27 October 2006 by Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Top competition lawyer Mondo Ntlha takes over as head Cliffe Dekker's competition practice group

Leading corporate law firm Cliffe Dekker has appointed Mondo Ntlha to head the firm's national competition law department, with immediate effect.

Ntlha was Chief Legal Counsel to the Competition Commission and Acting Deputy Commissioner before joining Cliffe Dekker as a director in July 2005. Before that, she was a senior investigator in the enforcement and exemptions division, heading the abuse of dominance section. She spent five years with the Competition Commission.

In the past year with Cliffe Dekker, Ntlha has been involved in a variety of high profile and complex competition work. She represented the Council for Medical Schemes in its opposition to the proposed merger between Phodiclinics and Medi-Clinic. She represented Net1 Technologies over its proposed merger with Prism. In other key areas, she has advised clients on the Competition Commission's Corporate Leniency Policy and has assisted clients in the beverage industry on compliance with competition legislation.

Ntlha is currently acting for Business Connexion in its proposed merger with Telkom.

She takes over as head of the department from Jean Meijer. Cliffe Dekker chairman Chris Ewing says he is disappointed to see Meijer go but he says the firm's competition department remains solid.

"Mondo is an excellent lawyer with considerable experience of competition law both in the public and private sectors. We are fortunate to have a highly experienced competition team supporting her. Our competition department remains one of the strongest in South Africa and, if one adds to that our global competition law reach through our association with DLA Piper, then the strength in depth of Cliffe Dekker's competition law capability is there for all to see," says Ewing.

The practice group is highly recommended in the latest editions of the UK-based PLC Cross-Border Competition Handbook and the Global Competition Review, which ranks it as South Africa's third best competition practice. The department consists of seven full time competition specialists in Johannesburg, including directors Nick Altini and Natalie Browne who, together with Ntlha, work closely with David Thompson, a director in the commercial department who heads up the competition side in Cape Town.

Ntlha has an LLB from the University of Natal and a B.luris from the University of the Western Cape. She was admitted as an attorney in 1997. Before joining the Commission, she was an associate partner at Cheadle Thompson & Haysom.

Ntlha is celebrated as a leading black professional in the Financial Mail's latest edition of The Little Black Book, published this week.

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