3 New Laws South Africa’s Politicians Are Considering – Including One That Will Nationalise The Reserve Bank

On Tuesday (29 October), the National Assembly revived 14 bills which had lapsed at the end of the fifth parliament. According to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) there were 39 unfinished bills when parliament dissolved. These bills need to be officially ‘revived’ and reintroduced before they are allowed to undergo the rest of the process of becoming official laws.

These are three of the most notable bills that are being revived and what they mean for South Africans;

SARB Amendment Bill (2018)

In August 2018, the EFF tabled the South African Reserve Bank Amendment Bill, which seeks to nationalise the central bank.
South Africa’s central bank is one of the few in the world that’s still owned by private shareholders.
The draft bill provides for the following:

  • The State as the sole shareholder of the shares in the Bank;
  • The responsibility of the President of the Republic in consultation with the Minister of Finance and Parliament to appoint the Governor, Deputy Governors and all other directors of the Bank; and
  • The role of the Minister of Finance as a shareholder to exercise the rights attached to the shares in the Bank.

While the bill is a ‘private members bill’, it aligns with the ruling ANC’s own position on nationalising the Reserve Bank which means it may gain traction from the ruling party.
However, the government may ultimately decide to publish its own draft bill around nationalisation instead of using the EFF’s framework.

Prevention and Combatting of Hate Speech and Hate Speech Bill

Initially tabled in 2016, the Hate Speech Bill has come under a large amount of public scrutiny since its introduction, primarily because of the large number of characteristics which are now covered under ‘hate speech’.
Under the new laws, hate speech will be defined as a clear intention to be harmful or to incite harm, or promote or propagate hatred on the basis of these characteristics:

  • Age;
  • Albinism;
  • Birth;
  • Colour;
  • Culture;
  • Disability;
  • Ethnic or social origin;
  • Gender or gender identity;
  • HIV status;
  • Language;
  • Nationality;
  • Migrant or refugee status;
  • Race;
  • Religion;
  • Sex (which includes intersex or sexual orientation).

The latest draft of the bill (April 2018) now includes a section of scenarios where the hate speech rules will not apply.
The new section states that the offence of hate speech does not apply in respect, terms of the above characteristics if it is done in good faith in the course of engagement in:

  • Any bona fide artistic creativity, performance or other forms of expression, to the extent that such creativity, performance or expression does not advocate hatred that constitutes an incitement to cause harm;
  • Any academic or scientific inquiry;
  • Fair and accurate reporting or commentary in the public interest or in the publication of any information, commentary, advertisement or notice, in accordance with section 16(1) of the Constitution;
  • The bona fide interpretation and proselytising or espousing of any religious tenet, belief, teaching, doctrine or writings, to the extent that such interpretation and proselytisation does not advocate hatred that constitutes incitement to cause harm.

While the changes made will likely be welcomed due to the protection that they now offer to people acting under good faith, adding additional tests for what does and does not qualify as ‘hate speech’ is also likely to greatly complicate the offence.
This is important, as someone who assumed that they had protection and said things in good faith (and for those who would be protected under current laws) could still face severe punishments should they be found guilty of the offence of hate speech.
This includes a fine and imprisonment not exceeding three years for first-time offenders, and a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years for any subsequent offences.

Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill

The RABS is set to replace the current Road Accident Fund and will act as a social security scheme for the victims of road accidents.
According to Kirstie Haslam, a partner at DSC Attorney, some of the major changes introduced by the bill include:

  • Payments for loss of income will no longer be made in lump sums – instead, they’re to be paid monthly, will be capped, and in some cases limited to the national average salary (approximately R3,500 per month);
  • Regardless of whether an individual has been fully rehabilitated, payments will automatically cease after 15 years; when the injured party returns to work; or when the injured party reaches the age of 60;
  • Minors will qualify for compensation for lost earning potential – again capped at the national average – only when they turn 18, regardless of how serious their injuries are;
  • Claims must be paid through an administrator instead of a private attorney;
  • All claims will need to be submitted electronically;
  • Claimants will have to cover the costs of obtaining medical and police reports, with limited potential for reimbursement through the fund.


Article courtesy of https://businesstech.co.za/