President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet has approved the publication of the Draft Legal Sector Code (Draft LSC) for public comment.
The draft legal code comes as the legal profession does not currently have a sector code to guide it in addressing the imbalances and inequalities in the profession, cabinet said in a statement on Monday (11 July).
“The objectives of these codes are to facilitate the transformation of the legal sector to achieve representation as per the country’s demographics. The code will also ensure the development of the body that will produce well-trained and competent providers of legal services,” it said.
It added that the development of the draft code was overseen by the Legal Practice Council, a statutory body established in terms of Section 4 of the Legal Practice Act, and was guided by the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act.
“The B-BBEE Act of 2013 provides for the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition to issue codes of good practice on black economic empowerment in the specific sectors. Members of the legal profession currently do not have a sector code to guide them in addressing the imbalances and inequalities in the legal profession,” cabinet said.
Stricter rules for other jobs
The government is also expected to conclude the legislative process for the Employment Equity Amendment Bill in September 2022, in what is expected to be the vanguard of a new transformation push for the country.
The bill will allow the Employment and Labour minister Thulas Nxesi to set employment equity targets for different business sectors. The minister can set targets for different occupational levels, sub-sectors or regions.
The amendments would also require the government to issue contracts only to firms that have been certified as compliant with this law. The bill is currently before president Cyril Ramaphosa for consideration.
Ramaphosa also formally established his new Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council last week in a move he called a ‘landmark’, ‘historic’ and ‘a game-changer’ for transformation in South Africa.
Ramaphosa said the group will be responsible for guiding the trajectory of B-BBEE and transformation efforts in South Africa, following years of slow economic growth and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added that the council will be specifically responsible for:
- Reviewing progress around B-BBEE;
- Advising on the Draft Codes of Good Practice that the minister of Employment and Labour will be publishing for public comment;
- Reviewing sector charters;
- Providing advice on draft transformation charters such as the Draft Legal Services Charter that will soon be published for public comment.
“When we speak about the next frontier we are talking about a new vision for B-BBEE; that builds on successes, that learns from shortcomings, and that is both agile and adaptive in response to the realities of the national and global economies.
“In this year’s state of the nation address, I called for a new consensus to achieve higher rates of economic growth, social transformation and advance common prosperity. Consolidating B-BBEE is one of the aspects such a consensus will rely upon. There can be no growth without economic inclusion. There can be no inclusive recovery and reconstruction unless B-BBEE is at the center of our efforts.”