9 new laws for South Africa waiting to be signed by Ramaphosa – from NHI to Hate Speech

 ·4 Jan 2024

With the national elections coming up, Parliament has been pushing through large amounts of legislation, with several laws only needing the President’s signature for assent.

According to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG), the National Assembly (NA) and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) have passed nine Bills that only need the President’s signature.

These Bills cover a host of topics, ranging from universal healthcare to the prevention of veld fires, with many stirring up highly contested debates.

Below is a list of all the potential new laws for South Africa:

National Health Insurance Bill

The NA and NCOP recently passed the highly controversial Bill despite red flags being raised by medical schemes, doctors, business leaders, and Parliament’s own legal service.

The law lays down the groundwork for the state’s ambitious plan to offer free healthcare to many South Africans.

However, questions still remain on how the nation will afford such a program, with the Department of Health providing little information.

Discovery Group CEO Adrian Gore warned that South Africans could pay 30% more tax and get 70% less healthcare if the Bill is introduced.

Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill

The Bill seeks to protect all South Africans from hate crimes and hate speech, particularly those based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or any other type of discrimination.

However, the Bill has been opposed, with the DA, the VF Plus and the ACDP saying that politicians could abuse the new laws to squash dissent.

They also argued that the Constitution already protects issues that the Bill is trying to amend.

Judicial Matters Amendment Bill

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development previously said that the Bill is to correct several practical, procedural and technical issues regarding non-contentious cases and constitutional judgments.

The new Bill aims to amend other legislation as well, including the Magistrates Courts Act, the State Liability Act, the Administration of Estates Act, the Criminal Procedure Act and more.

In terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, the Bills removes the criminal record of anyone who paid a fine for breaking the Covid-19 lockdown rules.

Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Amendment (RICA) Bill

The new RICA Bill follows a Constitutional Court judgement that ruled that RICA is unconstitutional as it fails to provide sufficient safeguards to protect the right to privacy.

The Bill gives greater independence to RICA Judges who approve of surveillance warrants by changing how judges are appointed, establishing acceptable procedures to ensure interception of communications is done lawfully, and creating methods for handling data.

Moreover, if someone’s communications are intercepted as part of an investigation, they will receive a post-surveillance notification, allowing them to protect themselves.

Correctional Services Amendment Bill

The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services said that the Bill provides for the adequate level of independence of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS).

The Bill also makes additional provisions for the custody of all inmates under conditions of human dignity.

Agricultural Product Standards Amendment Bill

“The Bill seeks to tighten the control systems in areas of labelling claims on products for sale. This will ensure that the public has access to accurate and reliable information regarding the products that they consume,” Parliament said.

“Additionally, the Bill is expected to improve quality assurance and advance food safety in South Africa. It will further ensure that all agricultural products sold and exported from South Africa meet certain quality and safety standards and that the regulatory framework for agricultural production, health, and food safety is strengthened.”

Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill

The Bill has been on Ramaphosa’s desk since 2018 after receiving approval from the NA and NCOP.

It seeks to amend the Communal Property Associations Associations Act of 1996 through the following:

  • Insert and delete certain definitions; to provide for clarity on the objective of communal property associations;

  • To provide for the establishment of a Communal Property Associations Office and the appointment of a Registrar of Communal Property Associations;

  • To provide for general plans for land administered by an association;

  • To repeal the provisions relating to provisional associations; to provide improved protection of the rights of communities in respect of movable and immovable property administered by an association;

  • To provide for name changes of associations;

  • To improve the provisions relating to the management of an association that has been placed under administration;

  • To provide clarity on the content of an annual report in respect of associations;

  • To make provision for transitional arrangements; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

National Veld and Forest Fire Amendment Bill 

The Bill provides for the establishment of Fire Protection Associations (FPA) by a municipality or a traditional council in a bid to protect the country from veld fires.

A FPA will have to apply for registration from the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

The National Land Transport Bill

The Bill, which seeks to regulate the land transport industry, has been in Parliament since 2016 and has had several changes.

Although the Bill was sent to the President in 2020, he sent it back to NA due to reservations over its constitutionality.

As reported by TimesLive, the President had concerns that the Bill unconstitutionally usurped the powers of municipalities by giving them to the national government and provinces.

According to the latest version of the Bill, it seeks to do the following:

  • To amend the National Land Transport Act, 2009,

  • to insert certain definitions and amend others;

  • to provide for non-motorised and accessible transport;

  • to bring the Act up to date with developments since the implementation of the Act;

  • to provide for certain powers of provinces to conclude contracts for public transport services;

  • to expand the powers of the Minister to make regulations and introduce safety measures;

  • to amend other transport-related legislation to bring it into line with the Act

  • and to clarify or simplify various provisions or solve problems that have arisen since the implementation of the Act;

  • and to provide for matters connected therewith.

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