President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed a number of new bills into law since being re-elected in May 2019, ushering in changes in a number of areas including traffic enforcement and qualifications fraud.
These laws not only affect private individuals but also businesses, and companies have been urged to bring their policies in line with the new changes.
This is particularly important where there are amendments to labour laws, and significant case law, says John Botha, chief operating officer of HR and labour law consulting firm Global Business Solutions.
Below Botha outlined some of the new pieces of legislation and how local businesses should prepare for them.
Check who is driving for you
The president signed the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Bill into law in August 2019.
While the law is not yet in effect, employers should establish the traffic demerit points of certain categories of staff from NATIS in preparation for the incoming demerit system, Botha said.
Under the system, a proxy needs to be appointed who keeps track of drivers and subsequent fines. While that proxy cannot be held personally responsible for the fines, it is an infringement to not keep track of drivers and reassign the fines to the correct driver.
According to managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, future and past employment contracts need to also contain a clause that allows you to receive information on your employees’ infringements.
“If an employee’s license is suspended as a result of fines obtained in their work as well personal capacity, yet they continue to drive for your company, the company can also be held responsible for this.”
On Saturday (5 September), Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said that the start date for the new Aarto Act will soon be proclaimed, but noted that it will be ‘in full effect from June next year (2020)’. The system is expected to roll out in phases – starting with Gauteng.
Check who you are hiring
Ramaphosa signed the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act in August 2019.
The act aims to prevent individuals from misrepresenting their qualifications by allowing for the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to establish and maintain separate registers for professional designations, misrepresented qualifications and fraudulent qualifications.
Botha said that companies should also have mandatory verification of full or part qualifications in line with South Africa’s new CV fraud laws.
Signed by president Cyril Ramaphosa on 13 August 2019, the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Amendment Act states that employers, government departments, education and training institutions (both public and private), and professional bodies must first check if their employees or members’ qualifications are registered on the NQF.
An authentic national or South African qualification, or part-qualification must be registered on the NQF offered by a registered and accredited educational institution or skills development provider, and lawfully obtained, said the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
“If the qualifications are not registered, they can refer them to SAQA for verification,” it said.
“Similarly, South Africans and foreign nationals who have obtained qualifications and part-qualifications from other countries must also have their qualifications and part-qualifications verified and evaluated by SAQA.”
In September 2018 South Africa’s Constitutional Court effectively ruled that the private use of cannabis in the country is lawful. Following this judgement, businesses should have a substance abuse policy in place that clearly outlines its position, said Botha.
There should be some clarity on whether the company has a zero-tolerance policy and what the testing and observation protocols are, he said.
Unsurprisingly this issue has already been dealt with to some degree by the country’s labour courts and the CCMA, and it is important for companies to familiarise themselves with these judgements.