Business legislation compliance isn’t any single law or regulation, but rather covers the entire spectrum of legislature with which businesses must comply to be considered legitimate. Business compliance in South Africa is no different, and includes various Acts and laws with which businesses must comply.

As a business owner, in order to discover what legislations apply to your particular business you will need to ask yourself a few questions. The following are just a few of the many Acts with which South African businesses need to comply.

What are you selling?

What you are selling is the first point of concern for your business’s legislation compliance. If you are selling goods to your customers, for instance, you will need to comply with the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). This Act is meant to ensure that customers are protected in their interactions with suppliers, discouraging suppliers from misleading customers as to the quality and/or value of their products.

Compliance with the CPA, especially with the help of professional consumer protection services, can also minimise the risks to businesses. For instance, by getting expert advice to ensure that your labels, marketing material and other documentation and policies are all in line with the CPA, your business will have a much lower likelihood of being held liable for contraventions against the Act. Also, experts like SERR Synergy also offer CPA training on the updates of the legislation to make sure you stay informed.

Do you have employees?

For any business employing individuals, compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) is always a requirement. The purpose of this Act is to “provide for the health and safety of persons at work”.

Like the CPA, the OHSAserves as a means of protecting the business and those involved with it, whether they be employees or customers. By ensuring that your business is compliant with these legislations you ensure that your customers are satisfied and your employees are protected against possible loss of production due to safety failures.

By being compliant, your business is also protected against the loss of profits and production by reducing the possibility of work-related injuries. Compliance with the OHSA also protects your business and you as owner from the penalties associated with non-compliance, which include fines and/or imprisonment.

Are you working with sensitive information?

Especially after the recent Facebook data leak scandal and the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) changes, the safety of individuals’ and business’s data has reached new heights of importance. For business compliance in South Africa, the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act is extremely important. At the time of writing this Act has not yet come fully into effect, but it will soon and will have a strong effect on South African businesses.

According to this Act businesses in possession of sensitive or personal information are required to protect said information, ensuring the constitutional right to privacy. Failure to comply with this legislation can have severe consequences for you as a business owner, resulting in civil or even criminal implications. The penalties can include a fine of 10 million rand and/or even a prison sentence from 12 months up to 10 years.

Are you sure you are compliant?

This is the most important question you need to ask yourself. If you are at all unsure, then the best course of action is to contact a legal compliance expert to help you ensure that your business is compliant with all relevant South African legislation.