The government has gazetted a number of new regulations related to sectional titles, pension funds and domestic workers. The proposed bills will soon be considered by Parliament and may bring changes in South African life.

Domestic Workers:

The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill proposes to amend the current bill to change the existing definition  of an ’employee’ to include domestic workers. This will allow domestic workers to claim compensation under specific circumstances, which the Act does not currently allow for.

The act proposes that employers must go through all rehabilitation and reintegration processes before laying off an employee in the event that their domestic worker is injured during work or contracts an occupational disease.

“Chapter VII(A) seeks to introduce the concept of a multi-disciplinary employee-based process of rehabilitation and reintegration of injured employees or employees who contracted occupational diseases,” it reads. “Employers will be incentivised for full compliance with the provisions of this chapter by way of rebates on their annual assessments.”

Sectional titles:

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza recently published a directive about the new Sectional Title Amendment Bill they plan to introduce by the end of 2020. It has already been approved by Cabinet, and aims to provide clarity and give extra protection to tenants and property leasers.

The proposal explains that the amendment bill is designed to:

– provide for the developer to answer questions put to the developer by the agents of the lessees

– provide that a certificate issued by an architect or a land surveyor must also comply with section 26(2) of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, 2013

– further provide for the amendment of sectional plans in respect of exclusive use areas

– further provide for the amendment and cancellation of a sectional plan upon an order of the court

– provide for the noting of a title deed in respect of the lapsing of a reservation in terms of section 25

– provide for a lease of part of the common property with the consent of the holders of registered real right

– amend the provisions relating to the alienation of common property

– further provide for the cancellation of a mortgaged section and mortgaged exclusive use area

– provide for a developer to submit a plan for subdivision or consolidation to the Surveyor-General for approval to subdivide, consolidate and to extend a section

– extend the registration of subdivision of a section, the consolidation of sections, and the extension of sections to a developer

– provide for the filing of replacement documentation in respect of lost or destroyed documentation

– amend the provisions relating to the extension of 3 a scheme

– amend the provisions relating to participation quotas of sections

– regulate the membership of the sectional titles regulations board, amend the transitional provisions and provide for matters connected therewith.

Pension funds:

The Democratic Alliance’s Private Member’s Bill (PMB) proposes to amend the current Pension Funds Act to allow pension fund members to have access to a percentage of their pension fund before they retire.  This is in hopes it will help alleviate financial pressure.

Section 19 of the Pension Funds Act, 1956 currently enables pension fund members to access a loan, where the pension fund asset acts as security for such a loan, in order to obtain a home loan. However, the Act does not permit pension fund members to obtain a loan for any other purpose.

The draft Bill therefore seeks to amend the Act in order to allow for pension fund members to obtain a loan, secured by a guarantee from a registered pension fund, to alleviate financial pressure during the COVID-19 emergency or any other emergency similar to COVID-19.

“The unfortunate outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa has dealt a crippling blow to our country’s economy and has left many South African families in financial ruin. A lifeline such as this would save many families,” the DA explained.

“By enabling a member to access a pension-backed loan, that member will be able to leverage their pension fund investment before their retirement date, without eroding their provision for eventual retirement.

“The draft bill provides for a registered pension fund to offer a guarantee to a pension fund member of a maximum of 75% of their share in the value of the fund.

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