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South Africa


Travel restrictions implemented due to the pandemic have changed the way the majority of employers plan their workforce mobility programs. This is especially the case if they are based in countries included on travel red lists due to current high infection rates or different virus variants. While some sectors require employees to be physically present, in many others, remote working has taken off and is expected to remain a permanent feature of the modern workforce, even once cross-border travel has recovered.

Due to rapid advances in digitalization, retail banks are facing increasing client demand for hyper-personalised products and services. However, financial institutions must navigate a myriad of laws and regulations to ensure that in the process of creating hyper-personal solutions for their customers, they are not breaching their privacy.

In South Africa, the draft Amendments to Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act were published by National Treasury earlier this month. These amendments will allow retirement funds to invest up to 45% of their assets in infrastructure. This is set to open a huge potential source of funding for domestic infrastructure projects, but there has been some debate around whether this will be enough to help bridge the country’s infrastructure gap.

In terms of both market value and volume, South Africa is reported to be one of the top two markets for cryptocurrencies in Africa, alongside Nigeria. It was therefore only a matter of time before the South African Revenue Service joined the likes of the Internal Revenue Service in the United States and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs in the United Kingdom in cracking down on cryptocurrency traders and establishing appropriate tax frameworks.

South Africa recently approved a tax on exported chrome, with further details still to be announced. The ferrochrome ore industry has been severely threatened in recent years, mostly due to increases in electricity tariffs. Some industry stakeholders have suggested that a special electricity tariff would be a better way to support the ailing industry, others have stated that the challenges mean they would not be able to sustain themselves, even after tax relief. And others have welcomed the reprieve that an export tax would provide. As a result, key industry stakeholders have expressed interest in collectively undertaking research to explore a more viable and consolidated approach to support the industry, but there have been difficulties from a competition law perspective.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated (and for some, cemented) the work from home trend. As a result, many employers are increasingly turning to employee monitoring technology to replace the physical employee oversight once enjoyed in the office. While employers have many legitimate reasons for monitoring employee activity, the decision to monitor employees is not without its legal and ethical complexities.