A new year – and new challenges for those of us who work to ensure organisations comply with the law and meet regulatory requirements. What does 2014 hold in store in for us? What are major themes or priorities going to be? We’ve been considering these issues over the last few weeks, so here are our predictions. Not all our predictions will prove right, but rest assured 2014 will be an interesting and eventful year. Our predictions should help you plan your year ahead and we hope it is a very good one for you.
2014 is the year of POPI
The President has signed the Protection of Personal Information Act. We know what the law will be. The POPI Regulations are being drafted, but we do not expect them to be extensive. Once they are published for comment in about March, the President will probably proclaim a commencement date. I predict it will be before the middle of 2014. Now is the time to learn about POPI and establish what the impact will be on your business. You also need to start planning what changes you are going to make in your organisation. For this reason, we are running further public workshops on POPI in February and March. Last year’s workshops were very well received and we already have many bookings for this year. We are also working on a Practical Guide to Effective POPI Compliance, which we will release in various forms. We are also helping clients comply with POPI in many different ways.
POPI is going to have a major impact on financial services, healthcare, credit, and marketing. We will be running specific workshops focusing on each of these industries. If you are interested, please email us and we will get back to you with the details.
Electronic signatures continue to gain popularity
People will be even more interested in electronic signatures than they were in 2013. People will also start using them en masse to save time and money. Knowing the law on electronic signatures is vital to do this. Imagine having thousands of documents signed with an electronic signature only to find out that they are not legally enforceable! We are running workshops on Practically using Electronic Signatures and the law in February and April. We also offer a Guide to electronic signatures in various forms to help businesses that want to use electronic signatures to educate their customers about them and to give businesses that provide electronic signature solutions a document to help sell their products. The workshop and the guide both cover digital signatures, digital certificates, and advanced electronic signatures as applications of electronic signatures and cryptography where transactions call for very reliable electronic signatures.
Managing the relationship between shareholders
On 1 May 2013, the transitional period under the Companies Act came to an end. This meant that a company’s memorandum of incorporation (MOI) now prevails over any shareholder agreement if there is a conflict. Many shareholders and directors are finding out the hard way the serious consequences of this. Shareholders need to ensure that they manage their relationship properly. This translates into drafting a new altered MOI that alters the Companies Act where necessary. It also means drafting and signing an updated Shareholders Agreement that fits in with the new regulatory framework. We have worked very hard over the last few years to make sure we can do this for you as fast and effectively as possible. If you would like to attend a workshop to draft a customised MOI and Shareholders Agreement for yourself, please email us and we will get back to you with the details.
Online business takes off
Online business will finally come of age in South Africa in 2014. Online stores are popping up all over the place and more and more businesses are offering services over the internet. Many brick and mortar shops that have not sold online before will start doing so in 2014. New online services, like technology, business, and consulting services, are also launching every day. This is why we are running a Legal Boot Camp for your Online Business this year. It is broad enough for startups and established businesses.
Our Labour Laws will change
After many delays our labour laws will change in 2014. If you would like to attend a workshop to understand the impact of the new labour laws or the amendments to the labour laws on your organisation, please email us and we will get back to you with the details.
Consumer protection hots up
The National Consumer Commission will start to flex its muscles in 2014 after facing some challenges in 2013. Many organisations have taken significant steps to protect consumers – looking after your customers makes business sense after all. There will be no excuse for not complying with the Consumer Protection Act in 2014. The CPA has been around for a long time.
The plain legal language movement will continue to gather momentum. We will continue to help organisations to convert all their legal documents to plain language and as part of this we will be running iLEXplain: Plain legal language workshops.
Complying with the law when marketing will be important
There are many new laws, rules, codes and standards that relate to marketing and advertising. Many associations will publish new Codes of Conduct. To help people comply, we are running public workshops in 2014 on Complying with the Law while Marketing.
Close Corporations will be converted
If you convert your close corporation (CC) before 1 May 2014, you do not have to pay fees to CIPC. We predict a rush to convert CCs before this deadline. There are in any case good reasons to convert a CC to a company.
Those are our predictions of the major regulatory themes or priorities for 2014. Do you think we’ve left out anything that applies to you? We are interested in any comments or thoughts you have. Please feel free to email us and let us know.