The Competition Tribunal this week dismissed the Competition Commission’s complaint referral against construction company WBHO Construction in which it was alleged to have colluded on a South African National Roads Agency tender.
The matter stemmed from the commission’s industry-wide investigation into the construction industry in 2006.
The commission alleged that WBHO and Group Five had entered into a collusive agreement to fix trading conditions in a tender relating to a portion of road along the N17 between New Canada and Soccer City, in Johannesburg.
The basis of the commission’s case was a meeting held between construction company representatives in July 2006, under the auspices of the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors, to discuss the contract’s allocation of risk and clarification of matters.
The commission alleged that the companies agreed to fix trading conditions at this meeting.
In its order, the tribunal said the commission was unable to prove that there was an agreement between the companies to align their bids for the tender.
“We were given no reason by the commission to treat this meeting as one that was any more than a tender clarification-seeking meeting,” the tribunal said.