From the Government Gazette, Speeches by Cabinet Members and Media Statements (23 November 2020)
National minimum wage
- On 20 November, the National Minimum Wage Commission gazetted a notice calling for comment on proposals for:
- a 4,5% adjustment increasing the national minimum per hour to R21,69 next year, and
- aligning farmworkers’ and domestic workers’ wages with the national minimum next year and ‘by 2022’ respectively, regarding which
- three business representatives on the commission have expressed concern, instead recommending a four-year phase-in.
- In written replies to MPs’ questions (dated 2 November but only circulated last week), Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu confirmed that:
- a draft ‘macro policy on land for human settlements’ is ready for Cabinet approval and release into the public domain for comment
- a significant amount of state-owned land has been identified for ‘rapid release’ and the upgrading of informal settlements, and that
- ‘privately owned land located within priority human settlements and housing development areas’ has also been identified.
- According to the Minister, ‘at this stage it is not clear’ whether:
- new legislation will be required to curb the invasion of land earmarked for human settlements, or
- if this can be addressed by way of amendments to the 1998 Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act.
Refugee Appeals Authority
- On 20 November, amendments to the 2013 rules regulating appeals lodged under the 1998 Refugees Act came into force, among other things:
- allowing a ‘paper determination’ to be made when there is sufficient information on file, and
- for an appeal to be re-heard in certain circumstances.
Shark management and conservation
- On 17 November, Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy undertook to ensure that key recommendations emerging from a review of the 2013 plan of action are taken seriously. They include:
- improving communication and co-ordination between departmental units providing ‘scientific advice’ and those tasked with ‘management action’
- developing ‘measurable indicators’ for tracking progress in completing tasks essential to the plan’s successful implementation, and
- a ‘stronger focus’ on illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
Financial sector matters
- On 18 November, the South African Reserve Bank, Financial Sector Conduct Authority, Payments Association of South Africa and Banking Association South Africa jointly announced that the country’s banks will not accept cheques for deposit or encashment after 31 December 2020.
- The Financial Intelligence Centre has called for input on proposals for guiding accountable institutions on the measures required to mitigate intelligence data ‘reporting failures’.
- The Financial Sector Conduct Authority has called for comment on proposals for:
- declaring crypto assets ‘financial products’, and
- making registration mandatory for anyone providing advice on or selling them.
- According to an accompanying statement of need, this is expected to give consumers ‘adequate protection’ while a broader policy and regulatory framework is developed.
Prepared by Pam Saxby
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"That week in Parliament" is a series of blog posts in which the important Parliamentary events of the week are discussed.