It has been frequently observed that this country has assembled a body of jurisprudence that is the equal of that of many developed countries. The drawback is that there is frequently neither the ability nor the political will to put these laws into action. The following story underlines this and shows up Mogale City Local Municipality and the Gauteng Provincial Government in an exceptionally poor light. The courts are going to have to be asked to make these institutions do their jobs properly – Editor
While developers are sceptical about the process envisaged in the new EIA Regulations, government is of the view that the environmental authorisation process will be less of a stumbling block. The new regulations introduce more flexible procedures and compulsory time frames within which the relevant authorities have to reach decisions.
Pollution, dust and particulate matter have been identified as the cause of many respiratory problems and illnesses, particularly in people exposed to or in close proximity to activities such as the burning of coal, motor vehicle emissions and mining.
Few would doubt that South Africa is a violent society. Crime is tearing the fabric of society and destroying its cohesion. The UN says that South Africa has the highest rate of gun-related crime after Colombia. Yet we spend a significant chunk of our budget on crime prevention and law enforcement, including prisons. According to figures (cited in The Economist, August 5, 2006), South Africa spent 3% of GDP, or $130 per person, on criminal justice, compared with an average of 1% and $66 in the rest of the world.
South Africa is beset by a dichotomy between formalised, highly regulated big business and informal, virtually unregulated small business. One of the greatest challenges facing this government is to bridge the divide between the first and second economies and then to draw the second economy across that bridge. The small business tax amnesty is a policy initiative intended to meet this challenge.
The era of globalisation describes the current times. The opportunities that globalisation present in terms of shifting profits between entities within a multinational enterprise group has been a significant driver of transfer pricing legislation and regulation. In South Africa, political and trade liberalisation has exposed the country to global markets and international competitiveness.
There has been a plethora of articles written since the South African Revenue Service released its discussion paper on tax avoidance in early November 2005. If (as expected) the proposed changes to the current general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) become law, does it signify the end of the road for the tax structured finance industry?
There was significant and understandable concern when a new provision in the form of s275A made its appearance in the Corporate Laws Amendment Bill. It seeks to prohibit an auditor from providing certain non-audit services to an audit client.
When I was a young lawyer in Port Elizabeth, the Cape Law Society sent around a lecturer to explain the changes brought about by the new Companies Act of 1973. Most of the lecture was about the provisions of the new Act that would not work in practice and would bring grief upon the corporate system as we knew it. As far as I recall, none of the gloomy predictions played themselves out in the subsequent application of the Act.
How does one go about enforcing a court order against the State? In without prejudice (Aug 2006, p53), Aslam Moosjee suggested, in his discussion of the recent SCA judgement in Member of the Executive Council: Welfare v Kate, that, in the case of a simple failure by the State to pay what is due in terms of a court order, the remedy is clear: the official who was ordered to pay can be committed for contempt of court if he fails to do so without good reason.