The proposed Revenue Laws Amendment Bill 2008 is due to be signed into law soon and its provisions will affect the application of tax such as income tax, secondary tax on companies, VAT and estates duty, among others. Some of the amendments could affect farmers. n particular, the compliance rules relating to small businesses, including farming, will change. Secondary tax on companies, currently paid upon a distribution of dividends by a company or close corporation, will be replaced by a new tax on dividends or a withholding tax to be paid by the recipient. Fringe benefit taxes are overhauled. Retirement benefits and life assurance changes will make estate planning less of a challenge. – Peter O’Halloran F armer’s Weekly will follow up on the new bill in our regular tax column.
Striking officials bring KZN land reform to a halt
Acting Chief Land claims commissioner Blessing Mphela’s decision to dismiss the KwaZulu-Natal Regional Claims Commissioner (KZNLCC), Siduzile Sosibo, will hopefully bring an end to commission staff’s strike action over grievances against their former boss. In the meantime a team of experts from the national office will address the backlog in the KZN claims commission. T he National Education and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU), which represents a proportion of KZNLCC employees, says the strike action was the result of an initial lack of response from Mphela’s office to staff demands for Sosibo’s sacking.Staff allege Sosibo is incompetent, abuses her authority, and puts her department in a bad public light due to her apparently ineffective leadership.
According to reports, Mphela asked the KZNLCC staff for 14 days to brief agriculture and land affairs minister Lulama Xingwana on the situation before answering their demand. Mphela also allegedly stated an investigation into the allegations had been concluded and the report would form the basis of a decision made at the meeting with Xingwana. NEH AWU spokesperson Zola Saphetha siad that while the union had encouraged its members within the KZNLCC to distance themselves from what appeared to be an illegal strike, the union acknowledged and accepted the nature of the grievances.
Before Sosibo was fired, Saphetha said a meeting was planned between his union, grievance stakeholders and a representative from the National Land Claims Commission’s office. “NEHAWU want to discuss why there was a delayed direct response to the grievances presented to Mphela, and a delay in releasing the results of the investigation,” explained Saphetha.
Meanwhile Kwanalu president Robin Barnsley said there’d been much unhappiness among various stakeholders in the province’s land reform process since began leading the commission. “While I can’t comment on specific grievances feel it’s admirable they feel so strongly about the need to improve the pace of land reform,” Barnsley added. “Any actions that take place must lead to the improved performance of the Land Claims Commission.” – Lloyd Phillips