The supreme court of appeal has dismissed, with costs, applications from the Competition Commission and tracking company Tracetec against Altech Netstar in which they claimed Netstar engaged in anticompetitive behaviour.
The original complaint was lodged in February 2005 and the alleged anticompetitive behaviour related to the period between 1999 and 2003 when Netstar accepted the Vehicle Security Association’s invitation to become a member of one of its subcommittees which suggested minimum standards for vehicle tracking systems by insurance companies.
In April 2010, the Competition Tribunal issued a declaratory order stating that Netstar had contravened the Competition Act. The company subsequently appealed the ruling as it believed the Tribunal had erred on a number of its findings and that it was not guilty of the charges levied against it.
In February last year, the competition appeal court set aside the Competition Tribunal’s finding. Two months later, the commission took the ruling by the Competition Tribunal on appeal and approached the supreme court of appeal. The application was subsequently dismissed with costs.
Altech CEO Craig Venter says the dismissal, with costs, of the commission’s appeal “vindicates our view that [it] was wrong and should never have continued with this wasteful and expensive process. The fact that several million rand in legal costs have been awarded in favour of Altech Netstar, after tax, is a clear indication of our innocence in this matter.“