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Importers take note: Proposed changes to SARS deferment scheme

Currently, if an importer applied for and is accepted into the SARS deferment scheme, the payment of import duty and import Vat may be deferred or suspended for up to 30 days. At the end of the 30 day period the importer is allowed a further 7 days within which to pay the deferred import duty and Vat to SARS. Currently, the 30 day deferment cycle may commence on any day of the month beginning with the 1st up to the 28th day of the month. There should be a pre-approved deferment limit in place which limits the amount of duty and Vat that may be deferred for the deferment cycle. If that amount is exceeded the importer will not be able to defer more import duty and Vat for the rest of that cycle.

Compulsory determinations for alcoholic beverages from 1 April 2015

SARS recently amended the customs and excise laws to make it compulsory for makers of alcoholic beverages such as beers, wines, ciders, spirits, coolers and other fermented beverages to apply for tariff determinations prior to release of a clearance upon import, and prior to removal of locally manufactured products from an excise manufacturing warehouse. It is not clear whether this compulsory tariff determination regime will be rolled out to other industries as well. Every manufacturer and importer must apply to SARS for a new tariff determination even if they have an existing SARS tariff determination in place.

Proposed rebates would mean world competitive pricing

The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (“ITAC”) is currently considering rebates on imported woven fabrics as well as the manufacture of electricity meters. On 30 January, the ITAC published a notice in the Government Gazette in respect of a proposed full rebate on imported woven products in South Africa which would enable importers to purchase fabrics without paying duties under certain conditions as well as a rebate provision in respect of electricity meters.

General News
Chambers and Partners 2015 Global Report

Chambers and Partners today published their latest findings in their 2015 Global Report, reaffirming Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group’s (BGAG’s) position as a leading pan-African legal services provider. Chambers, an independent legal directory, identifies and ranks law firms and lawyers in over 180 jurisdictions throughout the world, holding in-depth interviews with lawyers and clients to collate their findings.

General News
Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group wins Africa Legal Advisers Award

Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group (BGAG) M&A team has won the Africa Legal Advisers category of the 2015 Cell C DealMakers Annual Awards. BGAG was awarded top position in the Africa Legal Advisers category in both deal value and number of transactions. BGAG’s total deal value in this category of $4,627m constitutes 14.84% of the market share while the 41 reported transactions equals 36.61% of market share.

Employment Law
A Review of Labour Law in 2014 – No Good News for Employers

2014 must rank as one of the worst years for employers in terms of developments in Labour Legislation and Labour Law. The ability to hire employees on a flexible basis was substantially diminished, the ability to outsource to save costs was reduced, hiring employees was made more difficult, the cost of employing employees was potentially substantially increased and firing employees became substantially more difficult and costly. If Labour flexibility and ease of hiring and firing are hallmarks of an attractive investment destination the legislature and courts did little to improve South Africa’s attractiveness. The Legislature passed a number of amendments to the Labour Relations Act (“the LRA”) to deal with what is termed “atypical labour”. The Legislature went further than merely curtailing abuses of atypical employment relationships.

The role of competition law in industrial policy

Across jurisdictions, competition law has been identified as a means for achieving the industrial policy objectives of growth and job creation. The issue that African and international authorities are grappling with is how to calibrate competition policy to best achieve these outcomes. This emerged at Bowman Gilfillan’s recent fourth annual Africa Competition Law Conference, which was attended by competition regulators and lawyers from across Africa to participate in panel discussions dealing with topical issues like the role of competition law in industrial policy.

Shipping and Logistics
Bareboat charter claims and judicial ship sales

In the recent mv Tarik III High Court case in Durban, the issue to be determined was whether it is lawful to deprive a shipowner of its vessel by way of a judicial sale where the claims lie against the bareboat or demise charterer of the vessel and not the owner. The starting point is Section 1(3) of the South African Admiralty Jurisdiction Regulation Act, which mirrors the provisions of the Arrest Convention in that a bareboat charterer is deemed to be the owner of the vessel under charter for the purposes of an action in rem. Put differently, a maritime creditor may pursue a claim against a bareboat charterer by arresting the vessel related to the claim. The question which arises is whether, having arrested the vessel, the creditor can then enforce the claim by obtaining an order for sale (in the absence of a settlement of the claim or the giving of security for the vessel's release).

Expect an increase in corporate activity in the mining sector

Against the background of weak commodity prices, there is likely to be an increase in corporate activity in the mining sector as companies look to consolidate their positions and as investors return to the market to fund projects and buy undervalued companies.

Mergers & Acquisitions Equity Capital Markets Recent Transactions

We have recently been involved in a number of noteworthy M&A and ECM transactions across the continent, which demonstrate our depth of expertise, and ability to provide flexible, solutions-orientated and strategic advice. Predicting deal activity in the M&A and ECM space for the coming year is a tricky exercise, but there are certain to be opportunities and here are some of the important drivers. The media is reporting various possible multi-jurisdictional mega-mergers, which, if they eventuate, will have a direct impact on various countries on the continent as well as help to drive other unrelated deal activity.

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