An article in this issue (NHI: All the snakes and ladders, by Quinton Pieterse) had the effect of depressing me profoundly. He is excited about the intended advent of this country's National Health Insurance scheme and ends on a high note:
"We are in for an exciting period in the evolution of SA's health care system as we know it. Yes, we shall encounter several stumbling blocks along the way. We should strive to overcome them and help government achieve its goal by contributing to the formulation of a well-structured and properly thought out health care system, which will inevitably result in a better life for all South Africans."
New legislation has been passed in the UK which seeks to address a perceived tax accountability gap among senior managers of large corporates and enforce the responsibility for tax beyond the tax role. This legislation forces the person who has overall responsibility for the financial accounting arrangements of a company, in reality the Chief Financial Officer, to take personal responsibility for the processes and systems which enable tax liabilities to be calculated accurately, with penalties for non-compliance (both for the individual in question and the company).
South Africa has joined recent world wide efforts to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The Taxation Laws Amendment Act (17 of 2009) inserts s12K into the Income Tax Act (58 of 1962), which provides an incentive for companies that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by exempting the sale of Certified Emissions Reductions from tax.
Recently, as part of his Medium-term Budget, the Minister of Finance announced a number of exchange control relaxations. This article will examine certain tax consequences arising from, or otherwise related to, two of those relaxations, as well as to make some observations on the interrelationship between exchange controls and tax.
Prior to 2002, it was commonplace for individuals to purchase members' interests, shares and beneficial interests in property holding close corporations, companies and/or trusts, as the case may be, as opposed to purchasing the property outright from the entity. Purchasers at that time, were enticed to enter into these transactions largely (if not solely) by the fact that they would not be liable for the payment of transfer duty.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the “ombudsman" for all fiduciary practitioners in South Africa, has been in the news recently. At issue are procedural matters that have been amended, apparently without prior consultation with industry role players, which have caused distress and delays in the administration of inter vivos trusts at the various offices of the Master of the High Court.
Socially responsible investing1
Socially responsible investing (SRI) is not a new concept in the market place but it is a concept that has grown significantly in value and importance over the last two to three decades. By whatever name you call it, conscious investing, mission-related investing, ethical investing, valuesbased investing, the description is fairly self explanatory.
Not since the early 1990s have South Africa's courts and the legal profession come under such close scrutiny as in the past few months.
The Labour Appeal Court (LAC) on October 9 gave its long awaited decision in the matter of AUSA obo Barnes & others / South African Airways (Pty) Limited which addresses the issue of whether s197 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) is wide enough to include second generation outsourcing in its ambit.
The Department of Minerals and Energy has recently suspended the practice by some mining companies of using insurance coverage as a method of meeting their rehabilitation obligations in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002, (the MPRDA). This decision has been met with an uproar from the mining sector, particularly from junior mining companies which contend that this could potentially limit projects by junior firms financially incapable of providing security in other more acceptable forms.
Companies and even countries have, for many years, been benchmarking their progress in the field of technical discovery and innovation as a means of gauging their competitiveness. Increasing emphasis on the “knowledge economy" – the ability of technology to drive economic benefit – has seen intellectual property take centre stage, with increasing emphasis being placed on the importance of registered intellectual property portfolios comprising patents, utility models, petty patents and registered designs, as a measure of R&D activity.
SAJGA and Another v The Registrar of Companies and SAGA
The Western Cape High Court recently handed down a judgement in an application (and counter-application) between South African Junior Golf Association (the Applicant) and Another, the Registrar of Companies (the First Respondent) and the South African Golf Association (the Second Respondent).