Comprehensive Online Platform to Keep Up to Date with South African Law

When it comes to South African law research, you will appreciate the comprehensiveness of our collection if you are trying to keep up to date with the latest changes in legislation, corporate governance, and labour issues.

Apart from the extensive collection of journals with access to over 310 000 full-text articles, we offer a comprehensive legal information service, which is introduced below. We started the legal information services in 1995, with the first offering at that stage being an electronic form of the Government Gazettes. We have since then expanded the service and product offering to meet the information needs of legal professionals, academics, and corporations regarding up-to-date and credible information delivery.

The exceptionally user-friendly service includes a search facility in addition to menu selection to help users of our services to easily locate relevant information. The services include:

Retrospective Gazettes Archive

The archive provides online access to the South African Government and Provincial Gazettes as far back as 1910. This is especially useful for academics doing research on South African law development over the last century. The collection includes Government Gazettes from 1910 to 1993 on a national level and from 1910 to 1994 on a provincial level.

Subscription to the retrospective Government Gazette archive service helps to save space in storing historical Gazettes and makes it easy to find relevant information for the entire period. The documents are easy to download and can be printed or emailed. We index the Gazettes by decade, making it easier to search for specific information over the 93 years.

Legal Registers

We offer the service in association with Libryo, making easier for corporations to keep up to date with South African law regarding corporate governance issues. The service is specifically designed to ease the load of managing corporate governance and legal compliance. You can create customised profiles as related to the geography of a site, which can then be classified according to the risk item or industry. The service is especially valuable for risk managers, in-house legal teams, compliance managers and management system specialists.

The service includes a full scope legal register relevant to South African law. It is site location and activities specific and includes a powerful search facility. English summaries are provided with the legislation included in the online platform. The legal updates are done in real-time, helping you to keep current with legislative changes relevant to your field of interest. The interactive dashboard includes an activity log, communication feeds, as well as live chat support and integration with any GRC software platform.

Municipal By-Laws

The collection includes full-text access to Municipal by-laws from 1995 onwards for all the South African provinces. Each province can be searched separately for by-laws of disestablished and existing municipalities.

The service offers complete full-text access to all by-laws in force and applicable in municipalities in all nine provinces, from 1995 to the present day. The platform provides access to all the relevant by-laws at one place. The index system provides for an additional means to find information. The collection also includes a comprehensive list of all South African municipalities that have been disestablished.

Sabinet Labour

On the South African labour law front, we offer a comprehensive collection of current reported and unreported labour judgements. Gain access to no fewer than 29 Acts, which can be viewed in list format, cases relevant to specific sections in the Acts, relevant forms, direct links to court rules, labour procedures and practice directives, judgments, bargaining council agreements, and lists of unions, bargaining councils, and more. Subscribe to individual labour judgments, bargaining council agreements, or the full collection.

The above introduction to some of the services serves to show the comprehensiveness of our collection and the usefulness of the platform. We provide full training on the usage of any of the services in addition to our online journal collection. From news research to legislative related products are offered. You can also subscribe to newsletters relevant to the particular services.

Get in touch for more information about our South African law sources, platforms and services.

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The South African Constitution: Access a Comprehensive Collection of Journals

The South African Constitution is the supreme law of the country. The Constitutional Court approved it on 4 December 1996, though it only came in effect at the start of February 1997. With no other law being higher or enjoying supremacy above the South African Constitution, it is the epitome of the South African laws.

The South African Constitution forms the legal base for the rights and obligations of the country’s citizens. It, furthermore, gives validity to the Government’s structure and replaced the Interim Constitution of 1993. However, many amendments have been made to the Constitution since its inception in 1997.

Even though at minimum, 17 amendment acts have been applied to make changes to the South African Constitution, these acts do not receive numbers. The Constitution consists of the following chapters, each with its own categories:

  • Chapter 1 covers the founding provisions.
  • Chapter 2 provides details of the Bill of Rights.
  • Chapter 3 covers the relationship of state organs on national, provincial, and local levels.
  • Chapter 4 deals with the parliament as the legislative part of the Government.
  • Chapter 5 addresses the powers of the president and the National Executive structures.
  • Chapter 6 defines the structure and powers of the nine provinces in the country.
  • Chapter 7 addresses the local government framework and roles of municipalities.
  • Chapter 8 defines the judicial system structure.
  • Chapter 9 addresses the institutions to cover democracy, including the state prosecutor office.
  • Chapter 10 addresses the public administration principles.
  • Chapter 11 sets the structures for state security, including civilian control.
  • Chapter 12 covers the rights, roles, and obligations of traditional leaders.
  • Chapter 13 deals with public finance principles, structures, and support.
  • Chapter 14 covers general provisions.

It also contains a set of schedules, such as schedule 1, which describes the country’s flag, and schedule 2 covering the oaths that judges and political office bearers must take. Schedule 7 covers repealed laws.

With it being the highest law of the country, it often forms the focus of law studies and research. Whether you need to do research in preparation for a court case, appeal to the Constitutional Court, or complete a Master’s thesis, you will appreciate the comprehensiveness of our online collection.

The comprehensive collection of publications includes numerous law journal titles and full-text articles. Some examples of relevant journal titles are briefly noted below.

African Journal of Democracy and Governance

Published by the Institute for Democracy, Governance, Peace and Development in Africa, the quarterly peer-reviewed and inter-disciplinary journal contains essays, notes, book reviews, articles, and editorials on the topics of governance, democracy, and peace development on the continent. It provides a platform for discussions, and a repository of high-quality academic work relevant to the development of peace, governance, and democracy. The journal is published in English and French. The title was listed among the journals approved by the Norwegian List of Accredited Journals in October 2017. It is also accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Our collection includes everything from Volume 1, Issue 1 of 2014 to the present.

Institute for Security Studies Papers

Published by the Institute for Security Studies, the papers are published on an irregular basis and the publication in its original form is now inactive. The papers are available in several other reports, including the Africa Report and South Africa Report. The papers provide a credible platform for research in progress. Our collection includes everything from Issue 1 of February 1996 to the present. Even though the publication is no longer active, it is continued by several reports as mentioned earlier. Use the search facility to find full-text articles in the above and many other journals forming part of the collection for research on the South African Constitution.

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Changes to by-law impacts new business in Cape Town

As property rates and costs increases and tourism continues to grow in Cape Town, more and more homeowners are letting out their property. But did you know, you need city permission before leasing your flat or property for short-term stays? Not anymore.

With a recent increase in the use and need for temporary accommodation, the Western Cape – City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality, last year, amended the Municipal Planning By-law to include and allow for controlled densification, construction of a third dwelling and short-term letting.  

These amendments are effective from 3 February 2020. This is very good news for small business owners and prospective Airbnb’s that were limited previously due to the municipal zoning restrictions.

If a homeowner constructs an additional dwelling, it will be now possible to register a sectional title scheme and can be sold off as separate dwellings.

As with any by-law, these amendments or laws do not override the rules of a body corporate or a homeowners’ association, or restrictive conditions in a title deed.

The 2020 Consolidated Municipal Planning By-law document containing all amendments from 3 February 2020 can be downloaded here. For more information on other legislation, visit https://legal.sabinet.co.za – your direct and convenient access to the laws that govern South Africa.

Access multivariate resources applicable to the Republic with the three-tier system of government – National, Provincial and Local – Your Blueprint of the South African Legal Landscape.

This land is your land, this land is my land

The parliamentary committee on land expropriation published the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill in Government Gazette 42902 for comment on 6 December.


The plan is for the committee to report to the national assembly by 31 March 2020.

This is a huge issue in South African history as it is the first time that parliament aims to amend the Bill of Rights. The aim of the draft bill is to amend the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, so as to provide that where land and any improvements thereon are expropriated for the purposes of land reform, the amount of compensation payable may be nil; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

The draft bill’s memorandum also adds that “such limitation is a legitimate option for land reform, so as to address the historic wrongs caused by the arbitrary dispossession of land, and in so doing ensure equitable access to land and further empower the majority of South Africans to be productive participants in ownership, food security and agricultural reform programs”.

National legislation will set out specific circumstances where a court may determine that the amount of compensation is nil.

The public only has a few days left to submit written submissions on the bill. These must be received by no later than 31 January 2020. For more information on this and the gazette, click here. *

*Ad Hoc Committee on Section 25 extends deadline for written submissions to 29 February 2020. 

For more information on this and other legislation, visit https://legal.sabinet.co.za – your direct and convenient access to the laws that govern South Africa.

Access multivariate resources applicable to the Republic with the three-tier system of government – National, Provincial and Local – Your Blueprint of the South African Legal Landscape.

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SabinetLaw : Draft legislation designed to promote and develop sport and recreation in South Africa is heading for parliament.

The sport and recreation department published the Draft National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill.

The department published the proposed legislation for comment in December 2019. Comment is due by 28 February 2020.

The draft bill aims to set up a Sport Arbitration Tribunal to resolve disputes between sport or recreation bodies. It also aims to amend the National Sport and Recreation Act, 1998 to, amongst others provide for and regulate combat sport and the fitness industry, which would include gyms. The amendments will also provide for changes to the procedure in bidding for and hosting of international sports and recreation events. 

When these amendments are enacted, the minister would also be empowered to set up a Committee of Inquiry to investigate any matter that put sport or recreation in disrepute, financial mismanagement and good governance.

Meanwhile, the department has also published the Draft South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport Amendment Bill’s explanatory summary in Notice 15.

The proposed legislation was published for comment earlier this month. Comment is also sought until 28 February 2020.

The draft bill aims to amend the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport Act of 2007. According to the draft bill’s memorandum, amendments to the principal act are needed to address problems such as the lack of jurisdiction to test school children involved in sport for the usage of performance enhancement substances; lack of transparency and openness in board appointments; the exclusion of recreational activities such as the fitness industry from the act and the lack of any prohibition in terms of possession and distribution of prohibited substances as proclaimed by the World Anti-Doping Association.

For more information on this and other legislation, visit https://legal.sabinet.co.za – your direct and convenient access to the laws that govern South Africa.

Access multivariate resources applicable to the Republic with the three-tier system of government – National, Provincial and Local – Your Blueprint of the South African Legal Landscape.

No More.

Violence against women and children has become an international concern for many. We hear more and more stories from the victims of women and child abuse and it has become evident that South Africans are taking a stand.

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign  started in 1991 and continues to this day as a United Nations campaign which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). 

That is why it is so prevalent in today’s society that the Prescription in Civil and Criminal Matters (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill has been tabled in parliament. The Bill provides for the prosecution of people who have committed sexual offences, irrespective of when these offences were committed.

The bill aims to:

  • Amend the Prescription Act, 1969, so as to extend the list of sexual offences in respect of which prescription does not commence to run under certain circumstances regarding a debt that is based on the alleged commission of any of those sexual offences; 
  • amend the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977, so as to extend the list of sexual offences in respect of which a prosecution may be instituted after a period of 20 years has lapsed since the date of the alleged commission of the sexual offence; and
  • provide for matters connected therewith. Sexual offences include rape, indecent assault, incest, child pornography and commercial sexual exploitation of children.

The Bill provides for the prosecution of people who have committed sexual offences, irrespective of when these offences were committed.

Cabinet added that the “proposed amendments will provide the National Prosecution Authority with a wider discretion to institute the prosecution of sexual offences cases that were committed even 20 years earlier”.

The portfolio committee on justice and correctional services will process the bill.

For more information this bill and other legislation, visit https://legal.sabinet.co.za – your direct and convenient access to the laws that govern South Africa.

Access multivariate resources applicable to the Republic with the three-tier system of government – National, Provincial and Local – Your Blueprint of the South African Legal Landscape.

The value of the research emanating from Southern Africa

After the largest gathering of African scholars in the world took place in November (the 63rd Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association attended by about 2000 scholars and professionals), it’s the perfect time to reflect on the richness of research that comes out of Southern Africa. Especially when much of that research addresses two of the UN’s sustainable development goals that are so critical in Africa – good health and wellbeing, and quality education.

Here are just a few examples.

Pioneering work in middle-ear transplants 

Professor Mashudu Tshifularo and his team at the University of Pretoria (UP) Faculty of Health Sciences have pioneered world’s first middle-ear transplant using 3D-printed bones. 

After studying conductive hearing loss for 10 years, Prof. Tshifularo more recently looked to 3D technologies to provide a solution to scan and rebuild damaged areas of the ear that include some of the smallest bones in the human body.

His work may well provide the answer to conductive hearing loss, a middle ear problem caused by congenital birth defects, infection, trauma or metabolic diseases, that up until now was considered to be permanent. By adopting new technology and adapting it to a previously unsolvable problem, Prof. Tshifularo is bringing hope to people across the globe – not just in Africa.

Research proves scaled-up ART use controls TB

Scientists from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation & Sequencing Platform (KRISP) and the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) have used data from one of the world’s largest longitudinal population health surveillance systems to investigate tuberculosis (TB) in a high-HIV-prevalence, rural, South African community and to quantify the impact of community-ART-coverage scale-up on recently diagnosed TB cases.

Proving that scaling up antiretroviral therapy coverage will reduce cases of TB, this study provides key information that will guide policymakers on the scale-up of ART in HIV hyperendemic sub-Saharan African communities. This will, ultimately, aid in the control of TB – the world’s most deadly infectious disease. 

Groundbreaking research in teaching and learning

​Dr Valentin Uwizeyimana, the first student from Rwanda in the Graduate School of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University, conducted groundbreaking research on using mobile technologies in foreign-language learning.

His research is importance, not only because it promotes the use of devices and applications that are already popular in Africa for English language learning, but also because the learning model he has developed can be applied to different languages and countries around the world.

Dr Uwizeyimana’s research made use of a multitude of apps with the purpose of improving the language learners’ overall proficiency – all without the direct involvement of language teachers. This research will offer a solution to the challenge that learners face when the target language is a foreign language, or a language not really spoken in their communities.

Access to valuable research

For over 3 decades, Sabinet has collected and disseminated quality Southern African information to researchers and scholars across the globe. This has enabled researchers, like these singled out above, to access the information necessary to drive their inspired thinking and to give the world access to their inspired work.

Sabinet African Journals is home to over 500 African electronic journals, from 217 African publishers and includes subject collections on medicine and health, education, business and finance, labour, law, religion, science and technology, and agriculture. Visit www.journals.co.za for more information.