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5 New Laws - It’s a Brave New World

- Featured article by LAWYERS-ONLINE.CO.ZA - June 2018

2018 has certainly been a year of change. For the government it definitely has been. It almost feels like South Africa made a list of New Year’s resolutions and stuck to them… which is more than most of us can say.

We are fast approaching the middle of the year (I know) and change has been the prominent theme so far. Our country is undergoing vast legislation changes under the rule of our new president. Let’s recap some of the biggest changes in law so far.

The new smoking laws:

I know, I know but rather safe than sorry. No one wants to have cancer on their conscience.

What are the new smoking laws?

  • Bans smoking outdoors in public spaces.
  • When smoking outside, smokers must be at least ten meters away from public entrances.
  • A zero tolerance policy on in-door smoking in public spaces, which include the removal of designated smoking areas in restaurants.
  • The removal of all signage on cigarette packaging aside from the brand name and warning stickers.
  • Cigarettes may no longer be publicly displayed by retailers.

The new smoking laws seem stricter than ever, but an interesting fact about this is that smoking laws have been strict since their first implementation and smokers were no longer allowed to smoke indoors.

The punishment for getting caught breaking any of the above rules are unclear, but rumor has it that getting caught smoking outdoors in a public place can get you a three month jail sentence.

The prevention and combat of hate crimes and hate speech:

We brushed on this in another article but definitely a big one for the books.

The new legislation protects 17 characteristics, in which the constitution only protected four, previously. The constitution protected against race, ethnicity, religion and gender. New legislation makes room for several more, including culture, belief, occupation and gender identity.

The highly controversial Internet Censorship laws:

In March, South Africa scrutinized the Film and Publication Amendment Bill, concerned that the new laws would be used as a means of Internet censorship and therefore be an infringement on freedom of speech rights. Perhaps a plausible concern?

The Internet censorship laws allow the FPB to regulate user-generated content like YouTube videos, pictures and music and can block non-compliant distributors at an ISP level.

The objective here is to stop people from publishing offensive, discriminatory and damaging content. Post safely.

The New Drinking Laws:

That’s right; the government has upped the ante with strict drinking laws. This is a point of controversy for many people and worrisome whispers express concern that this might result in job loss for many.

What are the new drinking laws?

  • A total ban on all alcohol advertising.
  • A ban on the supply of alcohol and methylated spirits to persons under the age of 21, which includes any and all advertising of liquor aimed at people under the age of 21.
  • The prohibition of the manufacturing, distribution or retail sale of alcohol in rural and urban communities on any location that is closer than 500 meters away from schools, places of worship, recreational facilities, rehabilitation or treatment centers, residential areas, public institutions or other amenities alike.
  • Manufacturers and suppliers of alcohol to illegal or unlicensed outlets will effectively be liable for all damages caused by their unlawful distribution.

Congestion Tax:

Yes, more tax. Congestion Tax aims to improve South Africa’s road system. In the attempt to achieve this, some revenue channels that are being considered are an increase on the fuel levy as well as vehicle license fees and tolling. The policy focuses on the efficiencies of budget expenditure in the road sector, and asks for government support for the application of the user-pay principal.

Not sure South Africa’s people are going to look favorably on this as we have already had a tax hike as well as incurred further new tax laws to reduce obesity and preserve health with the sugary tax.

If you are unsure about the new laws in South Africa and would like to find out more, or require legal help, please consult an attorney from our Lawyers Online.

5 New Laws - It’s a Brave New World

 

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