Whether your business is big or small, it would be wise to keep track of new laws that can potentially affect your operations. Here are some new business-related laws that President Jacob Zuma signed into law this week.

Special Economic Zones Act

Sectors concerned: Manufacturing, import and export
Overseeing department: Trade and Industry

Key provisions

– The Act seeks to boost industrialisation in South Africa through the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that are envisioned as “one-stop shops”. The zones will provide enhanced infrastructure, bureaucracy support and incentives to attract domestic and foreign investment.
– The Act allows private companies to operate and manage SEZs through public private partnerships.
– There was broad consensus by members of parliament that the special economic zones were a key reform measure for South Africa, and a necessity for the country to achieve its economic growth targets under the National Development Plan.

Legal Metrology Act

Sector concerned: Manufacturing and retail
Overseeing department: Trade and Industry

Key provisions

– The Act regulates the measurement of products and services, and the use of the instruments that measure them.
– Historically, measurements were of concern in the sale of goods such as maize, milk and petrol. Today, with advancements in technology, accurate and standardized measurements are critical in new fields: e.g. energy (electricity meters), communication (data usage) safety (breathalyzers), transport (road overload) and medicine (blood pressure analysis).
– The Act allows for authorized market surveillance inspectors and verification officers to enter public and private premised to ensure that measurement instruments, goods and services comply with the Act.
– Non-compliance may result in a fine (not prescribed) or imprisonment of up to 10 years, or both.

National environmental management: Air quality Act amendment

Sector concerned: Industries whose operations result in atmospheric emissions
Overseeing department: Water and Environment

Key provisions

– Under the Air Quality Act of 2004, an atmospheric emission licensing system was set up to regulate emissions and protect the environment while allowing for socio-economic development. The Amendment Act of 2014 seeks to resolve problems within the licensing system that have been detected over the last decade.
– The Amendment establishes an Air Quality Advisory Committee to advise the minister on air quality issues.
– A R5-million penalty is prescribed in the Amendment Act for unlawful activities resulting in atmospheric emissions

Marine Living Resources Amendment Act

Sector concerned: Small-scale fisheries
Overseeing department: Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Key provisions

– The Amendment allows the minister to give official recognition to fishing communities, and to put in place measures to support their livelihoods.
– Protection afforded to communities will include prohibiting non-community members from fishing on waters allocated to the community.

Language Practitioners’ Council Act

Sector concerned: Language practitioners (translators, interpreters, language planners, terminologists, lexicographers, text editors and related fields)
Overseeing department: Arts and Culture

Key provisions

– The Act establishes the South African Language Practitioners’ Council (SALPC) whose core functions will be to regulate the training of language practitioners and control their accreditation.
– The SALPC will prescribe rules governing the conduct of language professionals and set procedures for compliance, monitoring and enforcement.