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Newsletter - January 2019

- Featured article by LAWYERS-ONLINE.CO.ZA
Lawyers Online

Welcome to 2019! We trust that you had an amazing festive season and managed to relax with loved ones. Now that the new year is almost at the end of its first month, it is important to stay ahead of what the next year might bring – whether it is keeping a well-planned diary, reading up on market trends or, like us, staying informed of new legislation that might be coming in 2019. Let’s look at what’s been signed into effect and what might be on the cards.

As of January 2019, the National Minimum Wage Act will come into effect – meaning employers will have to pay their qualifying workers a minimum of R20 per hour. A great leap forward for the economy, and, a step in the right direction for all South Africans to earn a decent living wage. We are excited to see how this will impact labour laws in the future and how quickly it will be implemented across various industries.

In other good news, last year President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Labour Laws Amendment Bill into effect, and as a result, fathers are now able to take paternity leave for up to 10 days for new births and adoptions. That is 10 paid days that new fathers are allowed to spend with their new family.

Although not signed into effect as of yet, the Political Party Funding Bill will be a monumental turn for the South African political landscape. Should this pass, political parties will have to disclose donations made to their campaigns. This will lead to increased transparency when it pertains to political funding. We will be keeping an eye on these developments.

Interestingly, The Liquor Product Amendment Bill is going to nail down exactly what a beer is. The amendment will do away with a loophole that allowed any product labelled as beer to be sold as such, without proper checks. It will also change the minimum alcohol percentage of a drink to be considered alcoholic from 1% to 0.5%. Though this has not been signed into effect yet, should that happen, it will have a massive impact on liquor sales and distribution – especially considering the rise of the craft alcohol industry.

Of course, everyone has been buzzing about the new developments on the rules of the road. The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill has been passed by the government, but not yet signed into effect. Should this occur, driver’s will be subject stricter laws for those who avoid paying fines, and a new demerit system that could lead to disqualified driver’s licences.

Lastly, we would like to touch on the Cybercrimes Bill which seeks to crack down on harmful data messages that could incite violence or damage to property, or messages that could be seen as intimidating or harmful. There are also provisions for sharing intimate messages without the consent of a person. This bill has been met with much criticism, and it may take some time before it reached the pen of the president, but considering that Lawyers Online operates in the cyberspace, we will be staying up to date with developments here.

2019 is going to be a fascinating year for the legal landscape in South Africa, and we are excited to help our clients navigate these new territories through Lawyers Online. Should you need a lawyer, reach out to our service and we will connect you with a legal professional that is ideally suited to your needs and location – responses within 60 minutes!

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