Business Law Focus

TIMESLIVE PODCASTS  |  Podcast , ±17 min episodes every 3 weeks, 5 days  | 
The Business Law Focus podcast series covers the latest and most important developments in business law and tax. Through exclusive interviews with leading experts in the field and the lawyers actually arguing the most important cases, these interviews cut through the noise to provide legal insights that matter for the C-suite, entrepreneurs and professionals.

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Keep the taxman in mind when liquidating

In terms of the Statistical Release on liquidations and insolvencies published by Statistics South Africa in July 2021, there has been a 21.5% increase in the number of liquidations in the first seven months of 2021 compared to the first seven months of 2020. This has not deterred SARS from collecting outstanding tax debts from defaulting taxpayers.

In this edition of Business Law Focus, host Evan Pickworth speaks to Tax Executive at ENSafrica, Ntebaleng Sekabate, about the key tax considerations to keep in mind when a company is in financial distress.

The tug of war over VAT refunds

Claiming and determining the veracity of VAT refunds is a perennial headache for both SARS and the taxpayer. In this edition of Business Law Focus, host Evan Pickworth, interviews tax manager at ENSafrica, Annelie Giles, on the extent of the problem and what can be done to fix it.

'Stablecoins' and the move to decentralised finance

Business Law Focus Editor Evan Pickworth speaks to Ashlin Perumall, Partner in the Corporate/MA Practice at Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg and fellow of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR).

The readiness (or lack thereof) for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) in Africa, a rising tide of crypto fraud, the development of digital currencies in Africa like central bank digital currencies and stablecoins and how laws and policies are slowly evolving to adapt to rapid advances in digitisation are discussed.

What are the implications of the recently enacted Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Act?

In this episode of the Business Law Focus podcast, Editor Evan Pickworth interviews Janet MacKenzie and Darryl Bernstein, experts from global law firm Baker McKenzie, on the implications of the recently enacted Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Act. The criminalisation of harmful data messages and the intersection between this Act and the Protection of Personal Information Act is explored. The interview also discusses the weak levels of data privacy protection in Africa, with data privacy laws, which govern issues like data security and breaches, currently present in less than half of African countries.

What does the future hold for SA's labour market?

With businesses and the economy caught in a whirlwind of strikes, protests, lock-outs and retrenchments - on top of trying to recover from Covid-19 losses - Business Day Law & Tax Editor Evan Pickworth interviews Audrey Johnson from ENSafrica’s employment department on what the future holds from a labour perspective.

Shifting patterns in Africa’s infrastructure funding

Baker McKenzie’s latest report - New Dynamics: Shifting Patterns in Africa’s Infrastructure Funding - shows the state of the African infrastructure market, and how the major global players’ approach infrastructure lending on the continent is changing.
The report’s data shows that multilateral and bilateral lending into Africa has declined - with investment levels falling successively in 2019 and 2020 compared to peak levels seen after the financial crisis. In 2019, bilateral and multilateral lending into Africa amounted to USD 55 billion, which drops to USD 31 billion in 2020. Over the last six years, the decline is significant - deal values dropped from USD 100 billion in 2014 to USD 31 billion in 2020.
This slowdown in infrastructure investment was attributable to a number of factors, including the pandemic. Economic contraction has affected Nigeria and South Africa, meaning that the region’s largest economies have not been feeding in growth as in previous years. However, market fundamentals signal a region with underlying resilience and, as the global economy recovers, finance will be unlocked. There are already positive indicators of forthcoming investment. Commodity prices are rising and landmark deals are returning. For example, mining multinational Sibanye-Stillwater recently committed ZAR 6.3 billion to South African infrastructure projects.

The future of trade

In the latest edition of Business Law Focus, Editor Evan Pickworth interviews ENSafrica’s Executive: Africa Regulatory and Business Intelligence, Celia Becker on the future of trade in Africa.

This follows the coming into force of the long-awaited African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. The AfCFTA creates the largest free-trade area in the world, but the jury is out on how quickly this will translate into economic results.

Spotlight on political party funding

In this edition of Business Law Focus, Editor Evan Pickworth unpacks the broad ramifications of the Political Party Funding Act with leading expert, Dario Milo from Webber Wentzel.

The Act came into force on 1 April 2021 and contains several provisions compelling disclosure of contributions to political parties, but certain loopholes remain.

Why a wealth tax may not be on the cards

In the next episode of Business Law Focus we delve into the potential for extensive tax increases in the upcoming Budget. Editor Evan Pickworth is joined by Director at AJM Tax, Dr Albertus Marais, to unpack what already over-burdened and over-stretched taxpayers can expect.

Dr Marais explains that close to 20% of budgeted expenditure will not be received as income, so this shortfall will need to be made up over time. However, he says extensive tax increases or a wealth tax are probably not likely. He points out that while both the supplementary budget and the medium-term budget policy statement of 28 October 2020 proposed tax hikes, these were actually quite limited when compared to the rising tax gap.

In the interview, Dr Marais also unpacks the South African Reserve Bank's Financial Surveillance Department first circular of the year, submitted in January, which ends the long-standing exchange control prohibition against these structures.

He says there has been a longstanding need – almost since the introduction of exchange controls to this country in 1961 – for the prohibition against these structures to be lifted.

Seeking Mining Tax Certainty

Welcome to the next episode of Business Law Focus, which digs deeper into what can be expected in next month’s Budget. Editor Evan Pickworth interviews Head of tax in the Johannesburg office of ENSafrica, Andries Myburgh, to get key insights on potential corporate and mining tax changes.

According to Myburgh, two areas where certainty is needed on the corporate tax front, are clarity on the proposal last year to deny contract miners the accelerated capital expenditure deduction and the need for more incentives to encourage greenfield exploration. A key message is that economic activity can be encouraged through incentives for prospecting or exploration.

15 episodes

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