4 new laws for South Africa waiting to be signed by Ramaphosa

 ·29 Jun 2023

A handful of bills have reached the final stage of the legislative process and are waiting for President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign them into law.

The bills relate to influential factors within South Africa, including writing off Eskom’s debt, expanding the number of official languages and establishing a state-owned bank, among others.

According to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG), there are 59 separate bills at various stages of becoming law, either making their way through the National Assembly (NA), the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) or engaged in consultation.

The PMG is an information service that tracks and documents the daily activities of the Parliament. It keeps a record of these activities but also publishes reports and documents that offer insights into the performance of government departments.

Eskom Debt Relief Bill and Appropriation Bill

One of the most notable bills that are expected to be signed into law soon is the Eskom Debt Relief Bill (Debt Bill) which aims to write off Eskom’s outstanding debts.

To further establish the financial backing of the debt relief plan, the Appropriation Bill appropriates money from the National Revenue Fund for the country’s requirements.

Under the budget, the debt relief strategy includes the following:

  • R184 billion – representing Eskoms full debt settlement requirement in three parts over the medium term.
  • R70 billion – a direct take-over of Eskom loan portfolio in 2025/26.

Financial Matters Amendment Bill

The Financial Matters Amendment Bill aims to make multiple changes to pension-related, monetary and auditing provisions.

The bill aims to change the following eight existing laws:

  • Associated Institutions Pension Fund Act
  • Temporary Employees Pension Fund Act
  • Military Pensions Act
  • Government Employees Pension Law
  • Financial and Fiscal Commission Act
  • Land and Agricultural Development Bank Act (Land Bank Act)
  • Auditing Profession Act
  • Auditing Profession Amendment Act

In broad terms, amendments are intended to rectify past discrimination against life partners of military pensioners. According to Parliament, the changes will enable life partners to retroactively claim benefits from the date when the amendment came into effect.

Moreover, the bill includes an amendment to the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) to streamline processes and ensure fair treatment for pensioners and their life partners.

Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill

At the start of May, the Consitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill was passed by the National Assembly and sent to the President for assent.

The amendment bill seeks to recognise South African Sign Language as one of the official languages in the country and to provide for matters incidental thereto.

As stated in the objects of the bill, the amendment aims to ensure the realisation of the rights of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing to equal protection and benefit of the law and human dignity.

Until now, the South African Constitution provided for 11 official languages: Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu.

South African Postbank Limited Amendment Bill

The Postbank amendment bill will allow for the shareholding of Postbank to be transferred from the South African Post Office (SAPO) to the government and allow for the setting up of a Bank Controlling Company (BCC) – a holding company for the bank.

Parliament said the bill: “seeks to amend other sections of the Act affected by the changes in the reporting structure and to establish a new holding company for the Postbank.”

“These changes will facilitate Postbank’s registration as a Bank Controlling Company, allowing it to operate as a full-fledged bank.”

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