• Policy Watch SA

IN THE LOOP (15)

Updated: a day ago


Vol. 1 No. 15, covering the week ending 5 November 2021

(copies of earlier editions are available on request)

FROM THE AUTHOR


Now that the local government elections are a fait accompli (and noting that POLICY WATCH SA does not report or comment on matters political), next week’s newsletter could be more substantial. This is especially because the National Assembly’s portfolio committees have reconvened. However, at present most committees are focusing on broader oversight responsibilities. That said, on Wednesday the Trade & Industry Committee is scheduled to begin deliberations on stakeholder input during August’s public hearings on the remitted Copyright Amendment Bill.


For more information on the Bill’s long, convoluted parliamentary process:

DEVELOPMENTS OF GENERAL INTEREST


Parliament has issued a media statement clarifying the status of COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota’s Electoral Laws Second Amendment Bill, which provides for the introduction of ‘open lists … combining proportionality with constituency representation’ – replacing the ‘closed lists’ in use since 1994.


Support for SA’s ‘just transition to a low carbon economy and a climate resilient society’ will take the form of an ‘historic partnership with the governments of France, Germany, the UK and the US, as well as the EU’. The Presidency media statement announcing this referred to an ‘inclusive task force’ established to ‘enable’ several key processes. They include nationally determined steps to ‘successfully and sustainably manage Eskom’s debt, define the role of the private sector, and create an enabling environment through policy reform in the electricity sector’.


The long-awaited Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill will soon be tabled in Parliament, according to a media statement on last week’s Cabinet meeting. In the pipeline since 2015, once operationalised the Bill will introduce a ‘mechanism to enforce the taking of DNA buccal samples’ from people convicted of ‘Schedule 8 offences’.


DEVELOPMENTS OF SECTOR-SPECIFIC INTEREST


Government plans to ‘scan’ migration and transport legislation ‘impacting negatively on South African drivers’, according to a recent Department of Employment & Labour media statement.


The Hydrographic Act, is now in force, providing for the establishment of a hydrographic office ‘as a unit within the South African Navy’.


OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC COMMENT


National Treasury has explained the thinking behind a revised set of draft amendments to the 1956 Pension Funds Act’s Regulation 28. Gazetted last week for comment, they include proposals for a new definition of ‘infrastructure’; and a ‘restriction’ on retirement fund investments in crypto assets.


The Independent Communications Authority of SA has released a discussion document exploring ‘the pro-competitive conditions imposed on relevant licensees in terms of the (2104) call termination regulations’.


The Department of Forestry, Fisheries & the Environment has called for input on proposed changes to the 2011 list of terrestrial ecosystems either threatened or in need of protection.


The South African Maritime Safety Authority has published three sets of draft amendments to regulations affecting merchant shipping and marine traffic. Once in force, two will affect ship construction and life-saving equipment.


​FROM THE POWERS THAT BE


'While Cabinet is aware that the current energy challenges are frustrating and counterproductive to economic growth, it is confident that the practical actions government is taking to restructure and strengthen our electricity system will eventually improve the country’s energy capacity' (media statement on the 3 November Cabinet meeting)


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