Business Law Focus

TIMESLIVE PODCASTS  |  Podcast , ±17 min episodes every 4 weeks  | 
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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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.

How to battle gender-based violence via the Disaster Management Act

Gender-based violence (GBV) is an ongoing ill bedevilling society and it needs to be rooted out as a priority. To do this, collective action and a firm commitment from broad stakeholders across society, government and the private sector is needed.

In this Business Law Focus podcast, panelists Patrick Bracher, a Director at Norton Rose Fulbright, and Head of Risk and Sustainability at SPAR Group, Kevin O' Brien, call for a firmer commitment by broad roleplayers, driven by practical and actionable intent. Harnessing the powerful provisions of the Disaster Management Act, with its strict controls and resources, could be a very good place to start if the will is truly there to make a real impact.

How the 'Internet Censorship' Act tramples constitutional rights

In this episode of Business Law Focus, Evan Pickworth asks Janet MacKenzie, a partner and head of the TMT industry group for the Johannesburg office of global law firm Baker McKenzie, why the changes are ripe for a constitutional challenge if passed in their current form.

We discuss the next steps and determine the consequences for commerce if vast swathes of user-generated content are caught up in the wide net cast by these proposed Draconian rules.

Ubuntu in Commercial Contracts: Professor Michael Katz and panel provide much-needed clarity

In this first in a series of Business Day Law & Tax podcasts, editor of the publication and admitted attorney, Evan Pickworth is joined by Chairperson of ENSafrica, Professor Michael Katz, who gained wide recognition and plaudits for his excellent work as chair the Commission of Inquiry to Investigate the Taxation System of South Africa and is a leading authority on corporate law, M&A and tax.

Also on the panel is Professor Dale Hutchison, who is the Head of the Internal Research Unit at ENSafrica and has been a professor of private law at the University of Cape Town since 1983. Dale has gained significant recognition as a leading authority on contract law, and is widely published.

The final panelist is the highly experienced and regarded M&A lawyer, Julius Oosthuizen, who is the Joint Head of the Corporate Commercial department at ENsafrica, which is the largest department of its kind in Africa.

The panel debates the key principles of a recent precedent-setting Constitutional Court judgment, which provides much-needed clarity on the treatment of fairness, public policy and Ubuntu in determining the validity of commercial contracts.

11 episodes