The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act and its regulations govern the effective participation of black people in the South African economy. They aim to redress the historic economic inequalities as a result of apartheid, which excluded a large portion of the South African population, being black people, from the primary economy. The impact of apartheid was particularly damaging to the ability of black women to meaningfully participate in the economy.
Important amendments to the Companies Act, No. 71 of 2008, which came into effect on 1 April 2023 and the Companies Regulations, 2011, which came into effect on 24 May 2023, have implications for companies registered and incorporated in accordance with the laws of South Africa.
South Africa’s employment laws are viewed as more rigid than those in various other developing markets, but they are also not as stringent as those in many other markets. In addition, the country’s labour dispute resolution landscape is considered to be more effective than those in many other developing markets. Elements of stricter labour laws are needed when considering the country’s history of inequality, warranting a heightened need for measures to protect employees’ rights.
South Africa’s trade relationship with China is growing, resulting in several announcements regarding trade at the BRICS Summit in August 2023. Among the announcements was the news that Chinese companies had signed deals to buy South African products worth around USD 2.2 billion. Also announced were plans for China to import more South African beef and other South African agricultural products, as well as the donation of Chinese energy equipment worth USD 8.9 million to South Africa, in addition to a grant valued at USD 26.9 million to assist the country with its energy crisis.
It was recently announced that South Africa’s Health Promotion Levy on sugary beverages was to be extended to pure juice. The South African government is expected to publish a discussion paper on the levy soon. This is intended to aid consultation on the proposals to extend the levy to pure fruit juices and lower the four-gram threshold.
Our latest Doing Business in South Africa Guide outlines some of the principal matters affecting an overseas entity that wishes to establish and operate a business in the country. The Guide offers a range of practical advice and useful guidance for entities seeking to do business in the country.
Today’s global economy demands that businesses expand beyond borders, but they face hurdles from customs, as well as regulatory barriers in different countries and regions that make this expansion challenging. The South African Revenue Service Authorised Economic Operators programme offers numerous benefits for businesses trading within the regional market of the Southern African Custom Union and internationally. Such businesses include manufacturers, importers, exporters, brokers, carriers, consolidators, intermediaries, ports, airports, terminal operators, integrated operators, warehouses, distributors, and freight forwarders.
Almost half of the population of Africa does not have access to electricity. It is, therefore, critical for the continent to increase its access to a clean, decarbonized, decentralized energy supply.
To enable this energy transition, countries across the continent are implementing policies that take into account the energy crisis. Alongside other jurisdictions, they are also launching initiatives and providing funding, investments and grants for African renewable energy projects.
In June 2023, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) proposed amendments to the JSE Listings Requirements including a new section which contains the listing requirements of the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Segment of the JSE. Among other things, these requirements include that trading in BEE securities must be restricted to a BEE-compliant person pursuant to the use of either a BEE contract or a BEE verification agent. The JSE has invited comments on the proposed amendments by 17 July 2023.
Hydrogen markets in Africa are expected to grow exponentially but there are still multiple barriers to the widespread development of decarbonized hydrogen. Each energy sector investment faces challenges in the form of infrastructure gaps, policy, regulatory, economic and financial barriers. A recent positive development in this regard is the announcement that a dedicated blended finance fund, SA-H2, has been launched to raise USD 1 billion for the construction of green hydrogen projects in South Africa. Once established, the SA-H2 will join the SDG Namibia One Fund to offer a blended finance solution for Southern African’s green hydrogen sector.