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South Africa: New Bill Proposes Major Shake-Up of State-Owned Enterprises – South African News Briefs – September 18, 2023

 

Govt Aims to Create State Holding Company for SOEs

The South African government has published a new bill that will dramatically shake up the governance of state-owned companies (SOEs), reports News24. The National State Enterprises Bill will create a new state holding company, the State Asset Management Company, into which SOEs will migrate and be converted to subsidiaries. This move will also result in the dissolution of the government’s Department of Public Enterprises, set up in the 1990s. The bill aims to improve their governance and performance by providing them with the ability and means to raise capital from the markets, minimising political interference, and separating the state’s regulatory functions from its ownership functions. It is modelled on the successful models of Singapore, Malaysia, and China. The bill is now open for public comment and is expected to be tabled in Parliament before the end of March next year.

Eastern Cape Top Judge Faces Impeachment Over Sexual Harassment

Judge President Selby Mbenenge is facing potential impeachment following recommendations by the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC) for an investigation by a judicial conduct tribunal in response to sexual harassment allegations made by a Makhanda court official, reports The Citizen. The allegations include claims of explicit WhatsApp messages and indecent behaviour. While Mbenenge disputes some allegations, he acknowledges sending messages but argues they were not unwelcome. The JCC has ruled that referring the matter to a judicial conduct tribunal is the appropriate course of action. The Women’s Legal Centre, representing the secretary who made the allegations, has welcomed the decision, which may result in Mbenenge’s impeachment. The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is set to discuss the matter on October 2.

Vaping Linked to Stress and Addiction in South African Youth

The popularity of vaping, especially among high school students and young adults up to 35 in South Africa, has surged, and studies suggest a link between vaping and stress, reports TimesLIVE. Reports indicate that nearly a third of high school pupils reach for their e-cigarettes within minutes of waking up, and vaping has increased exponentially over the last decade. Stress, anxiety, and addiction are common reasons why young people continue vaping, which is seen as a social activity that’s easy to access. The health hazards of vaping, including harm to the developing brain and long-term risks to the lungs and heart, are concerning, but many students remain unaware of these dangers. Efforts to regulate vaping and provide support for quitting are under way in South Africa.

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