Parliament plays a critical role ensuring that the laws drafted to regulate the economy – and govern public life in South Africa – are consistent with the supreme law of the land, our Constitution.
Parliament handled several bills in 2018 which will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the economy in 2019. Some were passed by Parliament and made it to the Union Buildings, while others are still in the corridors of the legislature.
National Minimum Wage Bill
President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the bill into law in November, after procedural delays made the bill’s enactment miss the symbolic deadline of May 1, Workers Day.
Ramaphosa has also assented to the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and Labour Relations Amendment Bill, which were negotiated by the National Economic Development and Labour Council at the same time as the National Minimum Wage.
Competition Amendment Bill
The National Assembly elected to pass the Competition Amendment Bill and refer it to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence in October.
The bill seeks to close loopholes in the current Competition Act and define contraventions and uncompetitive conduct by companies more explicitly.
The amendment bill also introduces means by which first-time offenders contravening competition laws can be punished.
Public Audit Amendment Bill
The bill has made its way to the Union Buildings from Parliament, and the Presidency says it is receiving Ramaphosa’s attention.
South African Reserve Bank Amendment Bill
While the ANC and government insist that the Reserve Bank’s independence is enshrined in the Constitution, Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago has asked that the independence of the institution be jealously guarded.
Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill
National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) published Taxation Laws Amendment Bill and the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill in February. They took in public comment on the bills from June.
The two draft laws seek to introduce tax reforms which allow for the introduction of tax exemptions, incentives and benefits for low income South Africans emerging into the tax paying class as well as for businesses trading beyond SA.
Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill
The bill currently undergoes the hearing of the National Council of Provinces.
Carbon Tax Bill
The bill is part of SA’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Mboweni described it as a “benefit” for all of South Africa, and part of the country’s contribution to the world, given the threat climate change poses to humanity.