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Business and Legal Intelligence Report - February 2018

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The Business and Legal Intelligence Report covers the latest legal and business developments, providing a concise summary of key developments. This is a monthly report which is compiled by our in-house research team.

 

The report is designed to keep you abreast of the latest developments on the legal and business front, and to alert you to key changes in the legal landscape, including Constitutional and other case law. Your feedback would be appreciated.

 

Last update: February 2018


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Overview:

 

SA business confidence surges to two year high in January

 

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) reports that Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as ANC president in December 2017 was a key factor in boosting business confidence in January. The business confidence index is now at a two year high.

 

New foreign investment law on the table

 

In December 2015, the president of South Africa gave his assent to a foreign investment law but this is not, at the time of writing, in force. The new investment law was designed to replace a plethora of BITs (Bilateral Investment Treaties), following the Foresti case that was brought by a group of Italian investors (and a Luxembourg corporation that they owned) who alleged that local black economic empowerment legislation expropriated indirect interests they held in the South African granite-quarrying sector.

 

Arbitration law update

 

Legislation dating back to 1965 currently governs arbitrations conducted in South Africa. However, the National Assembly has been presented with a new arbitration bill that would bring South African law in line with the UNCITRAL Model Law, and update the 1977 legislation on the recognition and enforcement of foreign awards.

 

Bilateral investment treaty (BIT) coverage

 

When South Africa became a democracy in 1994, it entered into BITs with a number of its trading partners, including Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. As mentioned above, South Africa has recently sought to revise the protections it offers to foreign investors by introducing a new investment law and by terminating or renegotiating existing BITs.

 

South Africa – increase in merger notification thresholds and filing fees

 

The threshold for notifying mergers to the Competition Commission has been lifted to R600m from R560m in combined turnover or assets.

 

Africa: the next global music opportunity

 

Brett Vorster at Sheer Publishing reports on some surprising developments in the African music publishing business. He finds that Africans are among the most prolific content creators in the world, though the industry has been dogged by rampant piracy.

 

Largest leak of personal information in SA will go unpunished

 

Perpetrators of SA’s largest data leak will go unpunished – because the Protection of Personal Information Act is not yet operational.

 

Notable amendment to tax law

 

Webber Wentzel reports that notable amendment to tax laws were recently introduced. The Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill [B28 - 2017] (TALAB) and Taxation Laws Amendment Bill [B27 - 2017] (TLAB) were released with the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement 2017 on 25 October 2017.

 

Search Engines and “The Right to be Forgotten” – Social Media Update

 

Verlie Oosthuizen, Head of Social Media Law, Durban, Shepstone & Wylie, reports on an interesting case of a Spanish national who approached various courts over his “right to be forgotten” on Google and other social media sites.

 

Regulators join forces to ensure B-BBEE compliance

 

Two regulatory bodies – the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and the Broad-Based Black Empowerment Commission – have joined forces to ensure better compliance with BEE codes.

 

Is your firm ready for POPI?

 

The Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013, is growing teeth with the appointment of Information Regulator and the publication of draft regulations relating to how organisations must collect and handle personal information.

 

Draft Carbon Tax Bill released for comment

 

On 14 December 2017, the South African National Treasury published a Draft Carbon Tax Bill (the “Bill”) for public comment, with the comment period commencing immediately and continuing until 9 March 2018.