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South Africa : National Assembly And National Council Of Provinces Approve Major Legislative Matters At Sittings Today

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The National Assembly and National Council of Provinces approved several Bills and a convention today.

Bills which the National Council of Provinces approved at its sitting this afternoon – and which will now be sent to the President for assent – are the Labour Laws Amendment Bill (a Private Member’s Bill), the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, the National Minimum Wage Bill and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill. The National Assembly had earlier approved and referred these Bills to the National Council of Provinces, which has now approved them without amendment. 

The Labour Laws Amendment Bill provides for parental leave for fathers and for adoption and surrogacy leave. The National Minimum Wage Bill - a new Bill which the Minister of Labour introduced in November 2017 – aims to provide for a National Minimum Wage and establishment of the National Minimum Wage Commission, with clear functions and composition. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and the Labour Relations Act (LRA) were amended. 

BCEA amendments seek to repeal provisions dealing with sectoral determinations and the Employment Conditions Commission and to provide for daily wage payments applicable to certain employees, among other matters. Amendments to the LRA include providing for the process and criteria for extending bargaining agreements to non-parties by the Minister of Labour. These laws will further advance gains made since the advent of democracy in 1994.

The National Assembly at its sitting today approved the Revised Addis Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and Other Academic Qualifications in Higher Education in African States. This convention aims to strengthen and promote inter-regional and international co-operation in the field of recognition of qualifications and to speed up the exchange and greater mobility of students, teachers and researchers of the continent and the diaspora, by recognising qualifications delivered by other parties to pursue higher education, among other things. Section 231(2) of the Constitution states that an international agreement binds the Republic of South Africa and becomes law, unless it is inconsistent with the Constitution, only after it has been approved by resolution in both the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces. This does not apply to agreements of a technical or administrative nature or those not requiring this type of ratification.

The National Assembly plenary sitting also approved an amended version of the National Public Health Institute of South Africa Bill. The Bill aims to coordinate and, where appropriate, conduct disease and injury surveillance and to provide specialised public health services, public health interventions, training and research on major health issues affecting the population of South Africa, among other matters.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.

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