The study analyses the specific conditions that led the South African ANC government to undertake a complete overhaul of the nation's competition law. This government initiated profound economic restructuring in the late 1990s. The particular challenges faced by the South African transition process were beyond the capabilities of the previous competition law. The paper draws conclusions from the South African practice of enactment (and major revision) and from legal-enforcement records for other developing countries. It compares the South African case with the competition-policy reforms of European transition economies.