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Since the Legal Practice Act of 2014 came into operation, a change came about in the legal community that is unnoticeable on the surface, but which will have significant consequences over time. Prior to the Act coming into operation, the advocates’ profession regulated itself according to its own institutional ethos and the standards set by its members. Now, the profession is ultimately controlled by the Department of Justice (DoJ), through the Legal Practice Council (LPC).
We oppose various recent government initiatives to prolong COVID-19 lockdown measures. All such measures must be scrapped and a return to the pre-March 2020 legal position must be expedited. South Africans have waited patiently for too long to see constitutional government and their civil liberties restored.
It seems conceivable that the state of disaster declared under the Disaster Management Act (DMA) in 2020 might soon end. This would involve the removal of various regulatory restrictions South Africans have been burdened with to cope with the spread of COVID-19.
South Africa saw its most destructive riots in years this past July, ostensibly in response to former President Jacob Zuma's imprisonment and due to socio-economic factors. The Constitutional Court's sentencing of Zuma was widely hailed as a victory for the Rule of Law, but the commentariat in many cases remains blissfully unaware of its diagnostic blindspots.
We published a new research paper highlighting the dangers of property confiscation (also known as expropriation without compensation) and nationalisation. The paper Private Property, Public Interest: Alternatives to Confiscation and Nationalisation identifies at least five alternatives, each of which empowers the vulnerable, to the government's dangerous plans which simply empower the state.
There are two customary rules in South African law-making that are adhered to almost to a T: The law must make matters worse, or the law must miss the point. Rarely, if ever, does legislation that comes out of the South African Parliament or the provincial legislatures make things better for citizens and consumers. The new National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill, 2020, is no exception.
Both private and public sector corruption, whether moral or criminal, is a result of perverted incentives. These incentives are in turn a result of a political philosophy that regards it as at best appropriate, and at worst imperative, that policy (and political) considerations play a central role in commercial and economic decision-making. South Africa would do better to shift its focus to enterprise and away from politics.
Over the past few weeks, the world stood witness to the spectacle of American politics in the twilight of Donald Trump’s presidency. Many in South Africa joined as keen observers. This episode, like many before it, again highlighted the importance of institutions and the ideas that underlie them – a reality often neglected in the realm of the politics of personality.
South Africa’s flirtation with the idea that government should be allowed to expropriate private property without being legally required to compensate owners for it stands in stark contrast to the constitutional democracy we chose 26 years ago and is already doing great damage to the economy.
The Economic Regulation of Transport Bill (B1-2020) published for public comment is problematic across three broad areas. It unnecessarily and unjustifiably expands the extent and potential scope of government interference in the transport sector; like much other legislation it vests executive officials, primarily here the Minister of Transport and the proposed Regulator, with discretionary powers that are not restrained by any objective guiding criteria; and it is clearly aimed at centralising governmental power away from civil society and independent institutions into the hands of the Department of Transport and its Minister. Also, it contains vague provisions that do not meet the requisite quality of legislative drafting.