Politics & Legal

Cyril Ramaphosa Signs Three New Bills into Law for South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed three significant bills into law, aiming to modernize land transport, regulate the transport sector economically, and empower municipalities with fiscal authority. The National Land Transport Amendment Bill, the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill, and the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill mark a busy start to the week for Ramaphosa. This week has been notably productive for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has signed three crucial bills into law, each set to impact various sectors significantly. The newly enacted laws—the National Land Transport Amendment Bill, the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill, and the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill—are expected to bring substantial changes and improvements to South Africa’s transport and municipal frameworks.

National Land Transport Amendment Bill

First on the list is the National Land Transport Amendment Bill. This bill has a long history, initially brought to the President’s desk in 2020 but sent back to the National Assembly for revisions. According to the Presidency, the revised bill aims to modernize the National Land Transport Act of 2009. The amendments include:

  • Inserting and amending definitions: To align the Act with current transport terminology and practices.
  • Providing for non-motorized and accessible transport: Encouraging sustainable and inclusive transportation options.
  • Expanding provincial and municipal powers: Allowing local governments to conclude contracts for public transport services.
  • Enhancing Ministerial powers: Granting the Minister authority to make regulations and introduce safety measures.

These changes are intended to bring the Principal Act up to date with new developments and ensure a more efficient and inclusive transport system.

National Land Transport Amendment Act

Economic Regulation of Transport Bill

The second bill signed into law is the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill. This legislation aims to stimulate economic growth and improve welfare in South Africa by fostering an effective and productive transport sector. Key elements of this bill include:

  • Establishing a Transport Economic Regulator: This new body will regulate prices within the transport sector, investigate complaints, monitor compliance, and enforce regulations.
  • Creating a single regulatory body: The bill seeks to streamline the economic regulation of the transport industry under one entity, enhancing efficiency and oversight.

The overarching goal is to ensure a robust, fair, and competitive transport sector that supports South Africa’s economic aspirations.

The Economic Regulation of Transport Bill

Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill

The third bill, the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill, focuses on empowering municipalities with fiscal authority. This bill includes provisions to:

  • Regulate municipal power to levy development charges: Creating a standardized system for municipalities to impose levies on land development applications.
  • Enable municipalities to impose taxes, levies, and duties: When authorized by national legislation, municipalities can now impose fiscal measures appropriate to local governance.

The bill aims to provide municipalities with the necessary financial tools to manage and fund local development projects effectively.

Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Act

Political Context and Future Implications

While it has been a busy start to the week for Ramaphosa, uncertainty looms over how his week will end. The National Assembly’s first sitting is scheduled for Friday, June 14, where the next president will be elected. Given that the ANC has lost its majority for the first time since the dawn of democracy in 1994, there is speculation that Ramaphosa could lose his presidency. However, talks of forming a Government of National Unity (GNU) suggest that such an outcome is unlikely.

These new laws reflect Ramaphosa’s commitment to advancing South Africa’s infrastructure, economy, and local governance, even amidst political uncertainty.

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