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South African Cabinet approves new laws – including new worker and property rules

JOHANNESBURG, (The Southern African Times) -Cabinet has approved a number of new bills for submission to parliament, including proposed legislation for workplace safety, and consumer protections around housing.

In a media briefing on Thursday (11 March), acting minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni indicated that the bills would undergo the full public participation process, including an open comment period.

The proposed legislation is outlined in more detail below.

The Housing Consumer Protection Bill

Cabinet approved the submission of the Housing Consumer Protection Bill for tabling in parliament.

The bill will repeal the existing Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act which has been in effect since 1998.

The proposed amendments include expanding the protection afforded to housing consumers – including repairs, renovations, alterations and additions to an existing home.

The bill also proposes transformational programmes in the home-building industry, said Ntshavheni.

“A number of inputs have since been received from the industry stakeholders through public consultations. The bill will go through further consultations with the parliamentary process before it is passed into law.”


Policy paper on land 

Cabinet also approved the draft Position Paper on Land Administration and Land Tenure Reforms in Communal Areas for further consultations with relevant stakeholders.

“The proposed reforms provide a legal framework to initiate the process of transferring communal land to persons or communities whose tenure of land is legally insecure,” said Ntshavheni.


“A number of inputs have since been received from the industry stakeholders through public consultations. The bill will go through further consultations with the parliamentary process before it is passed into law.”


Policy paper on land 

Cabinet also approved the draft Position Paper on Land Administration and Land Tenure Reforms in Communal Areas for further consultations with relevant stakeholders.

“The proposed reforms provide a legal framework to initiate the process of transferring communal land to persons or communities whose tenure of land is legally insecure,” said Ntshavheni.

“These reforms will also expand the communal asset base to empower communities to engage in cultural, social and economic activities of their choice.”

Ntshavheni said that the consultations will culminate in the convening of an envisaged National Land Summit.


Occupational Heath and Safety Bill

Cabinet approved the publication of the Occupational Health And Safety Bill for public consultation.

The bill seeks to amend the existing Occupational Health And Safety, which has been in place since 1993, and align it to international trends.

“It also seeks to strengthen the safety measures of workers in their respective workplaces,” said Ntshavheni.

“The bill introduces the provisions that empower employees to withhold their labour should they feel the environment is dangerous and unsafe, without being victimized by the employers.”


Extended state of disaster

Cabinet approved the extension of the national state of disaster to 15 April 2021. This extension is done in terms of Section 27(5) (C) of the Disaster Management Act, said Ntshavheni.

The public is urged to continue adhering to all Covid-19 health measures and restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus.


Student funding 

This week cabinet received a briefing from Higher Education, Science and Technology minister Dr Blade Nzimande about a funding shortfall for first-year students.

It noted that a lack of funding available to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has now delayed the finalization of the registration of first-year university students.

Cabinet has subsequently additional funding for the scheme, with details set to be presented by Nzimande later today.

“Cabinet has directed that further work must be done to find a more sustainable approach to fund students for their tertiary education,” Ntshavheni said.

“Cabinet remains committed to ensuring that all deserving students are not excluded due to the lack of funding.”

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