Legislation to come before Parliament in 2015

On 15 February 2015, the Presidency released a press statement detailing legislation that will come before Parliament this year. President Zuma made reference very briefly to certain pieces of legislation during the 2015 State of the Nation Address. See list of legislation below:

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

To further improve local government performance, new laws will be introduced. The Intergovernmental Monitoring, Support and Interventions Bill 2013 will be taken to Parliament. The Bill provides a legislative framework for effective interventions by provinces and national government in municipalities that need assistance.

Currently there is no national legislation regulating interventions in provinces in terms of section 100 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

Government will also introduce the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership and Governance Bill which will recognise the Khoi and San and close the existing gaps in the legislation as there is currently no legislation that recognises the Khoi and the San.

Labour Legislation

1.The Department of Labour is investigating the Abattoir Sector for possibly setting minimum wages and conditions of employment.

  1. The Department of Labour will also review the following sectoral determinations by March 2016 of agriculture, forestry, private security as well as wholesale and retail.

  2. Government expects the finalisation of the Employment Services Act of 2014. This is a milestone piece of legislation in that it formally establishes a public employment service in South Africa on a similar basis as that which exists elsewhere in the world. The legislation will establish a free public employment mechanism where work seekers can register, and be matched to vacancies that employers will be required to report to the Department. The legislation also formally regulates the practices of private employment agencies and temporary employment services, to prevent abuse of unsuspecting work seekers. It will also facilitate the employment of foreign nationals in a manner that is consistent with the objects of this Act and the Immigration Act, 2002 and provide for the registration and regulation of private employment agencies.

  3. The Unemployment Insurance Act of 2001 will be amended to improve benefits to beneficiaries and include public servants in the application of the Act.

  4. The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 130 of 1993 is to be amended to provide for rehabilitation, re-integration and early return to work of occupationally injured and diseased workers and to include and cover domestic workers for compensation for occupational injuries and diseases in a workplace.

  5. The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 is being amended to elaborate on the responsibility of employers to create a healthier and safer working environment.

Department of Rural Development and Land Reform

The President referred to the Land Holdings Bill seeking to prohibit foreign ownership of land.

The practice of limiting land ownership by foreign nationals and juristic persons is an established practice internationally.

According to the proposed policy:

  1. Foreign nationals and juristic persons are understood as non-citizens as well as juristic persons whose dominant share holder or controller is a foreign controlled enterprise, entity or interest. Hence not all immigrants to South Africa will be excluded from land ownership;

  2. This category of foreign nationals that are non-citizens will not be able to own land in freehold from the time of the policy is passed into law; they will be allowed long term lease of 30 to 50 years.

  3. It is recognised that this cannot apply retrospectively without constitutional infringements and as such those who have already acquired freehold would not have their tenure changed by the passing of the proposed law (the Regulation of land Holdings Bill).

However, in such instances the Right of First Refusal will apply in favour of another South African citizen in freehold or the state if the land is deemed strategic.

  1. Furthermore, environmentally and security sensitive lands as well as those that are of historic and cultural significance, and strategic lands (for land reform and socio-economic development) will be classified by law and land ownership by foreign nationals (non-citizens) in these areas will be discouraged.

  2. The policy will be affected through a call for compulsory land holdings disclosures(1). These disclosures will be in terms of race, nationality, gender, extent of land owned and its use. The process will be managed through A Land Commission(2) established, amongst others, to call for these disclosures, collect and assess the information and maintain it in collaboration with the national deeds registry.

The problems that this policy seeks to address include:

  1. The need to secure our limited land for food security and address the land injustice of more than 300 years of colonialism and apartheid.

Forty five per cent (45%) of the population (23 million South Africans) live on or below the poverty. 58% of this poverty stricken people are in rural areas(*3); Access to a land allotment for households and rural entrepreneurs' and enterprises has shown to go a long way in addressing equity and poverty (two parts of our triple challenges).

  1. Furthermore, in many instances high value agricultural land has had its use changed to luxury and leisure uses and environmentally sensitive lands have also been inappropriately developed;

  2. In some parts of the country an escalation in prices has been experienced which has made land in these areas inaccessible to citizens;

  3. The proposed policy makes provisions for exemptions to access lands in classified areas based on certain conditions, primarily developmental.

(1) This will be in In terms of the Proposed Regulation of Land Holdings Bill (2) The land will be in In terms of the Proposed Regulation of Land Holdings Bill (*3) Poverty Trends In South Africa: Estimation of Absolute Poverty: 2006 to 2011 - Statistics South Africa Report 2014.

President Zuma gave more details about the Regulation of Land Holdings Draft Bill on Saturday 14 February, saying if any South African owned more than 12,000 hectares, the government would buy the excess land and redistribute it. This provision is not contained in the current version of the Bill before the state law advisors. Once the state law advisors have certified it, it will go before Cabinet for approval for public comment on the draft bill. Thereafter it would reach Parliament in September/October.


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