• Policy Watch SA

IN THE LOOP (1)

Updated: a day ago


Vol. 1 No.1 (covering the week ending 30 July 2021)*


Policy Watch SA © company registration 2020/728724/07

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR (whose views are not reflected in this newsletter)


The volume of material generated last week was much less than usual for this time of year. Parliament's long winter recess may be one reason. More government officials working remotely during the Covid-19 lockdown may be another. Whatever the case, this edition is mostly about national government's support programme in response to the recent unrest.


Please click anything in red and underlined to access the original documents. No summaries of government documents are provided in this newsletter.

FINANCE MINISTER TITO MBOWENI ON THE LATEST SOCIO-ECONOMIC SUPPORT PACKAGE

  • the temporary reintroduction of a monthly R350 social relief of distress grant 'is not a permanent social protection solution'

  • 'fiscal consolidation remains a key pillar of our strategy and we do not intend to deviate from it'

NATIONAL TREASURY ON THE TEMPORARY TAX RELIEF announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa


TRADE, INDUSTRY & COMPETITION MINISTER EBRAHIM PATEL ON SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY THE UNREST



EMPLOYMENT & LABOUR MINISTER THULAS NXESI ON POST-SOCIAL UNREST UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

  • the criteria to be met by ‘workers who would normally not qualify ... due to non-compliance’ will be ‘very stringent’ and ‘payments will not be generous’ given that ‘finance is a limited resource’

THE SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL SECURITY AGENCY (SASSA) ON THE EXTENDED SOCIAL-RELIEF-OF-DISTRESS GRANT


These tweets were sent on Friday morning


RULES & REGULATIONS ...

OF GENERAL INTEREST

  • the Customs & Excise Act rules on goods in transit through SA have been amended to cater for situations when goods are 'in danger of being unlawfully removed, damaged or destroyed'

  • the authority to process applications for off-road vehicle permits has been delegated to the SANParks and iSimangaliso Wetland Park authorities

... OF SECTOR-SPECIFIC INTEREST

  • the preferential pricing policy directive for ferrous and non-ferrous waste and scrap metal in place since 2013 has been extended to 31 July 2023

  • so have the amended export control guidelines

* ongoing challenges at the Government Printing Works have interfered with the eGazette, which since February has often been published after hours/during the weekend and backdated. Next week's edition of ' IN THE LOOP ' will cover any notices of general or sector-specific interest gazetted on 31 July and 1 August


POLICY & LEGISLATION OF GENERAL INTEREST

  • although parliament has been in recess for some time, hearings on the National Health Insurance Bill continued and will be the focus of a Department of Health briefing to members of the National Assembly Health Committee once all the material has been collated and summarised

  • the Bill's passage through parliament is covered


OUT FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

  • a reminder about FF Plus leader Petrus Groenewald's Disaster Management Amendment Bill (very few private member's bills pass the desirability stage of the parliamentary committee process)

  • a reminder about the revised draft Constitution 18th Amendment Bill (widely understood to be paving the way for expropriation with nil compensation for land reform purposes, when just and equitable)

draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill (and explanatory memorandum)

draft Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill (and explanatory memorandum), and the

draft Rates & Monetary Amounts & Amendment of Revenue Laws Bill


  • the Financial Sector Conduct Authority published two sets of proposals calling for public comment, one affecting retirement fund administrators and the other insurers (CompliNEWS subscribers will get first bite in their Thursday newsletter, but next week's ' IN THE LOOP ' will draw attention to the proposals, under 'did you know?')


  • essential goods and services suppliers have been issued a temporary block exemption under the Competition Act so they can cooperate to prevent shortages resulting from disruptions during the unrest

  • the ban on selling/buying petrol/diesel in containers has been modified (the regulations have not yet been amended by notice in the Government Gazette)

  • the Prevention & Combating of Hate Crimes & Hate Speech Bill is still on parliament's back burner pending Constitutional Court rulings affecting the definition of hate speech

  • the South African Law Reform Commission is investigating the possibility of extending maternity and parental benefits to informal sector workers and has issued a discussion paper

  • a collective agreement has finally been reached on public service wage increases


COVID-19

  • the latest disaster management regulations for adjusted lockdown level three (amended on 30 July to reduce social distancing at primary schools to a one meter radius around each person/child)

  • the latest amendments to basic education sector requirements

  • the extended temporary employer/employee relief scheme (TERS) regulations

  • the vaccination programme has been opened to journalists across all age groups (including those aged 35 and under)


FROM THE POWERS THAT BE

'Your sacrifices during these negotiations did not go unnoticed: late hours, minimal sleep and increased workloads are but some of the things you have had to endure. Thank you for your leadership, thank you for negotiating with the interests of public servants and the citizens at heart! As we prepare ourselves to engage on the way forward, let us meet as patriotic citizens and not as adversaries.'

the public sector wage bill: 'Reprioritisation will have to be done to accommodate the payment of this settlement.'

corporate tax: 'Government continues to review the available tax incentives and plans to pivot towards a more efficient corporate tax system that has a broader tax base and a lower tax rate.'

limited withdrawals from retirement funds during the Covid-19 epidemic: 'This is proving to be a complex problem to solve, if we are to ensure preservation of savings.'

  • Trade, Industry & Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel on the unrest:

'Those who planned to subvert our democracy relied on large numbers of people who are unemployed and hungry. If we are to change the conditions so that those who subvert democracy cannot find broader support, it must be through more jobs and more local economic development.'


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