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An interview with Pierre Burger, Director, Werksmans Attorneys, and Dr Ivor Blumenthal, CEO, ArkKonsult, discussing the confusion that has been created by the National Credit Act (NCA) relating to the obligation to register as a credit provider. In effect, anyone who concludes a credit agreement in terms of which any amount of money is owed to them, subsequent to 11 May 2016, is required to be registered as a credit provider.
South African labour law has developed a rich body of case law since the Labour Relations Act was first introduced in 1995, and most employees are well aware of their rights not be unfairly dismissed, and to not be subject to unfair labour practices.
Whether the recent Constitutional Court case of Minister of Justice and Correctional Services v Prince and Others, in which the private use of cannabis was declared legal, has any bearing on an employer’s ability to discipline employees for being under the influence of cannabis whilst on duty.
In terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997 (BCEA), all employees are entitled to a minimum number of days leave per year. This minimum leave entitlement is 21 consecutive days leave per annual leave cycle, which is in effect 15 working days leave per annum.
Last month the Department of Labour (DOL) released a media brief noting that the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has requested that the DOL investigate the growing practice of deliberate circumvention of labour laws amongst employers.
One of the respects in which the National Credit Act (the NCA) has created confusion relates to the obligation to register as a credit provider. Section 40(1) of the NCA provides that a person must apply to be registered as a credit provider if the total principal debt owed to that credit provider under all outstanding credit agreements exceeds the prescribed threshold - which has been nil since 11 May 2016, and prior to that was R500,000.
For many years, asylum seekers attempting to claim benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) have routinely been turned away by the Department of Labour, despite having made contributions to the Fund during their employment.
Very often, an employee is suspended while an investigation is conducted into allegations of misconduct, or pending the holding and outcome of a disciplinary hearing. South African labour laws do not require such a suspension to be anything more than 'fair', and there is no minimum or maximum time period within which the investigation must be concluded, or in which the enquiry process finalised. However, since the suspension of an employee can be challenged as an unfair labour practice, the courts and CCMA often have to deal with challenges to an employee having been suspended.
It is important that a trade mark is used as non-use could lead to the cancellation of the mark, if it has not been used for 5 years, which is illustrated by the PRIMARK case which has resulted in the removal of the mark from the South African trade marks register.