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Koeksisters, Collusion and The Competition Commission of South Africa #CompComSA

The Competition Commission of South Africa serves the public with lawyers and economists who bake policy. Marginalizing job seekers rights and disrupting a fair competition for talent, they clearly twist their role. 

What is the Competition Commission supposed to do?

They’re paid to keep things sweet. Putting it simply, they ensure the economic environment is fair for people and business.

The Commission prevents business from bullying (being dominant over) other businesses or ordinary people. They ensure the competitive economic environment is one allowing everyone equal opportunity. This means companies are not allowed to make decisions among each other that will reduce the rights of people or other firms.

The Competition Commission is a statutory body constituted in terms of the Competition Act, No 89 of 1998 by the Government of South Africa empowered to investigate, control and evaluate restrictive business practices, abuse of dominant positions and mergers in order to achieve equity and efficiency in the South African economy.

What’s the Twist?

So the Competition Commission explains a cartel on Linkedin, the issue is that they describe their recruitment practice as unlawful:

The Competition Commission Recruitment Process

Bitter Practice

  1. They advertise vacancies without being upfront about pay:
    1. is this to deter smart candidates most likely to question the organisation when hired?
    2. do they look for the most vulnerable available talent willing to accept a low rate?
    3. do they make different offers to different candidates based on gender and colour?
    4. how can we trust their offers are fair if they are not upfront about pay in their market signal? (an advert is a message to a market / people)
  2. Their online application requests confidential pay information from applicants:
    1. if a ‘cartel involves an agreement or concerted practice between two or more competitors to engage in fixing prices and trading conditions’ – then why are they looking at rival firms confidential pay information?
    2. if labour cannot be price-fixed in a free economy, why do they use competitor wage information as a reference?
    3. if spying (concerted practice) on competitors is illegal, why does the Competition Commission break the laws it’s meant to uphold?

The CompComm includes the following statement in their mandate:

Promote employment and advance the social and economic welfare of South Africans

  • When they have competitor wage information, will they offer more in order to attract the candidate?
  • When they have candidates wage information, possibly unfairly negotiated with their former employer, what will they do if it’s unfairly low? Give the applicant a 10% raise?

The truth is twisted, what is it?

How does their recruitment process ‘promote employment and advance the social and economic welfare of South Africans‘ when their practices deny job applicants the right to pursue fair and hopefully better economic opportunities?

Recruitment must be regulated – nothing baked or twisted.

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