7 more laws for Ramaphosa to sign – but new school rules on ice for a week

 ·10 May 2024

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has sent seven pieces of legislation to President Cyril Ramaphosa to assent but has deferred the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill.

The highly contested BELA Bill, which seeks to make Grade R the compulsory school-starting grade and align homeschooling and public schooling, has been deferred to 16 May to allow for the amended committee report to be published in the parliamentary Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports.

That said, the NCOP still passed seven other pieces of legislation that only need President Cyril Ramaphosa’s signature to become law.

This week alone, the President has assented four new laws – the Divorce Amendment Bill, the Preventing and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, Second Adjustments Appropriation Bill, and the Electoral Amendment Bill.

Despite signing these laws, Ramaphosa still has over 30 Bills on his desk that need his signature to become law as parliament races to get as much done as possible ahead of the 29 May election.

The seven new laws passed by the NCOP include:

Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Amendment (PDAL) Bill

The NCOP passed the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Amendment (PDAL) Bill, which seeks to address the shortcomings of the Subdivision of Agricultural Land Act (SALA) of 1970.

This includes promoting cooperative governance in the administration of the Act and addressing the fact that the SALA only protects privately owned land and not high-value land owned by the state, statutory bodies and land administered by traditional authorities.

National Nuclear Regulator Amendment Bill

Parliament said that the amendment Bill seeks to align the National Nuclear Regulator Act with current international regulatory best practices.

“This is necessary because South Africa is one of the founding members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is a signatory to various international conventions governing nuclear safety that have been promulgated under the auspices of the IAEA,” said Parliament.

Gold and Foreign Exchange Contingency Reserve Account (GFECRA) Defrayal Amendment Bill

The GFECRA Defrayal Amendment Bill was first tabled in Parliament following the Budget speech by the Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana on 21 February 2024.

The fund is an account held by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), where the SARB captures losses and profits on currency transactions to protect from currency volatility.

“The Bill provides, among others, for direct charges against the National Revenue Fund for the Contingency Reserve Account of the SARB,” said Parliament.

“It also provides for the reporting of such funds, informed by a New Settlement Agreement between the Minister of Finance and the SARB Governor.”

During the Budget speech, the Godongwana said that National Treasury would tap into R150 billion from GFECRA over three years to stabilise the nation’s debt.

The African Institute for Drug-free Sport Amendment Bill

The Bill promotes sports free from prohibited performance-enhancing substances.

“In the interest of the health and well-being of sportspersons, the Bill prohibits doping practices that contradict the principles of fair play and medical ethics,” said Parliament.

“It also provides for the establishment of the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport, the composition of the Institute, the remuneration and allowances of members of the Institute, its expenditure, finances, and accountability, as well as its powers and duties.”

Before the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which South Africa won, the Springboks were at risk of not being able to fly the South African flag as the country’s laws did not comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) code.

The Division of Revenue Bill

The Division of Revenue Bill was also tabled after the Budget speech.

The Bill provides for the share of each sphere of government of the revenue raised nationally for the relevant financial year, each province’s share of said revenue, and the share of local municipalities.

The Statistics Amendment Bill 

“The Statistics Amendment Bill seeks to strengthen coordination and enhance collaboration among data producers and data users by creating an enabling environment for the production and consumption of quality statistics in the country,” said Parliament.

“It will also provide for the establishment of statistics units by organs of state, the submission of annual statistics plans and annual reports by organs of state, and the establishment of the Statistical Clearing House to promote the functions and objectives of the National Statistics System.”

The Bill will also make the nationwide census every 10 years, which is currently the case, instead of five-year intervals.

The Public Procurement Bill

The Bill, as the name suggests, is designed to regulate public procurement and to define a framework where preferential procurement must be implemented.

“The Bill intends to address the fragmentation of public procurement legislation, align it to international best practices, where appropriate, and help implement the government’s socio-economic policy objectives,” said Parliament.

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