IN THE LOOP (17)

Vol. 1 No. 17, covering the week ending 19 November 2021


DEVELOPMENTS OF GENERAL INTEREST


The new social employment fund recently announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa will support work programmes offering a ‘baselevel wage’, in keeping with the national minimum. This is according to the fund’s terms of reference. It will be managed by the Independent Development Corporation.


An analysis of input on the revised Expropriation Bill during the public participation process has been presented to the National Assembly’s Public Works & Infrastructure Committee. Most written submissions opposed the Bill, based on concerns about its negative implications for private property ownership and the broader economy. Most oral submissions appear to have focused on the Bill’s implications for facilitating access to land in the context of redress for past injustices.


The National Assembly has passed the Employment Equity Amendment Bill’s ‘B’ version, which will now be processed by the NCOP. According to a post on the Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr website summarising the Bill’s key provisions, they include an amendment to the Act’s definition of ‘designated employer’ – affecting employers with fewer than 50 employees, but with a total annual turnover ‘equal to or above the turnover of a small business as set out in Schedule 4 to the Act’.


The Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill’s ‘B’ version is ready to be passed by the NCOP and could soon be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa for signature. It responds to a Constitutional Court ruling on protecting the identity of child victims in criminal proceedings.


DEVELOPMENTS OF SECTOR-SPECIFIC INTEREST


The Independent Communications Authority of SA has temporarily suspended the wireless open access network licensing timetable published last month. As a result, the publication of its consultation document on the process has been postponed.


The National Assembly’s Trade & Industry Committee has agreed to consider changes the remitted Copyright Amendment Bill proposed by the Department of Trade, Industry & Competition with the aim of addressing President Cyril Ramaphosa’s concerns about the constitutionality of certain clauses. Some would amend the Act beyond the scope of the Bill and the President’s reservations, requiring the committee to approach the House for permission to proceed. These and some of the other amendments proposed will require affected clauses to be reopened for comment.


The National Assembly has passed a ‘B’ version of the

Sectional Titles Amendment Bill, which is now before the NCOP Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources & Energy. Its purpose includes strengthening measures intended to ‘protect’ the lessees of properties in ‘sectional-arrangement buildings’, according to a media statement on the Cabinet meeting at which the Bill was approved for tabling in 2020.


Regulations domesticating the 1998 UN Rotterdam Convention on international trade in hazardous chemicals and pesticides have been suspended for 12 months.


The Financial Sector Conduct Authority has withdrawn its draft standard on pension fund investments in hedge funds, which was released in October 2020 for comment. Apparently, the Pension Funds Act’s Regulation 28(3) (asset spreading requirements and limits) offers sufficient protection.


OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC COMMENT


The Independent Communications Authority of SA has gazetted a second information memorandum on the spectrum licensing process, with a reasons document explaining its thinking.


The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors has called for input on draft replacement disciplinary rules, which include a detailed section on search and seizure.


​FROM THE POWERS THAT BE


'As government, we treat TB as a priority and we are putting effort to finding missing TB patients, to ensure diagnosis and treatment, including finding and re-initiating treatment for those that are lost to follow-up so that we strengthen adherence to TB treatment and improve our TB cure rates' (Deputy President David Mabuza)

'SA’s broad unemployment rate currently sitting at 42 percent is concerning and ... too high by any standard. The reality facing SA today is that the economy is faced with structural challenges in regard to skills mismatch and that the economy is not growing fast (enough) to absorb the growing army of the unemployed' (Department of Employment & Labour Director-General Thobile Lamati)


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