The Republic of South Africa, a multiparty, constitutional democracy, is situated on the southernmost tip of the African continent. With a population of approximately 54 million people, close to 60% of whom are under the age of 35, it is a young, stable democracy.
South Africa affords investors wishing to establish businesses in South Africa a number of possible investment vehicles, ranging from companies to business trusts and joint ventures.
A number of acts regulate the various aspects of employment and labour relations in South Africa. Chief among them is the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
Following South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) concentrated on reintegrating the country into the global economy after decades of isolation.
South Africa's securitisation regulations are designed to encourage securitisation issuance and foreign capital investment while managing risk to securitisation issuers and all movements of foreign exchange in and out of the country.
South African legislation makes provision for the regulation of most investment vehicles including pooled investment vehicles and most types of exchange traded funds.
South Africa's trade policy provides the key principles for its global integration strategy with respect to engagements at regional, bilateral and multilateral levels.
South Africa has a vibrant and well-regulated financial services industry that is backed by legislation, regulation and specific rules. The provision of financial services in South Africa is regulated mainly by the Financial Markets Act, No. 19 of 2012 (FM Act) and the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, No. 37 of 2002 (FAIS Act).
South Africa's banking sector is mainly governed by the Banks Act, No. 94 of 1990 (Banks Act), while the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and the Registrar of Banks are responsible for the majority of the regulatory activities in the banking landscape.
Exchange controls were implemented to regulate the flow of capital into and out of South Africa. The legal framework is based on the premise of a total prohibition to dealing in foreign exchange, except with permission and on the conditions set out by National Treasury.
South Africa imposes tax (subject to certain exemptions) on all forms of corporate entities as well as on individuals and trusts. Types of taxes include, among other things: normal tax, withholding tax, donations tax, value-added tax, estate duty, securities transfer tax and transfer duty.
South Africa is a member of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering and has taken significant steps to comply with this organisation's international obligations.
Competition law in South Africa is governed by the Competition Act, No. 89 of 1998 (Competition Act). The Competition Act applies to all economic activity within, or having an effect within, South Africa.
The identification, protection, enforcement and commercialisation of intellectual property require effective management. Intellectual property, as it operates within the South African context, is of particular importance to the success of any business.
The Consumer Protection Act, No. 68 of 2008 (CPA), aims to create a fair, accessible and sustainable marketplace by prohibiting unfair market and business practices; promoting responsible consumer behaviour; and harmonising the laws governing the protection of consumers.
South Africa's first comprehensive data protection law, the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), was assented to on 19 November 2013 and its commencement date is to be proclaimed.
Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is a process driven by Government through legislation and policy, which aims to remedy historical racial imbalances and achieve economic transformation by increasing the number of black people who participate in the mainstream South African economy.
The South African insurance industry boasts a high level of development and sophistication and is characterised by strong competition that is enlivened by the presence of a large number of major insurers, reinsurers, brokers and intermediaries.
South Africa's relatively stable political environment and adherence to the rule of law make it an attractive destination for foreign investment.
The exercise of a public power or the performance of a public function is governed by, and judicially reviewable in accordance with, the rule of law. Administrative action is also judicially reviewable if it is not lawful, reasonable and/or procedurally fair.
South Africa's considerable and diverse natural resources provide a wide array of investment possibilities, from alternative energy to fishing and eco-tourism.
South Africa boasts an abundance of mineral wealth and offers considerable investment opportunities. Prior to 2004 the right to mine was associated with land ownership rights.
South African property law provides for various types of registered land title including freehold title, sectional title, and long lease. Ownership may be held by a natural person, partnership, company, close corporation, trust, association, or any other recognised entity.
Broadly speaking, the communications industry in South Africa includes media, telecommunications, broadcasting and e-commerce. The legislation and common law that regulates media in South Africa is subject to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, and the rights it upholds.
South Africa has a well-developed body of aviation law that is continually updated in keeping with international standards and recommended practices. As such it provides a solid framework for a vibrant local aviation community.
Project financing involves raising finance for the design, construction and development of a project's infrastructure and the procurement of any equipment and assets required for the operation of the project.
South Africa is rich in alternative forms of energy. They include solar, biomass, hydro-power, biogas, landfill gas and wind energy. In line with South Africa's commitment to sustainable development, there has been a strong shift in focus from primary energy resources, such as coal and oil, to alternative energy resources.
Liquidation or winding up, compromise with creditors and business rescue are mechanisms available to financially ailing companies in South Africa. However, the business rescue process is a relatively new mechanism in South African law.
Investing and doing business in South Africa take place in a human rights context. The term “human rights” is a shorthand description for the relatively complex sets of laws, codes, approaches and lived experience which inform doing business in South Africa.
Although historically a mining country, South Africa is poised to transform into a petroleum jurisdiction. This is due to the relative recent discovery of potentially large-scale onshore unconventional gas reserves and the expectations of substantial near-term offshore crude oil and gas discoveries.