The constitutional court has dismissed an application for leave to appeal lodged by the Competition Commission and Tracetec against vehicle tracking companies Altech Netstar, Matrix Vehicle Tracking and Tracker. The applicants have been ordered to pay costs.
In 2005, Tracetec lodged a complaint with the competition commission against the companies, alleging they were forcing competitors out of the market.
Tracetec alleged that the three companies, through the Vehicle Security Association of SA, contravened the Competition Act by setting standards for membership and accreditation of the association that created barriers to entry as newcomers to the industry could not satisfy the set standards.
Tracetec argued it had not been able to become accredited, which meant it could not grow its business because of the fundamental importance insurers attached to such accreditation.
In April 2010, the Competition Tribunal found that the three companies were preventing competition in the industry and denying consumers lower prices.
Altech Netstar disagreed with the finding and approached the competition appeal court, which found, in February 2011, that the grounds of the complaint were unfounded and overturned the tribunal’s decision.
The competition commission and Tracetec subsequently brought an application for leave to appeal to the competition appeal court in March 2011, which both parties withdrew in December 2011 based on the argument that the court lacked jurisdiction in the matter.
A fresh application for leave to appeal by both parties was then brought to the supreme court of appeal, also in December 2011, which was subsequently dismissed in March 2012.
The competition commission approached the constitutional court, which has now also dismissed the matter with costs.
“This has been a long and protracted battle, despite rulings by the competition appeal court and the supreme court of appeal in favour of Altech Netstar and others. We are delighted that this matter has finally been put to rest,” says Altech Group CEO Craig Venter. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media