Gender will not be added to pay disclosure and related reporting requirements in the Companies Amendment Bill now before Parliament. It will nevertheless be flagged as one of several issues requiring attention from the Department of Trade, Industry & Competition during South Africa’s seventh democratic administration. A new piece of draft legislation will therefore be required.

This is the gist of an agreement reached by majority vote during a recent meeting of the National Assembly’s Trade & Industry Committee. The vote followed a presentation from parliamentary legal adviser Fatima Ebrahim on options available to the committee for addressing various matters arising from stakeholder submissions on the Bill.

While some stakeholder proposals deemed to have merit would require amendments to the Act outside the scope of the Bill as tabled, gender-related pay disclosure is not one of them. A clause providing for that level of disclosure would nevertheless need to be advertised for public comment – prolonging the parliamentary process.

During the meeting, it became clear that Parliament’s intention is to pass both Companies Amendment Bills before rising for next year’s elections. Time is therefore of the essence, especially given that Parliament’s routine festive season recess is scheduled to begin on 6 December 2023 and is not expected to end until mid-to-late January 2024.

According to the committee’s revised programme for this term, work on both Companies Amendment Bills will be concluded on 22 November 2023 – when members will consider changes reflected in each respective ‘A-list’ and decide whether to adopt them.

Published by SA Legal Academy Policy Watch

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