• Policy Watch SA

IN THE LOOP (6)

Updated: a day ago


Vol. 1 No. 6, covering the week ending 3 September 2021

(copies of earlier editions are available on request)

DISASTER MANAGEMENT


Public hearings on the 2nd Special Appropriation Bill have been scheduled for 17 September. Among other things, the Bill's purpose is to cover the cost of reintroducing the social relief of distress grant and further supporting small businesses struggling not only because of the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic, but also affected by July’s unrest.

PLEASE ALSO NOTE:

  • proposals for withdrawing financial sector measures aimed at providing relief from restrictions imposed under the disaster management regulations (under 'OUT FOR PUBLIC COMMENT')

  • the extended validity of radio frequency spectrum temporarily assigned when the Covid-19 State of Disaster was declared (under 'RULES & REGULATIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST')

  • the latest grace period for renewing expired drivers' licences (under 'RULES & REGULATIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST')


POLICY & LEGISLATION OF GENERAL INTEREST


A slightly polished version of the second draft Constitution 18th Amendment Bill has been adopted by the National Assembly ad hoc committee responsible for preparing it. The Bill is expected to be tabled in the House this week. Intended to amend section 25 of the Constitution to provide explicitly for expropriation with compensation for land reform purposes when just and equitable, the Bill will require the support of two-thirds of the National Assembly's 400 members to be passed. The DA, as leading opposition party, is against any amendments to section 25 of the Constitution. The EFF has not attended the committee's most recent meetings, deputy president Floyd Shivambu having indicated on 18 June that his party was 'fundamentally opposed' to the second draft.

The National Assembly's Public Works & Infrastructure Committee has concluded its provincial public hearings on the revised Expropriation Bill. Oral representations on written submissions received are scheduled to begin on Tuesday 7 September. It is still not clear where Parliament stands on facilitating public access to these documents during virtual parliamentary hearings.

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A Green Paper on social security and retirement reform released recently for public comment has been withdrawn. According to a Department of Social Development media statement on the decision, 'since its publication there has been widespread commentary on ... key recommendations ... (regarding which) some ... technical aspects ... were not well understood'. Many have 'misrepresented' proposals in the Green Paper, especially those for establishing a national social security fund.


Parliament has passed the Criminal & Related Matters Amendment Bill, which is one of three pieces of legislation expected to go someway towards curbing gender-based violence. The other two Bills have been sent back to the National Assembly, where NCOP proposals for further changes will be considered.


RULES & REGULATIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST


Electronic communications network service providers now have three more months to wind down operations using radio frequency spectrum temporarily assigned to them in April 2020 shortly after the Covid-19 State of Disaster was declared. More details can be found in the Government Gazette notice.


A Government Gazette notice has formalised the recently announced grace period for renewing expired drivers' licences. The new 31 March 2022 deadline also applies to renewing learners' licences, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that have expired during the Covid-19 State of Disaster.


RULES & REGULATIONS OF SECTOR-SPECIFIC INTEREST


New petroleum product specifications and standards regulations have been gazetted but will apparently only be effective from 1 September 2023.


The biofuels blending regulations have been amended.


OUT FOR PUBLIC COMMENT


The South African Reserve Bank has called for input on a concept paper proposing implementation principles for a standardised triparty collateral management framework.


National Treasury has called for comment on proposals for a regulatory framework on financial sector benchmark setting.


The Prudential Authority has called for input on:

  • a draft directive intended to clarify requirements associated with calculating the consolidated liquidity coverage ratio.

  • proposals for phasing out temporary liquidity relief measures for banks introduced at the onset of the Covid-19 State of Disaster.

  • proposals for withdrawing measures allowing banks to restructure credit extended to ‘certain borrowers’ affected by restrictions imposed by the disaster management regulations.

The National Assembly's Transport Committee has called for input on the Transport Appeal Tribunal Amendment Bill.


The International Trade Administration Commission has called for comment on proposed amendments to the revised guidelines on exporting scrap and waste metal.

OF GENERAL INTEREST


A webinar on 'price gouging' during the Covid-19 epidemic will be held on 10 September, hosted by the Competition Commission.


'The National School of Government is rolling out three high-impact economic courses aimed at equipping public servants with economic policy making and governance skills.'


FROM THE POWERS THAT BE (quotations from the original documents)


'The acts of violence and destruction that took place in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July revealed many of the challenges that we still confront in building a united and cohesive society ... A critical part of the work we must do is to address the social and economic factors that contributed to the violence and destruction that we saw' (President Cyril Ramaphosa)


'No South African Post Office employee or other individuals have the right to ask (social grant) beneficiaries to pay any fee to be serviced and/or to receive preferential treatment by jumping a queue. Such practices are illegal' (South African Post Office)


'The Department of Higher Education & Training has embarked on generating the scarce, critical skills as well as the occupations in high demand lists to guide ... programme offerings and student enrolments in ... post-school education and training institutions' (Higher Education, Science & Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande)


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