalk (Pty) Ltd (“the applicants”) in relation to a Tribunal interim order handed down in March 2021 (“March order”).
After considering submissions made during an online hearing (and taking note that the March order was extended for a period of three months to 11 December 2021, by a September order handed down to facilitate the hearing and determination of this application) the Tribunal has ordered that the March order be further extended to 11 March 2022. The Tribunal has, however, not granted GovChat’s request for the order to be varied.
GovChat is a private company and a citizen engagement platform conducted on the WhatsApp technology. 
In March the Tribunal granted the applicants’ request for interim relief against Facebook Inc., WhatsApp Inc., and Facebook South Africa (Pty) Ltd. (“the respondents”), after the respondents threatened to remove GovChat from WhatsApp for alleged non-compliance with WhatsApp’s terms of use.
The March order prevented the respondents from removing GovChat from the Whatsapp platform, pending the outcome of GovChat’s complaint against the respondents at the Competition Commission (“the Commission”), or for a six month period (whichever occurs first).
The March order also prevented GovChat from adding any new clients or users to its WhatsApp Business Account or changing the business offering to its existing clients. 
Issued by:

Gillian de Gouveia, Communications Officer
On behalf of the Competition Tribunal of South Africa
Cell: +27 (0) 82 410 1195
Twitter: @comptrib
Our mailing address is:

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