3 new laws planned for South Africa – including changes for domestic workers and complexes

A number of new bills have been gazetted this week and are now set to be considered by parliament.

The proposed legislation covers a number of issues including the rules around sectional titles, proposed changes to pension funds and domestic workers.

The new bills are outlined in more detail below.


Sectional titles

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development minister Thoko Didiza has published a directive indicating that she plans to introduce the Sectional Title Amendment Bill to parliament before the end of the year.

Approved by Cabinet at the end of August, the Bill will amend the current Sectional Titles Act which provides for the establishment of sectional title schemes.

The proposed changes aim to provide clarity and give additional protections to tenants and other people who hold the lease of a property.

An explanatory memorandum published on the department’s website provides further information on the proposed changes including:

  • Make it a requirement for developers to have a meeting with every lessee of a building in instances where part of such building is to be wholly or partially let for residential purposes. to answer questions put to the developer by the agents of the lessees;
  • Provide that a certificate issued by an architect or a land surveyor must also comply with section 26(2) of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act;
  • Further provide for the amendment of sectional plans in respect of exclusive use areas;
  • Provide for a developer to submit a plan for subdivision or consolidation to the surveyor-general for approval to subdivide, consolidate and to extend a section.

Pensions 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for comment on its proposed Private Member’s Bill (PMB) to amend the Pension Funds Act.

The bill aims to amend the current Pension Funds Act to enable pension fund members to access a percentage of their pension fund before retirement as a guarantee for a loan.

This will help alleviate financial pressure during an emergency such as the coronavirus pandemic or any other emergency similar to Covid-19, the party said.

“The unfortunate outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa has dealt a crippling blow to our country’s economy and has left many South African families in financial ruin. A lifeline such as this would save many families,” the DA said.

“By enabling a member to access a pension-backed loan, that member will be able to leverage their pension fund investment before their retirement date, without eroding their provision for eventual retirement.”

The DA said that lending institutions will be enabled to offer loans to pension fund members at competitive interest rates and over extended or deferred payment periods, given that the loan is fully guaranteed.

“The draft bill provides for a registered pension fund to offer a guarantee to a pension fund member of a maximum of 75% of their share in the value of the fund.

“By enabling a member to access a pension-backed loan, that member will be able to leverage their pension fund investment prior to their retirement date, without eroding their provision for eventual retirement.”


Domestic workers 

Employment and Labour minister Thulas Nxesi has introduced the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill to parliament.

The bill will make a number of amendments to the existing Compensation for Occupational Injuries & Diseases Act – including changes to the existing definition of an ’employee’ to include domestic workers.

As it currently stands the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act states that workers are entitled to claim compensation under specific circumstances – however, this does not cover domestic workers and gardeners.

In seeking compensation, domestic employees are currently only able to claim against the Unemployment Insurance Fund and perhaps make a civil claim against the employer.

The new bill aims to change this by making the Act apply to domestic workers as well.

The bill also wants to introduce regulations to address “the tendency of some employers to dismiss employees on the basis of occupational injuries or diseases,” Nxesi said.

“Chapter VII(A) seeks to introduce the concept of a multi-disciplinary employee-based process of rehabilitation and reintegration of injured employees or employees who contracted occupational diseases,” the explanatory memorandum states.

This means an employer will have to exhaust all rehabilitation and reintegration processes before laying off an employee, Nxesi said.

“Employers will be incentivised for full compliance with the provisions of this chapter by way of rebates on their annual assessments.”


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3 new laws planned for South Africa – including changes for domestic workers and complexes