President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that he is in the final stages of considering eight bills that have been passed by Parliament and referred to him for signing into law.
In a statement released on Thursday (15 November), the Presidency said that the legislation encompasses a broad range of interventions and initiatives to deepen democracy and reduce poverty, unemployment and inequality.
“All efforts are being made to expedite the processing of these bills without compromising the obligation imposed on the President by the Constitution,” it said.
“President Ramaphosa is, therefore, assessing the legislation with a view to ensuring that their development – through consultation and drafting – is not vulnerable to legal challenge and that it is constitutionally compliant.
“In this process, the President is mindful of the expectations of all sectors of society who participated in the development of this legislation and for whom implementation of these laws is an important component of addressing the societal and economic issues that gave rise to the legislative proposals,” it said.
According to the statement, the following bills are under consideration
- National Minimum Wage Bill
- Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill
- Labour Relations Amendment Bill
- Labour Laws Amendment Bill
- Political Party Funding Bill
- Public Audit Amendment Bill
- Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill
- Liquor Product Amendment Bill
Below BusinessTech highlighted some of the major changes that will come into effect under these new laws.
A new national minimum wage
The National Minimum Wage Bill will establish the new minimum wage as R20 for each ordinary hour worked.
The wage will be reviewed within 18 months of the commencement of the NMW Act and will be adjusted within two years of the commencement of the Act.
Farmworkers, domestic workers, learners employed in terms of the Skills Development Act and workers on expanded public works programmes have different minimum hourly rates which will apply from a date to be fixed by the President.
An exemption may only be granted if the employer cannot afford to pay the minimum wage and after meaningful consultation with every trade union representing affected employees or the affected employee him/herself in absence of a trade union.
The amendments made to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Labour Relations Amendment Act also largely to cater for the National Minimum Wage Bill.
New paternity leave rights
The Labour Laws Amendment Bill allows for parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave to employees as follows:
- An employee, who is a parent of a child, is entitled to ten consecutive days of parental leave;
- An employee, who is an adoptive parent of a child below the age of two, is entitled to:
- Adoption leave of at least ten consecutive weeks; or
- At least ten consecutive days of parental leave.
An employee, who is a commissioning parent in a surrogacy agreement, is entitled to:
- Commissioning parental leave of ten consecutive weeks; or
- At least ten consecutive days of parental leave.
SA’s political parties will have to declare where their money comes from
Political party funding in South Africa was previously dealt with under the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act of 1997.
Under the Act, political parties were not required to declare sources of their funds or how they use their money.
This led to concerns surrounding how much a party was receiving in private donations and whether the donations were all above board.
Under the new Political Party Funding Bill, these donations will now have to be disclosed.
More power for South Africa’s Auditor General
The Public Audit Amendment Bill plans to strengthen the powers of the Auditor General (AG) other than auditing and reporting on accounts and financial management.
Currently, the AG has no power to take remedial action on audit transgressions and the changes proposed in the amendment was to give the office of the AG additional powers to enable it to take remedial action as prescribed by the Bill.
More rights given to land occupiers
The Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill aims to strengthen the rights of farm workers, farm dwellers, and the occupiers of vacant land and their families.
It provides that a land ‘occupier’ may now only be evicted in terms of a court order issued if he/she was legally represented at the proceedings.
However, an occupier may expressly waive his/her right to state-funded legal representation, provided the court finds that, in so doing, ‘the interests of justice would not be harmed’.
Other proposals featured in the bill include the establishment of district land rights management committees and a land rights management board, which will be tasked with monitoring the processes preceding legal evictions and ensuring that specific procedures are followed.
Changing what’s defined as ‘alcohol’
The Liquor Product Amendment Bill will regulate beer, contemporary beer, traditional African beer and other fermented beverages which had previously been exposed to a loophole which allowed for any product labelled as ‘beer’ or ‘ale’ to be manufactured and sold in the country.
The second major change being introduced by the bill is a reduction of the amount of alcohol not classified as liquor products – meaning that the minimum alcohol content in beverages will now be set to 0.5%, as opposed to the current 1.0%.
Other changes include new regulations and compulsory registration for bottlers, plans to make it easier for new players to enter the market and obtain licenses, and restrictions on drinks advertising that they contain ‘fresh juice’.