Massmart’s late filing of its amended referral affidavit condoned
22 February 2017
Massmart’s application for condonment of the late filing of its amended referral affidavit was granted by the Competition Tribunal yesterday, Tuesday, 21 February 2017.
Massmart has brought a complaint objecting to exclusivity in lease agreements with landlords with regard to its Game stores. Shoprite Checkers, Pick ‘n Pay Retailers and Spar Group are respondents in this matter, along with the South African Property Owners Association.
This ruling by the Tribunal yesterday means that respondents in the case will now have to file their answers in the complaint referral and the filing should proceed as per the normal process.
Shoprite Checkers was the only respondent to oppose the late filing by Massmart and has been ordered to pay for two counsel.
In its complaint Massmart said it wishes to enter the fresh grocery products market through its Game store chain but cannot do so because of exclusivity agreements between the listed retailers and landlords of Shopping Malls to prevent another chain from selling fresh grocery products.
Last year September, the retailers lost a bid to delay the hearing until after the completion of the investigation into the grocery sector by the Competition Commission. The Tribunal also ordered Massmart to provide a more substantive affidavit supporting its allegations against the three retailers.
Massmart lodged the case with the Tribunal after receiving notice of non-referral from the Competition Commission on the grounds that it was conducting a market inquiry into the grocery sector. Massmart argues, among other things, that the inquiry will focus more on the small and independent retailers in townships, peri-urban areas, the rural areas and information economy, rather than the likes of Massmart.
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