Nortons Inc. provides advice to a broad range of clients regarding a variety of regulatory law matters and the efforts of the firm have been consistently recognised by a various international publications in this regard.
Nortons Inc. advise on all aspects of the downstream diamond industry, in particular, in relation to the Diamonds Act, 1986, as amended by the Diamonds Amendment Act and the Diamond Second Amendment Act), the Diamond Export Levy Act, the Diamond Export Levy (Administration) Act and the regulations published in terms of the Diamonds Act. One of our directors, Paul Russell, represented De Beers during the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee hearings regarding the recent amendments to the Diamonds Act and also in relation to the Diamond Export Levy Act, and regularly engages with the Department of Mineral Regulation, National Treasury and the Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator.
We continue to utilise the services of Craig Kraus as a mining law consultant. Craig has more than more than 13 years experience in mining law and was previously Legal Services Manager: Johannesburg, where he played an integral role in advising De Beers on mining and minerals law issues. Since leaving De Beers, Craig has also advised Petra Diamonds and other listed and junior diamond mining companies. In this regard, Craig’s areas of experience include:
- negotiating and drafting of incorporated and unincorporated joint venture agreements in respect of prospecting and mining projects and associated commercial matters (in respect of projects locally and elsewhere in Africa);
- sales of shareholdings in subsidiary mining companies and sales of business in relation to company divisions;
- submissions to government on various pieces of proposed mining legislation;
- advising in relation to applications for prospecting and mining rights and the conversion process contemplated in the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (“MPRDA”); and
- involvement in litigation associated with applications for prospecting and mining rights and the conversion process contemplated in the MPRDA.
Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare
Members of our team have been involved in a number of matters relating to the pharmaceutical sector for a period of 10 years. We have represented clients in relation to competition matters relating to the pharmaceutical sector which requires a detailed understanding of the regulatory regime governing the pharmaceutical sector.
In addition, members of the team were involved in the challenge to the constitutionality of the single exit pricing provisions (which was finally decided by the Constitutional Court).
Furthermore, the firm has assisted a variety of participants in the pharmaceutical sector in relation to the provision of advice relating to exemptions from the provisions of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act (having obtained a exemption for Schedule 0 substances from the provisions of section 18A and 22G), as well as relating to the interpretation of the Act. The firm recently successfully assisted a client in resisting a claim in relation to the marketing of a second brand (this interim relief application was dismissed by the High Court in Johannesburg).
Members of the firm have also assisted a number of clients in relation to the regulatory regime relating to hospitals, medical professionals (including anaesthetists, doctors, optometrists and dentists).
Finally, Nortons Inc. is intimately involved in advising on the South African government planned implementation of national health insurance.
Energy & Natural Resources
Nortons Inc. continues to advise a number of clients, local and international, in the complex oil and gas industry regarding the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act and related legislation, as well as advising on their obligations under environmental legislation, including the National Environmental Management Act and various aspects of the legislation relating to the transportation liquid fuels.
The firm has also recently advised a number of clients on the legal implications of the imposition of a carbon tax, as well as the mooted nationalisation of mining assets.
Banking & Financial
Nortons Inc.’s directors provide a range of regulatory advice to clients in the dynamic banking and financial services sector, including advice regarding the implementation of the recently enacted Consumer Protection Act.
Directors of the firm represented one of South Africa’s largest banks in the Competition Commission’s special enquiry into various competition aspects of the retail banking sector, specifically in relation to the banking payment systems, between 2006 and June 2008.
The firm is currently representing a subsidiary of one of the leading banks in judicial review proceedings to challenge and set aside the award of a tender worth an estimated R10 billion for the provision of social grant payment services to the estimated 15 million recipients of grants in South Africa after it came to light that the adjudication process was fraught with procedural irregularities. In addition to providing advice on the review proceedings, Nortons Inc. continues to advise the bank in its interactions with the Treasury, Registrar of Banks and related government departments.
Finally the firm has advised clients on aspects of the countries banking payment system.
Nortons Inc. directors have been extensively involved in competition and regulatory matters throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Members of the firm have recently assisted with the drafting of the Mauritian Competition Commission’s Guidelines for merger proceedings. Furthermore, our directors have also assisted various clients with merger control regulations (including the submission of notifications) in the following jurisdictions:
Nortons Inc. together with Geroudis Glover Ghurburrun assisted the Mauritian Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives – the head Ministry through which the Competition Commission of Mauritius (“CCM”) in the drafting of the Rules of Procedure and Guidelines of the CCM. Nortons Inc. regularly advises clients in Mauritius and, together with its partner firm, assists clients in various franco phone african jurisdictions.
Nortons Inc. directors have actively participated in numerous stakeholder engagement sessions, before various regional regulatory authorities including the Namibian Competition Commission.
Africa, which has long experienced slow economic growth, has experienced strong economic growth over the past decade. In fact, over the past decade, six of the world’s ten fastest growing countries were African, and in eight of the past ten years, Africa’s economy has grown faster than that of East Asia, according to a recent report in The Economist.
According to estimates by the International Monetary Fund, Africa is expected to grow by 6% in 2011 and by slightly less than 6% in 2012, despite the growing concerns over the economic slowdown in Europe and North America.
Although the past decade’s continued growth is partly as a result of the commodities boom, which resulted in higher revenue from natural resources, African countries are diversifying their economies by increasingly developing their manufacturing and services offerings. Poor infrastructure remains an obstacle to doing business in Africa, but is increasingly improved by Chinese infrastructure investments and by innovative solutions provided by the fast-growing telecommunications sector.
These positive changes explain why the rate of foreign direct investment attracted by Africa has increased nearly tenfold in the past decade.
However, despite its growing attractiveness, doing business in Africa remains challenging from a regulatory perspective, with various countries, including Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia, having only recently implemented competition/antitrust legislation, and with many other countries, most notably Nigeria, Angola and Mozambique, expected to implement competition/antitrust legislation in the near future.
Nortons Inc. advises its clients on multi-jurisdictional merger filings throughout the region.
Directors of the firm are also involved in various initiatives to develop the capacity of competition authorities across the continent.