The cabinet in South Africa approved several new bills for submission to parliament. It included a proposal for legislation for workplace safety and consumer protections around housing. It was announced on March 11, that these bills would undergo the full public participation process, including an open comment period. The acting minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni wants to keep the process and policymaking a transparent transition.
The Housing Consumer Protection Bill will nullify the existing Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, which has been in effect since 1998. This year the new amendments, which are proposed, are expanding the protection afforded to house consumers. It also includes renovations, repairs, alterations and additions to an existing home. This will also cater to transformational programs in the home-building industry. The President stated that few inputs have since been received from the industry stakeholders through public consultations and keeping those in mind the new bill will go through further consultations with the parliamentary process before it is passed into law for the public.
Adding to the list, Occupational Health and Safety Bill is also approved by the cabinet and is now seeking recommendations through public consultation. This bill seeks to amend the existing Occupational Health And Safety measures, which has been in place since 1993 and align them to international concerns. President Ntshavheni asserts that through this bill they intend to strengthen the safety measures of workers in their respective workplaces. This bill will introduce the provisions to the employees to withhold their labour. Assuring them of their safety in the work environment and enabling them to report dangerous, unsafe conditions without being victimized by the employers.
Going further the Cabinet extended the national state of disaster to 15 April 2021. This extension is done in terms of Section 27(5) (C) of the Disaster Management Act, said Ntshavheni. He urges the public to continue adhering to all Covid-19 health measures and restrictions to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Talking about student funding, which is one of the most crucial aspects in the country as the cabinet received a briefing from Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Dr Blade Nzimande regarding shortage in funds for first-year students.
This has delayed admissions and become a barrier in students’ higher education. Presidents directed the Cabinet that work must be done to find a more sustainable approach to fund students for their tertiary education. He assures the public that no deserving students will be excluded due to the lack of funding.
Apart from these bills, the Cabinet approved the publication of the Firearms Amendment Bill of 2021 for public comment. As the bill proposes tighter controls and management of firearms, these changes are aimed at reducing the number of firearms in private hands which will also reduce violent incidents crimes. Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Amendment Bill is another bill, which was passed for public comment. It seeks to align with the current legislation of South Africa to combine with international laws to combat terrorism. Other bills passed by Cabinet concerned around Fuel, Nuclear power, Plants and Food and agriculture. All these bills and amendments aim to promote safety, awareness and cautiousness around our lifestyle.