5 Major Laws that every South African should know

This article seeks to give 5 major laws that every South African should know. Since being elected into office some three weeks ago, it appears that there has been a flurry of new legislation drafted and promulgated under president Cyril Ramaphosa.

While there can be no doubt that Ramaphosa has certainly cleaned house and got government back on track in many respects, given the long time and effort that goes into creating and passing new laws in South Africa, it is much more likely that this is a case of avoiding ‘fifth term crunch’ syndrome.

According to Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG), there were 41 bills in Parliament at the end of January 2018, and it is anticipated that a number of them will be finalised in this first term.

“Many departments have a backlog of delayed draft legislation that needs to be introduced into Parliament to avoid the end-of-the-fifth-term crunch, so lawmakers will be doing a lot of heavy legislative lifting this year,” it said.

“Parliament has built its capacity to initiate and develop legislation. Committee Bills are no longer a rarity. It’s become a trend and we can expect to see more of this activism in 2018.

“At the same time, more private legislation tabled by Members of Parliament is no longer a possibility but is expected,” it said.

Below are five of the most important Laws in South Africa:

  1. Smoking laws

New proposals for changes to South Africa’s smoking laws will be presented by the end of March, according to department of health director-general, Precious Matsoso.

Health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi previously outlined the expected changes to the laws when he presented the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act in 2017, which he said would be submitted to cabinet for approval early in 2018.

The regulations plan to ban smoking in all public spaces, remove branding from cigarettes packs and control electronic cigarettes.

The proposals, first mooted in 2015, have garnered significant public interest as they propose a number of strict new smoking laws, including:

  • A zero-tolerance policy on in-door smoking in public places (including the removal of designated smoking areas in restaurants);
  • A ban on outdoor smoking in public places;
  • When smoking outside, smokers must be at least 10 metres away from public entrances;
  • The removal of all signage on cigarette packaging aside from the brand name and warning stickers;
  • Cigarettes may no longer be publicly displayed by retailers.
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