3 new laws to keep your eye on in South Africa right now
South Africa’s Parliament is dealing with several important pieces of legislation in the third quarter of this year, including elections, insurance and education.
Data provided by the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) shows that there are currently 53 bills before parliament – including a mix of consequential, medium-level and minor legislation.
Some of the significant bills undergoing the parliamentary process that is set to be considered or passed in the coming months are outlined in more detail below:
Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill
The bill has been slowly passing through parliament since its announcement in 2017 by the Department of Basic Education and seeks to introduce changes in schools across the nation, including stricter rules around attendance admissions and language policies.
Some of the key points include:
- A new starting age: School attendance in South Africa will be compulsory from grade R and no longer only from grade 1.
- Compulsory attendance: Stricter punishments will be introduced for parents who fail to ensure their children attend school, including jail time and/or a fine of up to 12 months.
- Corporal punishment: Corporal punishment is abolished, and no person may inflict or impose corporal punishment on a learner at a school, during a school activity, or in a hostel accommodating learners of a school.
- Governing body disclosures: Members of a school governing body, like other public officials, will be required tp disclose on an annual basis their financial interests and the financial interests of their spouse, partner and immediate family members.
- Homeschooling: The bill introduces further clarity around home-schooling, including that South African learners may be educated at home only if registered for such education.
- Business with the state: The bill will prohibit educators from conducting business with the state or from being a director of a public or private company conducting business with the state and creates an offence should an educator contravene the abovementioned provision.
Electoral Amendment Bill
The Electoral Amendment Bill will change the Electoral Act of 1998 in order to provide provisions for the election of independent candidates to the national parliament and provincial legislatures. The bill also seeks to address queries over remuneration for Electoral Commission of South Africa members.
The bill has been in parliament since June 2020; however, most recently has seen a lot of activity, with weekly deliberations on the bill taking place from the start of May until the latest meeting on Thursday (25 August).
Despite the progression of the bill and its being in its final stages, its constitutionality is being questioned.
News24 recently reported that 22 civil society groups are threatening to take on Parliament after it allegedly refused to work more on the bill and relied on a ‘flawed participatory process’.
Financial Sector and Deposit Insurance Levies Bill
This money bill was introduced into the National Assembly by Enoch Gondongwana in January of this year and is now undergoing deliberations in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
The bill aims to provide for the introduction of new levies for the financial sector. Under this law, banks, alongside other financial services entities that are supervised by the government, such as life insurers, will have to pay levies in respect each year.
The levy forms part of the supervisory tools used by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) to maintain and track financial stability in the country.
The amount paid by each supervised entity is determined by the type of supervised entity it is and can range up to R45,000,000 for entities such as large banks or be as small as R1,000 for cooperative banks.
Financial Sector and Deposit Insurance Levies (Administration) and Deposit Insurance Premiums Bill
This bill adds to the Financial Sector and Deposit Insurance Levies and manages the administration of the collection of the financial sector levy.