6 new laws approaching soon for South Africa

Parliament is presently debating a slew of proposals, many of which are up for public comment, with more to come in the following months. While some laws are being processed to make administrative or procedural changes for departments, others will have a substantial influence on all South Africans or their lifestyles in some way. New regulations up for feedback vary from modifying the way food goods are labeled on store shelves to major adjustments in several work sectors that may effect employability. Meanwhile, many agencies intend to introduce new legislation in Parliament to alter the police force or the way the public sector runs.

 

2023 Draft Employment Equity Regulations Public comment will be accepted until June 12, 2023. By now, most South Africans – and all businesses – would have heard of these requirements. In mid-May, the Draft Employment Equity Regulations 2023 were released and were open for public comment for 30 days.

The regulations specify comprehensive racial and gender targets for each major job sector in the country, which corporations must meet within five years. The aims aim to make South African job sectors demographically representative of the racial and gender composition of a sector on a regional or national level. The targets require enterprises with 50 or more employees to gradually change the racial and gender makeup of their workforce, with a special emphasis on top and senior management roles. The laws have already received harsh criticism and will almost certainly face numerous court challenges, with critics claiming that the precise aims amount to racial quotas.

The draft regulations were released in accordance with the newly enacted Employment Equity Amendment Act, which gives the Minister of Employment and Labor the authority to set the targets. However, the Act has not yet been implemented.

Amendment Bill for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, 2023

The Minister of Police has announced his intention to introduce the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Amendment Bill, together with an explanatory note, before Parliament. The bill is expected to give effect to the Constitutional Court’s 2016 decision in the case of McBride v Minister of Police and Others, which found that former Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s suspension of IPID head Robert McBride was unconstitutional because it constituted undue influence and harmed the directorate’s independence.

 

The new bill is a significant step forward for independent police in South Africa since it codifies IPID’s institutional and operational independence, allowing it to carry out its powers and functions without fear, favor, bias, or undue influence. The bill will also allow the Minister, in consultation with the Minister of Finance, to determine the conditions of service of IPID investigators, including their salary and allowances, and expand its mandate to include investigation of allegations of rape and deaths committed while off duty.

 

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Public Services Bills

The Public Service and Administration Portfolio Committee will be briefed on the initial introduction of the Public Service Amendment Bill and the Public Administration Management Amendment Bill. The Public Service Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Public Service Act of 1994 in order to, among other things, provide for the devolution of administrative powers from executive authorities to heads of department; to augment the role of the Director-General in the Presidency in order to support the President; and to provide for a mechanism to deal with the recovery of overpayments of remuneration and benefits; and to clarify the role of the Public Service Commission in relation to grievances.

 

Meanwhile, the Public Administration Management Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Public Administration Management Act of 2014, among other things, to provide for the transfer and secondment of employees and to clarify the prohibition on employees conducting business with state organs. The administration has been working hard to professionalize the public sector and to crack down on the irregularities, fraud, and corruption that have become entrenched in local governments and the public sector as a whole. These two measures are part of the effort to achieve this.

 

Independent Municipal Demarcation Authority Bill

Comments will be accepted until June 20, 2023. In late May, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs invited public opinion on the Independent Municipal Demarcation Authority Bill. The law allows for the establishment of an independent authority to make decisions on municipal boundaries, categorizing and rationalizing them.

 

It broadly provides for the criteria and procurement for determining and redetermining municipal boundaries, ward delimitation, and an appeals and assessment process. Notably, it also sets limitations on making such adjustments. Every ten years, the board of the authority may determine or redetermine a municipal border in relation to categorisation, merger, or any boundary modification that affects the movement of more than one complete ward in a municipality. Municipal boundaries and demarcation have a significant impact on both service delivery and election outcomes in the country, particularly in local government elections. Adjusting boundary limits should also help to prevent gerrymandering.

 

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National Identification and Registration Bill

Comments are welcome until June 30th.The government is pushing through legislation to create a “one-stop” national identity database in the country, which has consequences for foreign nationals and opens the door for citizens to obtain IDs at the age of ten. The primary goal of the laws is to create a biometric national identity system (NIS) that will allow for a single view of a person by requiring specifics to be included in the population register and the identification database.

The NIS is designed to communicate with other government and private sector identity systems, which should speed up a variety of processes such as driving license, ID, and passport applications while also assisting with policing and crime detection. The bill will also apply to permanent residents and foreigners who visit the country on a temporary basis. The bill also includes provisions for the creation and upkeep of a population register and identification database, the assignment of national identity numbers and reference numbers, the issuance of national identity cards and temporary identity cards, the recording of deaths, births, and marriages, and other related matters.

 

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Regulations relating to the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs

Comments will be accepted until June 20th. The South African Department of Health has taken a step toward comprehensive changes to food labeling, including warning signs on harmful foods. The Foodstuffs, Cosmetics, and Disinfectants Act has been gazetted, and the Regulations Relating to the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs are now open for public comment. The proposed revisions reaffirm several existing laws for product packaging in South Africa, such as ingredient lists and sell-by dates, while also introducing a slew of new modifications for more current improvements in food advertising.

 

Most notably, as part of the revisions, the government wants food items high in sugar and fat content to be labeled with huge warning labels and to be prohibited from being promoted to minors. The government wants mandatory front-of-package labeling (FOPL) on all pre-packaged goods that contain added saturated fat, sugar, or sodium and exceed the nutrient cut-off values for total sugar, total sodium, or total saturated fatty acids. The restrictions also prohibit the use of ‘super foods’ and other uncontrolled marketing statements.

 

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CPI Payroll Support Team

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