The South African parliament has gone into overdrive. It is creating law faster than ever before. I feel like I can’t keep up – and I’m a lawyer. I feel overwhelmed. It takes a lot of time to read new laws and the cost of complying with them is often huge. You may even need to set up a project team.
We are fast catching up to Australia – one of the most regulated countries in the world. For example, with the Consumer Protection Act we have the most protected consumer in any country in the whole world. Many of these new laws were required as the common law did not adequately deal with the issue, but our parliament has taken it to the extreme and over-regulated and implemented laws that are too comprehensive and too difficult to implement. In many instances, government itself is struggling to implement these new laws.
The amount of new laws and regulation is breathtaking. And we are not talking minor irrelevant laws.
- We are talking laws like the Companies Act 2008 – the act that provides the framework for every company and close corporation in the country. Do you own a company or a CC – well you need to read the new Companies Act.
- King 3 is another one. This is not mandatory, but if people ask you why you have not complied with King 3, then you need to be able to explain why you didn’t. “Sorry what” is not an acceptable answer, I’m afraid.
- The Consumer Protection Act is another one. This law will have a huge impact of virtually every business in South Africa. If you sell goods or services to someone (a consumer) then it probably applies to you. That is everyone, isn’t it?
- The Protection of Personal Information Bill has been a long time coming and will not be with us that soon, but it will also have a big impact. Everyone processes personal information to some extent or another. And if you do, then you have to comply with the PPI Act.
ignorance of the law is no excuse
Considering that old saying that ignorance of the law is no excuse, you need to read all of these laws and determine how they impact on you and what you need to be doing to comply with them.
I’m really interested to know how other people feel about these laws? Are you aware of them? Have you read them? Are you planning to comply with them or just ignore them?