It is almost time for the Parliament to go into recess, but here are some major changes that has been made to South African law this week

There’s a bit of a rush to get things done before Parliament goes into recess. Here, we look at the biggest changes to South African law this week.

Parliament has been running at full capacity this week, as the country’s top brass have been busy implementing changes to South African law. With the National Assembly entering its recess at the start of next month, the rush to get legislation over the line has reached its peak.

Already this week, we’ve seen some major alterations. Some look great on paper, others look like clues on a cryptic crossword. But we’ve done the jargon-busting to explain what bills are changing, and what it all means for Mzansi. Here’s hoping you are paying attention.

Five new changes to South African law this week:

Political party funding bill
On Tuesday, the president revealed that the Public Audit Amendment Bill had been published on the Government Gazette for public consultation. Should this be signed into law, it will grant Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu the powers to execute his job more effectively.

Previously, all he could do was uncover the dirt, sum it up in a report and hope the relevant committee in Parliament took things further. But now, the power is in his hands. His new freedoms include the ability to personally issue certificates of debt.

The 2018 Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Bill
Now, let’s get stuck into some financial jargon, shall we? This little number has been introduced to help ensure that tax compliance increases. It provides for more efficient taxation of electronic commerce, but also, keeps the VAT rate fixed at 15% until 2021.

The 2018 Taxation Laws Amendment Bill
This is where you can physically hear sleeves getting rolled up by SARS officials: This piece of legislation aims to regulate rogue lenders, by introducing a set of criteria to determine “doubtful debt allowance” from lenders who aren’t recognised as banking institutions.

This also comes with a crackdown on “abusive” tax evasion schemes. The C-Venture Capital Company regime has been strictly outlawed in this document.

The 2018 Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill
By law, this amendment means that the VAT rate must be reviewed in March 2021, with a decision on revising the number due by June 2021. If this much-maligned increase fails to alleviate South Africa’s economic and social woes, it means that VAT will fall.

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Repeal of the Overvaal Resorts Limited Bill
A whole lot of confusion around this one, but here’s a change in South African law that’s actually been repealed. By going back on their legislation regarding land claims in Overvaal, claimants will soon find out if they can live on the land reserved for the project.

“In 2001, the cabinet decided to dispose of 14 resorts managed by a holding company, on behalf of the government in Overvaal. However, there were several difficulties which delayed disposal of the resorts, including land claims and incorrect descriptions of the resorts registered at the Deeds Office.”

“In 2012 the company was put under liquidation and the current Bill seeks to repeal the Overvaal Resorts Limited Act, retaining, however, the state’s rights to servitudes in those resorts affected by the repeal.”

Now, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan and the department must provide a progress report on outstanding land claims and related issues within two months of the National Assembly’s adoption of the Bill.

Still to come…

Political Party Funding Bill
Cyril is making us sweat on this one. A bill that would demand more transparency from political parties – including regulations on party funding – is awaiting his signature before it becomes law. As of 13:00 on 21 November, Ramaphosa still hasn’t found a pen.

National Minimum Wage Bill
Due for discussion by the end of the week, one of Ramaphosa’s long-term pet projects looks set for ratification. Getting this bill through the house will ensure that the minimum wage across the country is set at R20 an hour, according to South African law. However, not everyone is happy with this.

The Liquor Product Amendment Bill
When is a beer not a beer? That’s a question facing Parliament over the next few days, as they look to establish what products can be identified as beer, and what rights licensed vendors to have to sell them.

Business Tech report that the bill aims to “close a loophole which allowed for any product labelled as ‘beer’ or ‘ale’ to be manufactured and sold in the country.”

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