The Competition Tribunal (Tribunal) has called for executives of firms involved in cartel conduct to show greater courage to admit to and cease cartel conduct. The request was made in a decision in which the Tribunal imposed administrative penalties on companies in the plastic pipe industry for their participation in a cartel dealing with market allocation and collusive tendering. The Competition Commission (Commission) investigated MacNeil Agencies; Amitech South Africa; Andrag; Petzetakis Africa; Gazelle Plastics; and Gazelle Engineering for contravention of the Competition Act, No. 89 of 1998.
On 4 July 2012 the Tribunal fined four participants in a plastic pipe cartel while dismissing charges against two companies. It also reduced penalties for a company whose former executive, in the words of the Tribunal, helped to "stop the cancer" of cartel activity.
The companies, which provide pipes for plumbing in the civil engineering and commercial sectors, were penalised for fixing prices and colluding over tenders in a cartel that allegedly operated for more than 40 years.
The Tribunal commended the courage and integrity shown by Michelle Harding, a witness and Managing Director of Petzetakis Africa, in facing up to what it called an industry dominated for decades by illicit cartel practices. The Tribunal went on to say that "enforcement against cartels requires more Hardings who are willing to take a moral stand and stop the cancer".