New laws in South Africa that will affect everyone

New laws in South Africa that will affect everyone

There are several new laws in various stages of development in South Africa. From regulating e-hailing services like Uber, to imposing harsher penalties on certain crimes.

Below are summaries of the most notable new laws for South Africa. Some simply require the President’s signature to come into effect, while others still have a lengthy public consultation process ahead of them.

Sabinet Law publishes information on the current status of each of the Bills discussed below, and provides regular updates from government and the news media about the regulations and legislation under development.

Regulations for Uber and other ride hailing services

The National Land Transport Amendment Bill aims to impose additional regulations on electronic ride hailing services (e-hailing services) such as Uber and Bolt in South Africa. The National Assembly passed the Bill on 10 March and has sent it to President Cyril Ramaphosa for assent.

The Bill creates a new category of operating licenses. It also imposes obligations on technology providers to block illegal operators on their technology platforms.

Should a platform allow a driver to operate on its platform illegally, it could face a penalty of up to R100,000. The Bill also makes provision for imprisonment of up to two years on e-hailing services that allow illegal operators on their platforms.

Minimum wage

The National Assembly has passed the National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill and has sent it to the National Council of Provinces.

This follows an increase in the national minimum wage of 3.8%, from R20 per hour to R20,76 per hour.

The minimum wage increases were gazetted by the Minister of Labour, Thulas Nxesi, and took effect on 1 March.

In addition to the national minimum wage, the Minister made the following amendments to minimum wages in South Africa:

  • Farm workers are entitled to a minimum wage of R18,68 per hour;
  • Domestic workers are entitled to a minimum wage of R15,57 per hour; and
  • Workers employed on an expanded public works programme are entitled to a minimum wage of R11,42 per hour.

Climate change

President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to finalise the Climate Change Bill, which aims to provide a regulatory framework for the effective management of inevitable climate change impacts.

The President stated that the regulatory framework will enhance South Africa’s adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce the country’s vulnerability to climate change. It will also identify new industrial opportunities in the green economy.

Land expropriation without compensation

The National Assembly unanimously passed a motion to extend the deadline for drafting an amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution of South Africa to 29 May 2020. The ad-hoc committee tasked with drafting the amendment previously had until the end of March to do so.

Section 25 sets out property rights in South Africa and begins as follows: “No one may be deprived of property except in terms of law of general application, and no law may permit arbitrary deprivation of property.”

In its current draft, one of the provisions the amendment wishes to add to the Constitution is: “a court may, where land and any improvement thereon are expropriated for the purposes of land reform, determine that the amount of compensation is nil”.

However, according to reports, there is pressure on legislators to give the power of determining nil compensation with the relevant Minister, rather than the courts. Someone whose land is expropriated without compensation may then approach the courts for review.

After the ad-hoc committee completes its draft, it must be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly. It then goes to the National Council of Provinces where six of the nine provinces of South Africa must agree on the amendment for it to take effect.

From there, Parliament must adopt a “law of general application” — a law like the Expropriation Bill which is currently undergoing consultations.

The Expropriation Bill will have to go through a similar process as the constitutional amendment but will not need a special majority to carry. Simply securing more than 50% of the vote in the National Assembly, and five provinces will be enough. It will go to the President to be signed into law.

SabinetLaw provides full coverage of the new draft Expropriation Bill and the 18th Amendment to the South African Constitution for land expropriation without compensation.

Compulsory schooling

The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, has announced plans to table an amendment bill to the Basic Education Act in Parliament during 2020.

Referred to as the Basic Education Amendment Bill, the Minister stated that it will make two schooling years before Grade 1 compulsory.

A draft bill released for public comment in 2017, called the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA), the bill attracted criticism for proposing stricter control measures over which schools learners are allowed to attend.

Among the other proposed changes in the BELA Bill were:

  • Harsh penalties for persons obstructing children from attending school;
  • Revision of school’s teaching languages and religion; and
  • Clarity on home schooling recognition and qualifications.

Mobile data price cuts

Vodacom and the Competition Commission have reached an agreement which will see the mobile network operator reduce data prices across its product portfolio by at least 30%.

Vodacom committed to further reducing its prices on 1 April 2021 for a total decrease of around 40%.

This follows a Competition Commission inquiry into South Africa’s data services market, which was concluded in December 2019.

Vodacom said that it agreed to reduce its prices in anticipation of the assignment of additional radio frequency spectrum for 4G and 5G networks. It is trusting the relevant authorities to ensure that additional spectrum is released in 2020.

Radio frequency spectrum is equivalent to network capacity for cellular operators like Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom’s mobile division. The networks have previously stated that access to additional spectrum is necessary for them to reduce prices and remain current with the latest technologies, such as 5G.

A white paper and policy direction from the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies has stipulated that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa must assign spectrum to a new Wholesale Open Access Network (WOAN).

President Ramaphosa has stated that the licensing of the WOAN will likely be completed in 2021. The licensing of the WOAN can happen independently of the assignment of additional spectrum to other network operators.

Black Economic Empowerment

Cabinet approved the Employment Equity Amendment Bill in February, clearing the path for the bill to be submitted to the National Assembly in Parliament.

In its current draft, the Employment Equity Amendment Bill aims to regulate sector-specific employment targets to address the under-representation of blacks, women, and people with disabilities.

The Bill also aims to make an employment equity certificate a precondition for access to state contracts.

The Public Procurement Bill was also published for comment and approved by Cabinet in February.

President Ramaphosa stated that the Procurement Bill is part of government’s efforts to empower black and emerging businesses and advance radical economic transformation. 

Once passed into law, the Bill will repeal the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, 2000 and amend other procurement-related laws.

Harsher punishment for criminals

The Department of Justice and Correctional Services has published three draft bills that aim to introduce harsher punishments for criminals in South Africa. The three bills are:

Among the changes being introduced by these bills is a broadening of the categories of sex offenders whose names must be included in the National Register for Sex Offenders.

Bail and sentencing conditions in cases that involve gender-based violence will also be tightened.

How to Access Journal Articles on the South African Legal History

We offer a comprehensive selection of journals and articles relevant to the South African legal history. One such example is Fundamina.

Fundamina: A Journal of Legal History

Published biannually by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Fundamina is the leading journal for articles on South African legal history. It is the published voice of the Southern African Society of Legal Historians. The journal articles are peer-reviewed by highly credible international and national subject experts. Our collection includes everything from Volume 8 of 2002 to the present.

An example of an article published in the journal is that of “The history and nature of the right to institute a private prosecution in South Africa” by Jamil Ddamulra Mujuzi affiliated to the University of the Western Cape. The article was published in Volume 25, Number 1 of 2019 on pages 131 to 169.

The author addresses the issue of the right to private prosecution in South Africa as legislated from 1828. The South African statutory law stated from 1828 to 1976 that a victim of crime in the country could initiate private prosecution.

However, according to South African legal history, this changed with the promulgation of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, which lists people authorised to institute private prosecutions. The act, however, does not state the right of a victim of crime to institute such private prosecution.

According to South African legal history, the courts have upheld section 7 of the act to give victims of crime the right to initiate private prosecution.

The article takes a closer look at the history of the right to private prosecution. The author then goes on to argue that although it is not an expressed right for the victim of crime that the South African legal history shows that the victim does have the right. The article looks at the limitations of such a right and provides suggestions on how the right can be applied and strengthened.

Annual Survey of South African Law

Our comprehensive journal collection includes several relevant titles and full-text articles. We offer the basic and advanced search facilities to conduct keyword or title searches on topics of relevance. If you are doing research or want access to historical information for a court case, use the search facility to find relevant titles.

We offer an online platform for accessing more than 430 journal titles relevant to Africa and more than 350 000 full-text articles in such journals. You can subscribe to specific journal titles or pay per article that you want to download and print. With this platform, we create a valuable repository of highly credible journals and articles for research on a range of academic and law-related topics. The open-access, pay-per-article option and the subscription-based services make it affordable and easy to gain access to the titles.

Our service offering makes it possible to find articles relevant to topics in the fields of education, law, labour, medicine and health, business and finance, religion, science and technology, and Juta’s Law Collection. You can also use the A-Z collection search option to browse according to title (organised in alphabetical) order. We offer three ways to access content:

Subscription-Based Access

Users of the platform have access to bibliographic information about articles, papers, and journals, in addition to books. However, online access to the full-text articles published in subscription-based journals can only be accessed if you are a subscriber to the collection or the particular journal title. If you want access to the full-text article in a subscription-based journal without being a subscriber, select the pay-per-view option.

Pay-Per-View

With this access model, you can purchase an article in a collection or journal to which you are not a subscriber. Simply choose the purchase option for immediate access. You can download the document in PDF format for offline usage.

Open Access

The articles marked OA can be accessed and downloaded free of charge without requiring a subscription.

Use the search facility to find articles relevant to your topic in the field of South African legal history. Contact us for more information about the subscription options.

Academic Law Research Made Easier with Online Access to African Journals

Access to world-class academic and law articles is essential for research purposes. To this end, you will appreciate our extensive collection of peer-reviewed and highly acclaimed journals relevant to the African continent. It is the largest online collection of its kind and with new articles and journal titled added regularly, the searchable collection is growing fast.

Sabinet African Journals offers online access to more than 310 000 full-text articles from more than 500 journal titles. The platform is already used by all the major universities for academic research in the country.

The information is categorised, indexed and optimised for maximum accessibility through our search facility to meet the information needs of students, academics and professionals, also when it comes to law research topics.

Our track record spans over three decades of excellence in quality information delivery in various topics. The collection covers from law to medicine, labour, business & finance, in addition to education, religion, science, technology and agriculture, as well as social sciences and humanities.

With accuracy at the core of academic law research, it is imperative to have access to relevant and credible information sources. Though the Internet has a plethora of information sources, having to work through thousands of search results can be a daunting task. Likewise, having to evaluate each source to determine credibility can be equally challenging.

Our information specialists do the footwork, so that you can save time and have the assurance of credible information sources. Subscription to the platform gives you access to superb information sources, all relevant to the continent.

We regularly update the information, enabling access to the most up-to-date and relevant journals and full-text articles.

Our search function is easy to use. For exceptionally accurate results, we recommend using the Advanced Search, allowing the narrowing down of search results to meet your particular academic research topic needs.

We have several subscription options to meet user requirements. You can subscribe to the full African collection, specific journal titles or subject-specific collections. If you subscribe to a journal title, you also gain access to the archive of content for the specific title. Search from anywhere as long as you have access to the Internet. The collection is available 24/7.

Relevant journal titles include, but are not limited to:

  • Acta Criminologica: South African Journal of Criminology
  • African Human Rights Law Journal
  • African Journal on Conflict Resolution
  • Business Tax and Company Law Quarterly
  • Conflict Trends
  • Fundamina: A Journal of Legal History
  • Journal for Juridical Science
  • Servamus Community-based Safety and Security Magazine
  • South African Journal of Human Rights

Many more relevant titles form part of the collection relevant to academic research.

Legal Information Services

We also offer a comprehensive information service delivery to legal professionals, companies and educational facilities in South Africa. The offering includes:

  • Government Gazettes
  • Retrospective Gazettes Archive
  • National Legislation
  • Provincial Legislation
  • Bill Tracker & Parliamentary Documents
  • Sabinet Monitoring Services
  • Sabinet Legal Registers
  • Municipal By-laws
  • Sabinet Labour

Keep up to date with legislative changes, government policies, speeches and opinion pieces through our legal information service offering. Whether you need to be in the know about the promulgation of a new Act or want access to reported and unreported labour related judgments as part of your ongoing academic research project, you can rely on our professionals to deliver information relevant to your needs.

Whether you want access to relevant journal titles, want to be alerted regarding legal developments, want news updates, or want full access to the African journal collection, be sure to contact us to make your academic law research easier with credible information sources.

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.