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New laws, Eskom’s price hike and their impact

Estate management outlook 2022

By Esther de Villiers

, |

New laws, Eskom’s price hike and their impact

Estate management outlook 2022

By Esther de Villiers

, |

3 min read

Four vital pieces of legislation, set to be introduced this year, is sure to affect South Africans.

Likewise, estate managers should take note of a proposed 20.5% hike in Eskom rates for the 2023 financial year, effective April 1.

Lawmakers gain momentum

Parliament is expected to deal with several central pieces of legislation in 2022, and 37 bills are currently being discussed by various committees.

The most noteworthy of these involve the National Health Insurance (NHI), employment equity, land expropriation, and cannabis.

Four key issues

* The NHI Bill was first introduced to Parliament in 2019 as initial enabling legislation to implement universal health coverage. During the past year, 22 public hearings were held to gauge sentiments in this regard.

The objective of the NHI financing system is to pool funds to provide quality affordable health services for all South Africans, irrespective of socio-economic status.

Treasury does not expect the NHI to be a significant cost pressure in the medium term, however, with the scheme’s planned implementation is progressing at a snail’s pace.

* Several revisions down the line, the Land Expropriation Bill continues to soldier on along the legislative trench. Introduced in October 2020, most of the rest of that year was spent on public consultation processes.

Land expropriation without compensation is likely to be a key issue for lawmakers this year, be it necessitating constitutional change or legislation amendments.

* Parliament has passed the Employment Equity Amendment Bill last November and now awaits concurrence with the draft. It will allow the Labour Ministry to set employment equity targets for different business sectors and regions, reduce regulatory burdens on small enterprises, and add rules for doing business with government.

* The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill is being reviewed and outlines possession rules for cannabis users and those wishing to cultivate it. (The impact of this legislation on estate managers will be fleshed out in a near-future edition of Estate Living.)

Eskom comes again…

An report in December highlighted Eskom’s 20.5% price hike plan, saying citizens and civil society organisations reacted “with outrage” at the increase.

Commentator Tanya Waterworth said: “The National Energy Regulator must adjudicate the electricity tariff application by February 25 and each municipality uses this determination to calculate electricity tariffs which will be paid by residents from July 1.”.

Pros and cons for managers

Explains Uys Fourie, principal of Orange Apple Properties in George: “When considering the proposed tariff hike, the largest impact on estates pertains to security and shared facilities.

“However, most estate security systems – electric fences, CCTV, motorised gates and booms – have back-up power systems. Shared facilities such as swimming pools, water features or streetlights would only be mildly affected if the increase were to be approved.”

He adds that, once divided among homeowners, the increase in levies is negligible. But the impact on estate management could lead to gruelling Body Corporate or Homeowners Association meetings.

“The chairperson of a local estate said when they last increased their levies by R10, homeowners were up in arms, causing a two-hour heated discussion to attain mutual agreement on the increase amount required,” he says.

On the bright side, if the Eskom hike were approved, more homeowners may turn to alternative power sources, lightening the load on the national grid while being more planet friendly.

Fourie cautions though that the erection of solar panels, for instance, will affect aesthetics of the estate, and thus necessitate changes to the HOA’s building guide. So… more meetings!

Aah, what’s NOT to look forward to in 2022?

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