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South Africa


In October 2021, the Financial Action Task Force published its Report on South African Anti-money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Measures. The Report concluded that South Africa is partially compliant with 17 of the FATF technical Recommendations and totally non-compliant with three of them, putting into doubt the country’s ability to ensure safeguards in accordance with international standards. FATF places countries that are not technically compliant with their Recommendations under increased scrutiny and monitoring. These states are considered “Jurisdictions Under Increased Monitoring,” and the list of these states is referred to as the ‘greylist.’

At COP 27 in November 2022, South Africa launched its new Just Energy Transition Investment Plan and announced a five-year investment plan for the USD 8.5 billion financing package, which was announced as part of the country’s Just Energy Transition Partnership with France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union at COP 26. The JET IP is aligned with the Cabinet-approved National Just Transition Framework and outlines the investments required to achieve the country’s decarbonization commitments, while promoting sustainable development, and ensuring a just transition for affected workers and communities.

The Competition Commission of South Africa has published revised, final guidelines on small merger notifications to more readily be able to identify small mergers and acquisitions involving digital markets. The small merger guidelines were revised due to an increased concern regarding potential anti-competitive acquisitions in the digital markets, which are potentially able to escape regulatory scrutiny. The guidelines will come into effect on 1 December 2022.

The Constitutional Court in South Africa recently clarified the application of the doctrine of common purpose in the employment law context. The Constitutional Court answered the question as to whether an employer may apply the doctrine of common purpose to dismiss employees for misconduct where the employees were spectators to a violent assault during an unprotected strike. This decision has implications for employers who intend to dismiss employees for these reasons.

There are many examples of non-resident shareholders of South African companies failing to endorse their shares. This constitutes a breach of South Africa’s Exchange Control Regulations and may be subject to penalties and/or imprisonment. This endorsement should be carried out as soon as possible after the acquisition of shares, and if this was not done, it should be rectified straight away.

This article, written by Clara Hansen, Candidate Attorney, and Angelo Tzarevski in Antitrust & Competition Practice, Johannesburg provides details on the Draft Block Exemption Regulations (“Regulations”) for Small, Micro and SMMEsMedium-Sized Businesses (SMMEs), which were published on 31 August 2022 after consultation with the Competition Commission. The Regulations are intended to enable collaboration between SMMEs and promote the growth and participation of SMMEs in the South African economy.

The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment in South Africa has published a notice excluding the development and expansion of solar photovoltaic facilities, including any associated activity or infrastructure from the requirement to obtain environmental authorization in terms of the National Environmental Management Act. Members of the public have 30 days from the date of publication (8 September 2022) to submit comments on the draft notice. The proposed exclusion for solar photovoltaic facilities presents opportunities for independent, small-scale power producers and is considered to be a step forward for the government in terms of its commitment to energy transition and to securing a reliable supply of clean energy in the country.

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) in South Africa has issued a notice to request information relating to ownership from certain financial institutions in South Africa. The required information must be submitted online by 30 September 2022, and failure to do so will constitute an offense.

Carbon tax was introduced in 2019 to assist South Africa to deliver on commitments made in the Paris Agreement in 2015. This tax is expected to increase in the years ahead, and carbon-intensive businesses have spoken out about the negative impact of this tax on their bottom lines, especially as they continue to recover from the pandemic and invest in energy transition infrastructure. As the clean energy industry grows, so does the need for specific incentives or legislation to deal with certain spin-offs from the measures introduced to reduce exposure to carbon tax. As such, more policies that incentivize the reduction of carbon emissions and the transition to clean energy are likely to be announced in the coming years.

The Tax Administration Act in South Africa permits the warrantless search and seizure of a taxpayer’s property by the South African Revenue Service, which plays an essential role in ensuring that taxes are collected in an efficient and effective manner. However, this has been under scrutiny for many years due to its potential to infringe the right to privacy as enshrined in the South African Constitution. A recent case highlighted this matter and the circumstances under which such procedures may be carried out.