Tag: law

Final countdown to POPI Act

Source: Lexology

There is less than a month to go before South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (“POPIA”) is set to go into full effect on 1 July, 2021.

It is critical for organisations operating in South Africa to ensure that they are ready if and when the Information Regulator comes knocking.

It is only when organisations start their POPIA journey that they realise just how wide the POPIA net is cast, and that very few businesses fall outside of its reach. The road to POPIA compliance should be viewed as a marathon, and not a sprint. While implementing and maintaining an effective POPIA compliance program will take continued effort and resources well beyond the July 1, 2021 go-live date, here we outline five steps to which companies subject to POPIA should give their attention in the short term.

Step 1: Identify and appoint an Information Officer

POPIA provides for a similar position as the GDPR’s data protection officer in the form of an “Information Officer.” Organisations subject to POPIA must identify an Information Officer who will be responsible (and who may be held personally liable) for, among other things, all of the organisation’s data protection compliance requirements, working with the Information Regulator, establishing policies and procedures, and POPIA awareness and compliance training.

The “head” of the organisation (i.e., the CEO, managing director, or “equivalent officer”) is automatically deemed the organisation’s Information Officer, however, the organisation can “duly authorise” another person in the business (who is at management level or above) to act as Information Officer. Similarly, the organisation can designate one or more employees (also at management level or above) to act as “Deputy Information Officers” to assist the Information Officer perform his or her responsibilities. Both the Information Officers and Deputy Information Officers must be registered with the Information Regulator before the end of June 2021, via the Information Regulator’s Online Registration Portal, or by submitting the downloadable Manual Registration Form to the Information Regulator.

Step 2: review the organisation’s marketing practices

While many organisations may not consider themselves to be engaging in so-called “direct marketing” practices, this concept is widely defined in POPIA to include “any approach” to a data subject “for the direct or indirect purpose of […] promoting or offering to supply, in the ordinary course of business, any goods or services to the data subject […].” POPIA provides data subjects with certain rights with respect to unsolicited “electronic communications” (i.e., direct marketing by means of automatic calling machines, fax machines, SMSs, or emails). The processing of a data subject’s personal information for the purposes of direct marketing is prohibited, unless the data subject has consented to the processing, or the email recipient is an existing customer of the organisation.

In practical terms, the organisation must have obtained the data subject’s details through the sale of a product or service, and the marketing should only relate to similar products or services of the organisation. The data subject must be given a reasonable opportunity to object to the use of their personal information for marketing each time the organisation communicates with the data subject for marketing purposes, i.e., recipients must be able to “opt-out” at any stage. Potential new customers can only be marketed with their express consent, i.e., on an “opt-in” basis.

Step 3: Review the organisation’s security measures

POPIA obliges organisations to take appropriate technical and organisational measures to safeguard the security and confidentiality of personal information – aimed at preventing any loss, damage to, or unauthorised destruction of personal information, including measures to prevent unlawful access to, or processing of personal information under the organisation’s control.

There is a general data breach notification obligation under POPIA. Where there are reasonable grounds to believe that a data subject’s personal information has been accessed or acquired by an unauthorised person, the organisation, or any third party processing personal information under its authority (e.g., an outsourced payroll service provider), must notify the Information Regulator and the data subject of the data breach “as soon as reasonably possible,” unless the identity of the data subject cannot be established. It is therefore crucial that organisations ensure that they have an effective data security incident protocol in place, which will allow them to comply with the breach notification obligations under POPIA, and avoid falling under additional scrutiny.

Step 4: Review the organisation’s existing data transfer and outsourcing arrangements

POPIA generally applies not only to organisations that process personal information in South Africa, but also to any person or company that processes personal information on behalf of the organisation – commonly referred to as a “processor.” POPIA also applies to organisations outside of South Africa that process personal information in South Africa with the assistance of a third party (e.g., a channel partner, or outsourced service provider). Where any processing of personal information is outsourced by an organisation, it must, in terms of a written contract between it and the processor, ensure that the party processing personal information on the organisation’s behalf establishes and maintains appropriate security measures as prescribed under POPIA.

POPIA contains a general prohibition on cross-border transfers of personal information. However, this prohibition is subject to numerous exceptions, including: (1) where the data subject consented to the transfer; (2) the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract between the company and the data subject; (3) the transfer is necessary for the conclusion or performance of a contract between the company and a third party that is in the interest of the data subject; or (4) the transfer is for the benefit of the data subject. Where personal information is being transferred to a third party outside of South Africa, the company must ensure that the recipient of the personal information is subject to a law, binding corporate rules, or binding contract which provide an adequate level of protection that effectively upholds POPIA’s principles for reasonable processing, and that include provisions substantially similar to the conditions for the lawful processing of personal information, and for the further transfer of personal information under POPIA.

Step 5: Deliver POPIA awareness training

POPIA awareness training is a not only a valuable tool for organisations to promote compliance, it is also a requirement under the POPIA Regulations. The Information Officer must ensure that awareness sessions are conducted regarding the provisions of POPIA, the POPIA Regulations, codes of conduct (where applicable), as well as any information that is obtained from the Information Regulator from time to time.

 

By Wendy Tembedza for Webber Wentzel

​​​All businesses with employees, customers and suppliers must comply with POPIA, which comes into effect on 1 July 2021. Here’s a practical guide to the most important aspects.

With the commencement date of the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPI) of 1 July 2021 fast approaching, businesses should be reviewing their use of personal information to determine if it complies with the Act. It is important to understand that any business that has employees, customers and suppliers must comply with POPI when dealing with personal information. Below are a few tips on ways businesses can kick-start their compliance exercise.

Figure out what personal information you process and why
Under POPI, a business must be able to justify why it holds personal information based on one of the several justifications set out in POPI. This is a good opportunity for a business to assess what information it collects (whether from employees, customers, services providers or other third parties such as credit bureaus) and review whether that information is actually necessary for the purposes for which it was collected. In this regard, minimality is key – business should not collect more personal information than is required. Importantly, the term “personal information” is defined very broadly to mean any information that can be used to identify an individual person or another business entity.

Get rid of what you don’t need
Under POPI, a business cannot keep a record of personal information once the reason for which it was collected no longer exists, unless required by law. For example, unless required by law, a business should not keep personal information of any former supplier when the relationship has ended. Businesses should therefore check whether they are holding onto any old records of personal information that they no longer need and dispose of them in a secure manner. It is important to note that more data means more risk and it is best to purge what is not required.

Look at security
Correct management of personal information means appropriate security must be in place to protect it. POPI requires a business to put in place “appropriate, reasonable technical and organisational measures” to prevent loss, theft or damage to personal information. The suitability of security measures will depend on the business and the type of personal information it holds.

Marketing
Opt-out marketing emails and SMSs are a thing of the past under POPI. Unless a person is an existing customer, a business cannot send him or her marketing emails or SMSes without first getting consent from the person. Any request for marketing consent must include language that is set out in Regulations to POPI. Businesses should therefore review their direct marketing practices.

Go for the easy-wins
POPI compliance may seem like a daunting task but there are some “easy wins” when it comes to compliance. ​Basic documents used by the business will likely need updating for POPI compliance. These include company privacy policies and employee and supplier contracts. All of these documents should aid the business in proving its compliance with POPI.

Source: DW

Australia wants Google to pay for displaying local media content. In return, the tech giant has threatened to disable its search engine in the country. Could this confrontation set a precedent?

What’s happening in Australia?
Australia has proposed a bill that would oblige Google and Facebook to pay license fees to Australian media companies for sharing their journalistic content. Noncompliance would incur millions in fines. In response, Google has threatened to block Australian users from accessing its search engine should the bill become law.

Mel Silva, managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, told an Australian senate committee her company had no other choice but to block access to Google’s search engine in Australia should the bill be adopted in its current form. Even though, she said, this was the last thing Google wanted.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in turn declared that his country would not be intimated, saying, “We don’t respond to threats.” He added that “Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament.”

Why has the confrontation escalated?
Google has said it is willing to negotiate with publishers over paying license fees for content. The tech giant, however, argues Australia’s proposed law goes too far. It would oblige Google to pay not only when providing extensive previews of media content, but also when sharing links to the content. This, said Silva, would undermine the modus operandi of search engines.

The bill would also establish an arbitration model under which an Australian judge would determine how much Google should pay if the company fails to reach an agreement with a publisher. This mechanism is dividing opinions, with Google arguing it produces an incalculable financial risk for the company.

What’s at stake?
“Search engines earn considerable money from media content, whereas publishers earn little,” said Christian Solmecke, a Cologne-based lawyer specialised in media and internet law. Google, however, argues that publishers benefit from the platform, as users are directed to media content when it is indexed on the Google Newsfeed and elsewhere.

But publishers want a bigger share of the pie by receiving licensing fees. “Billions are thus at stake for Google,” said Solmecke. He doubts the tech giant will follow through on its threat and disable the search engine in Australia. “After all, that search engine is an elementary part of the digital world.”

But the row in Australia highlights a global dilemma. Recently, Google temporarily blocked certain Australian media content to some users in the country. The company announced the move had merely been a test run, though it was widely interpreted as a show of force: Oppose Google and you risk disappearing from its search results, facing dire economic consequences. For this reason, Solmecke said, “denying Google the right to use your content will remain a purely theoretical option.”

Is the EU planning a similar law?
In the spring of 2019, the EU adopted an ancillary copyright directive. All members states must now translate the directive into national legislation and adopt national ancillary copyright laws. Akin to the proposed Australian media bill, the EU directive aims to ensure publishers gain a share of revenue earned by internet platforms like Google when sharing journalistic content. Tech companies like Google generate revenue by, for instance, placing ads next to search results.

However, the directive does not place as many demands on companies such as Google and Facebook. “European and German ancillary copyright law is and will remain more narrow than the Australian bill,” said Stephan Dirks, a lawyer specialized in copyright and media law in Hamburg. Unlike the Australian bill, the EU directive allows tech platforms to display short media snippets for free. And it does not establish an automated arbitration model, either.

European confrontation looming?
Even though EU ancillary copyright law is more limited than the planned Australian law, experts do not rule out EU member states clashing with Google. “This gives us an idea how Google will react to the implementation of EU ancillary copyright law,” said Dirks. He recalls how Germany already introduced an ancillary copyright law in 2013, which prompted Google to threaten it would remove all media content from its search results if the law went into force. “That will certainly also be in the offing when the copyright reform has been implemented,” he predicted.

Solmecke, too, said the EU should keep a close eye on the standoff between Australia and Google. “The reaction of big tech companies can be seen as pointers toward their future conduct in Europe,” he said.

France has already translated the 2019 EU ancillary copyright directive into national law. Google subsequently struck a deal with French publishers over license fees.

Most EU member states are yet to pass their own ancillary copyright laws. It thus cannot be ruled out that Google’s threats will have an impact on national lawmaking processes, said Dirks.

New tax rules you should know about

By Jean du Toit for IOL

The President has given effect to the 2020 tax proposals by signing three tax Acts into law. On 15 January 2021, the President gave his assent to the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Act No. 22 of 2020 (“Rates Act”), the Taxation Laws Amendment Act No. 23 of 2020 (“TLAA”) and the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act No. 24 of 2020 (“TALAA”). These Acts were promulgated on 20 January 2021.

The Rates Act gives effect to changes in tax rates and certain monetary thresholds, whereas the TLAA and the TALAA contain more profound technical and administrative changes. Highlighted below are 10 key changes taxpayers need to know.

1.Withdrawal of retirement funds upon emigration

From 1 March 2021, taxpayers will no longer be able to access their retirement benefits upon completion of the emigration process through the South African Reserve Bank, commonly referred to as “financial emigration”. After this date, taxpayers will only be able to access their retirement benefits if they can prove they have been non-resident for tax purposes for an uninterrupted period of three years. Importantly, taxpayers can still access their retirement benefits under the old dispensation if they file their financial emigration application on or before 28 February 2021. If you miss this deadline, your retirement benefits will be locked in for a period of at least three years

2.Anti-avoidance rules bolstered for trusts

The anti-avoidance rules aimed at curbing tax-free transfers of wealth to trusts have been strengthened to prevent persisting loopholes. The amendment is directed at structures where individuals subscribe for preference shares with no or a low rate of return in a company owned by a trust connected to the individual. Ongoing changes to these rules again bring into question the thinking that trust structures are tax efficient.

3.Reimbursing employees for business travel expenses

Employees are not subject to tax on an amount paid by their employer as an advance or reimbursement in respect of meals and incidental costs where the employee is obliged to spend a night away from home for business purposes, provided it does not exceed the amount published in the Government Gazette. The TLAA includes an amendment which extends the treatment to expenses incurred on meals and other incidental costs while the employee is away on a day trip. It is important to note that this will only apply if the employer’s policies expressly make provision for and allows such reimbursement.

4.Relief for expats confirmed

Due to the travel restrictions under the Covid-19 pandemic, the days requirement for the foreign employment exemption has been reduced from 183 days in aggregate to 117 days. The relaxation only applies to the aggregate number of days and the requirement that more than 60 of the days spent outside South Africa must have been consecutive remains applicable. This amendment is not a permanent fixture and will only apply to any 12-month period for the years of assessment ending from 29 February 2020 to 28 February 2021.

5.Employer provided bursaries

The Income Tax Act makes provision for the exemption of bona fide bursaries or scholarships granted by employers to employees or their relatives. Historically, employees used this exemption as a mechanism to structure their remuneration package to reduce their tax liability. The exemption will no longer apply where the employee’s remuneration package is subject to an element of salary sacrifice; that is where any portion of their remuneration is reduced or forfeited as a result of the grant of such a bursary or scholarship.

6.Tax treatment of doubtful debts

The doubtful debt allowance provision has been amended to bring parity between taxpayers that apply IFRS 9 and those who do not. Where the taxpayer does not apply IFRS 9, the amount of the allowance is calculated after taking into account any security that is available in respect of that debt.

7.Roll-over amounts claimable under the ETI

The Employment Tax Incentive Act has been amended to encourage tax compliance. The amendment determines that excess ETI claims of employers that are non-compliant from a tax perspective will no longer be rolled over to the end of the PAYE reconciliation period.

8.Estimated assessments

The terms under which Sars may issue an assessment based on an estimate has been expanded. Sars may now issue an estimated assessment where the taxpayer fails to respond to a request from Sars for relevant material. The amendment also bars the taxpayer from lodging an objection against the estimated assessment until the taxpayer responds to the request for material.

9. Sars can withhold your refund if you are under criminal investigation

In terms of the Tax Administration Act, Sars is entitled to withhold refunds owed to taxpayers in certain circumstances. The TALAA expands these provisions to determine that if you are subject to a criminal investigation in terms of the Tax Administration Act, Sars is entitled to withhold any refund it owes you, pending the outcome of the investigation.

10.Criminal sanctions for minor tax offences

Previously, a taxpayer would only be guilty of a criminal offence for non-compliance under the Tax Administration Act if they “wilfully” failed to comply with their tax obligations. With the new amendments, non-compliance will constitute a criminal offence where it is as a result of the taxpayer’s negligence. In other words, intent is no longer required; where you are non-compliant as a result of ignorance of your obligations, you may be found guilty of a criminal offence. These offences are subject to a fine or imprisonment of up to two years.

Final comments

Taxpayers need to speak to their advisors to understand these changes and special heed must be paid to the administrative changes that are now law. The most important change that applies to all taxpayers is the one that criminalises negligent non-compliance. This and other administrative changes mean that taxpayers will be held to a higher standard, which serves as a cue for everyone to take ownership of their tax affairs.

 

By Loyiso Sidimba for IOL

Foreign nationals living in Gauteng will soon be barred by law from doing business in the province’s townships unless they obtain permanent residency status.

The Gauteng provincial government wants to stop foreign nationals from operating some businesses in the townships as part of plans to revitalise the economy in a number of the region’s most densely populated areas.

A proposed new law drafted by the Gauteng economic development department and premier David Makhura’s policy unit will reserve certain economic activities in townships for South African citizens and people with permanent residency status.

The draft Gauteng Township Economic Development Bill released this week does not identify the specific businesses it is targeting.

However, the proposed law will only assist township-based enterprises in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transport, communications, tourism and services if they are owned by South African citizens or holders of permanent residency status.

Stakeholders making submissions on the bill will have to suggest the sectors and sub-sectors that should be reserved for South Africans and permanent residents.

Permanent residency is obtained by foreign nationals who have been residing in the country on the basis of their work permits for a minimum of five years, their spouses and the dependants of South African citizens/permanent residence permit holders.

It can also be obtained by foreign nationals who intend to establish a business in the country and are financially independent, among other criteria.

According to the draft bill, there will be a percentage of provincial government procurement set aside for township-based enterprises.

The proposed law will also establish specific procurement rules and programmatic support to allow the government and its main contractors to buy from a large group or groups of township-based enterprises.

The government’s contractors will be compelled to spend a certain percentage of their procurement budgets on town-based enterprises, entrepreneurs and co-operatives.

A year ago, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola revealed that the government was developing tough legislation to prevent foreign nationals from operating in certain sectors of the economy but denied that this was protectionism.

At the time, Lamola said his small business development counterpart, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, was “developing legislation in relation to foreign nationals doing business in our country and which sectors of the economy they can play in, where and how.”

He assured foreign nationals that the country was not about to “wake up” and have a massive deportation of Zimbabweans, Mozambicans and Lesotho nationals.

However, Lamola said that there was a need to put in place legislation to in order to strike a clear balance that will help the government to grow the economy for the benefit of everyone, but still enable it to set aside some sectors that need regulation, and for it to be clearly stipulated that these are for local citizens.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura, at the time of advocating for relaxations to lockdown, warned of massive job losses in the province due to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning the economic impact would be more than at first anticipated and have a ripple effect across the whole economy.

Meanwhile, a march held in Pretoria this week against foreign nationals – targeting specifically Nigerians and Zimbabweans – has been condemned by the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria.

The march organisers protested about illegal migrants and drug trafficking, but the centre’s Professor Frans Viljoen said this kind of march underlined the need for government to cultivate social cohesion between South Africans and foreign nationals.

“It is evidently wrong to target people from particular countries or label them as criminals, drug dealers or persons responsible for the social ills in the country,” he said.

“Such rhetoric only seeks to reinforce xenophobic and populist narratives, from which South Africa strongly distances itself, both constitutionally and in the 2019 National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances.”

Gauteng is currently home to the highest number of foreigners in the country.

By James de Villiers for Business Insider SA

Media law experts believe WhatsApp admins in SA may be held liable for false information shared on their groups.

However, they would need to know that the information being shared is false, and do nothing about it.

Knowingly sharing fake news is a crime subject to 6 months imprisonment under SA’s Covid-19 disaster regulations.

Administrators of WhatsApp groups in South Africa may be held criminally liable if fake news is shared in the group, but only if they are aware that the information being shared is incorrect.

Under South Africa’s coronavirus disaster regulations, spreading false information, colloquially known as fake news, about the novel coronavirus and Covid-19 with intent to deceive is a crime with up to 6 months imprisonment.

PPM Attorneys communications lawyer Lucien Pierce believes Whatsapp group administrators who were aware that false information is being shared may also be held liable.

Pierce said the disaster regulations, however, make it clear that the fake news has to be spread with malicious intent, and therefore the administrator will have to know that the information being shared is false.

“Many people, like my mom, share many things during the course of a day which is false but which they do not know is false, and they, therefore, cannot be found liable,” Pierce told Business Insider South Africa.

“The same is true for an administrator: they would have to know that the information being shared is false. If they do not correct the information, or do nothing to stop it, they can then be held liable.”

Von Seidels copyright lawyer Salomé le Roux explained that a precedent has been set in South Africa where a court held a person who was tagged in a defamatory Facebook post jointly liable for the defamation in the post.

She said the ruling meant that anyone who participates in the publication or is part of the “publication chain” of defamatory material – or, under the disaster regulations, spreading of fake news – can be held liable.

A WhatsApp administrator is deemed to part of the “publication chain” as they are deemed to have created the group and has control over who is added and what is posted there, Le Roux told Business Insider South Africa.

“If someone [therefore] posts something defamatory [or false] and the WhatsApp admin sees it and does nothing, it is the same as if he was tagged on a defamatory Facebook post, but did not remove the tag and remains associated with the post,” Le Roux said.

Webber Wentzel media law expert Dario Milo said it is highly unlikely that someone will be held liable as the intent to deceive needs to be proved.

“[Only] once an administrator has knowledge that someone has posted fake news, and does not act to remove it from the group, he or she will be at risk of contravening the [disaster] regulation,” Milo said.

Source: LabourNet

According to the promulgation of the amendments to the Unemployment Insurance- and the Basic Conditions of Employment Acts during 2019, parents are now entitled to take ten (10) days Parental Leave per annum.

Payment for the aforementioned leave can be claimed from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Such payment will be determined by the Department of Labour. Employers are therefore not legally obliged to pay employees for time off due to Parental Leave. The payment for Parental Leave is therefore similar to that of unpaid Maternity Leave as regulated by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

Parental Leave will apply to all employees who do not qualify for maternity leave. These employees will be entitled to ten (10) days unpaid Parental Leave when their child is born or when an adoption order is granted.

In cases of adoption of a child under the age of two (2) years, the adoptive parent will be entitled to ten (10) weeks of Adoptive Leave (two months and two weeks). Where there are two (2) adoptive parents, the one will be entitled to ten (10) weeks Adoptive Leave and the other will be entitled to ten (10) days Parental Leave.

In the event of a surrogacy agreement, the one parent will be entitled to ten (10) weeks Commissioning Parental Leave whilst the other will qualify for ten (10) days Parental Leave.

Employers are advised to amend their leave policies and/or clauses in their contracts of employment dealing with leave to include the aforementioned. Failure to do so will not revoke the entitlement to parental leave but will automatically incorporate it into the contract by virtue of the amendment to legislation.

The City of Cape Town has published its amended traffic by-laws for public comment.

If passed, changes will include:

  • Strict new rules on using smartphones while driving will be applied
  • Mobile phones may be impounded (rather than be destroyed or auctioned off) if a motorist is caught using a handset while driving
  • Confiscated phones may be donated to neighbourhood watches, NGOs, or non-profit organisations
  • Motorists will have a number of opportunities to get their phones back first

Be wary of recorded conversations

Contrary to popular belief, companies may be within their rights to secretly record conversations with employees and use that information against them in a court of law. However, the reverse is also true.

Nicol Myburgh, Head of the Human Resource Business Unit at CRS Technologies, says this has the potential to significantly change the dynamic in the workplace.

According to Section 4 of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA), it is not illegal to secretly record a conversation you are party to. But it is still illegal to do so as a way of intercepting communications to commit an offence, for example obtaining a person’s bank account information.

“The argument that recording these conversations infringes on an employee’s (or employer’s) right to privacy is outweighed when using the recording in court is in the interests of justice. Of course, there is nothing prohibiting the addition of an explicit clause in employment contracts that mitigates against the risk of having communications intercepted.”

Technology has made it incredibly easy to record conversations without other parties being aware of it. Most smartphones and tablets come standard with audio recording features, making it virtually undetectable when somebody runs the app and puts the phone or tablet out of sight.

“Often, these conversations can be used as evidence in disciplinary hearings and other disputes even before they go to the CCMA or court. Further complicating matters is that courts do not hold privacy rights as absolute. Instead, they take other factors into account that can trump privacy rights.”

An example of this is in Harvey v Niland, where evidence was obtained by hacking into the respondent’s Facebook account. Evidence can therefore be presented in various forms and not necessarily only in the form of an audio recording.

Nevertheless, it remains in the best interests of either party to obtain recordings legally. From an employer perspective, fair process must be followed, with the employee being given an opportunity to respond to the evidence presented against them.

“From a legal perspective, it should also be noted that either party can record a conversation that they are part of. But if you are a third party, you need informed consent from one of the other parties to legally record that conversation. It is often this consent that confuses people into thinking all parties must agree to have a discussion recorded.”

Of course, if the recording is inaudible then it cannot be admissible. Myburgh says that employers or employees therefore need to ensure that the audio can be heard, and that the data is stored in a safe place to avoid it being lost, deleted, or edited in a way that will also make it inadmissible.

“Companies are operating in a dynamic, technology-driven environment. It should always be assumed that any conversation or meeting will be recorded, like assuming all work email will be read by a supervisor. In this way, both the employee and employer can ensure no mismanagement takes place.”

You could be jailed for lying on your CV

By Tom Head for The South African

The National Qualifications Amendment Bill is not here to play, ladies and gentlemen. The adjustment to the existing legislation comes with some pretty stern updates, which aims to clamp-down on dishonesty from applicants who embellish the truth on a CV.

The South African Qualifications Association (SAQA) will be charged with monitoring the registered qualifications of each citizen in South Africa. That’s quite the task for such a modest regulatory body, but the ANC has voted the move through in Parliament.

What is the National Qualifications Amendment Bill?

Cyril Ramaphosa now has the final say on what happens next – it’ll be his decision on whether the government should plough ahead with the proposals should they remain in power after Wednesday 8 May.

The bill isn’t likely to impact working-to-middle class workers too much, but it will serve as a deterrent to citizens applying for high-profile jobs. Executives, CEOs and even our politicians will be subject to rigorous background checks. If they are found to be lying about their educational history, stiff penalties await:

“Any person convicted of an offence in terms of this act is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a term of no longer than five years, or to both a fine and such imprisonment.”

“Any person, educational institution, board member or director may be ordered to close its business and be declared unfit to register a new business for a period not exceeding 10 years.”

Lying on your CV could soon be a serious legal issue

The punishment is not retroactive – so if your name is Jacob Zuma or Hlaudi Motsoeneng, you can breathe a sigh of relief. But if Ramaphosa decides to give this the green light, you may well have told your last porkie on a resume.

As IOL report, 97 national qualifications and 95 foreign qualifications were misrepresented between last October and November. That increased the total number of fraudulent applications up to 1 564 over the past 10 years.

The bill also aims to publish a “name and shame” list for those who try and push their luck just a little too far. So, if your CV is looking a little bare at the moment, try and think outside of the box – and not outside of reality.

 

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