27 new laws waiting for Ramaphosa’s signature – with time running out

 ·7 May 2024

Update: President Cyril Ramaphosa has today, 7 May, assented two of the 27 Bills – the Second Adjustments Appropriation Bill and the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill.

There are currently over 20 Bills in South Africa that need the signature of President Cyril Ramaphosa to become law, with only a few weeks left until South Africa’s upcoming national election.

The President has 27 Bills on his desk, which have already been signed off by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

In April, the President assented to four new laws for South Africa—the National Veld and Forest Fire Amendment Bill, the Agricultural Product Standards Amendment Bill, the Correctional Services Amendment Act and the Judicial Matters Amendment Act—but since the number of Bills waiting on his signature increased.

The President only has a few weeks left to sign the Bills before Parliament’s term expires at midnight on 21 May 2024 ahead of the 29 May 2024 National and Provincial Election.

Several pieces of legislation on the President’s desk have already received widespread condemnation from the public—such as the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

The NHI Bill aims to establish a fund whereby the government will buy healthcare services for South African citizens, but there are still serious questions over the government’s financial situation to create such a fund.

Investec Healthcare Equity Analyst Letlotlo Lenake said that the NHI would come out in the double digits of GDP, which is a significant amount to spend on healthcare in an emerging economy.

He said that having 5 million taxpayers finance the healthcare needs of 60 million does not make sense, with South Africa simply not being able to afford the NHI.

Other Bills on the President’s desk relate to divorces, cannabis use, climate change, hate speech and more.

That said, the President does not have to sign the Bills into law if he or his team identify any issues.

For instance, in 1999, President Nelson Mandela sent the Liquor Bill, passed by Parliament a year prior, to the Constitutional Court to decide on its constitutionality. The nation’s highest court then ruled that the Bill was unconstitutional.

Ramaphosa could follow this approach or send a Bill directly back to parliament due to concerns over its constitutionality, which he did in 2021 for the National Land Transport Amendment Bill, which is now back on his desk.

Using information from the Parliamentary Monitoring Group, below are all the 27 Bills in South Africa that just need Ramaphosa’s signature to become law:

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