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South Africa


The Labour Appeal Court in South Africa recently clarified for employers the situation in which their employees’ cannabis use at home becomes applicable to their roles at work. In Enever v. Barloworld Equipment South Africa, a Division of Barloworld South Africa, the LAC ordered the employer to reinstate and pay over ZAR 1 million in backpay to an employee dismissed for repeatedly testing positive for cannabis use. The judgment reiterates the requirement of rationality where employers seek to limit an employee’s private conduct

The National Council of Provinces in South Africa has passed the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill, which aims to provide for increased electricity generation capacity and additional infrastructure in South Africa. It also establishes the duties, powers and functions of the Transmission System Operator and introduces an open-market platform for the competitive trading of electricity.

The pandemic of medical certificate abuse is rife in both the public and private sectors, with many labor court cases in South Africa having decided that forging a sick note constitutes serious misconduct. A recent case of sick leave abuse in South Africa that found its way to the Labor Appeal Court again confirmed that an employer’s zero-tolerance approach to dishonesty and fraud was correct and that employees who are dishonest in their timekeeping practices will likely have a bitter pill to swallow when their actions are revealed.

In the case concerning a matter of unfair discrimination under the Employment Equity Act, the South African Labor Court ruled that, in this instance, the refusal to employ a job applicant because of their criminal history was unfair discrimination based on arbitrary grounds. This case serves as a reminder to employers that statutory protection against unfair discrimination also applies to employment applicants, and that there are risks in the rote reliance on factors used to select or reject staff.

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) has issued several notifications that are of high importance to businesses with operations in South Africa.
The notifications concern:
• A security compromise as per section 22 of the Protection of Personal Information Act (2013)
• Processes regarding the proof of physical address of companies and close corporations in South Africa
• More information concerning the Annual Return Deregistration Process of Companies and Close Corporations
• Details of the delays expected in processing company and close corporation re-instatement applications and responding to enquiries
• Information concerning the Beneficial Ownership Reviewer System
• Details regarding integration of the Foreigner Assurance Process with Beneficial Ownership.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to boost intra-African trade by more than 81 percent in the next decade. To ensure such advantages are obtained, a number of AfCFTA Protocols have been developed to facilitate sustainable investment and harmonize policy and regulations across African Union member states, including a Protocol on Investment. The Investment Protocol provides the continent with a clear set of guidelines and principles to expedite financing and investment across the continent’s new free trade zone. With trade finance considered a critical enabler of cross-border investment in Africa, the Investment Protocol is also assisting development finance institutions, increasingly important in bridging Africa’s trade finance gap, to more seamlessly support such investment.

In the case of Lance Dickson Construction CC v. Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service, the High Court had to determine whether the Tax Court’s confirmation of SARS’ decision to levy understatement penalties was correct. This article discusses the decisions made by the Tax Court and, subsequently, the High Court, which have important implications for taxpayers, SARS, the courts, and tax practitioners in South Africa.