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Compliance is hard work, but it will keep you out of trouble with authorities

Compliance is hard work, but it will keep you out of trouble with authorities such as

1. Taxman

2. Department of Labour

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not, generally, founded by legal experts. Even if they were, it’s highly unlikely that compliance with legislation would be top of mind for the entrepreneur. No – the small business owner is most likely to be obsessed with winning new clients and establishing a reliable flow of cash into the business. However, ignoring legislation will, at best, seriously hamper your business’ growth (and your peace of mind) and, at worst, sink your fledgling firm entirely.

Here are the big regulatory issues that every business needs to keep ahead of.

1. Health and safety regulations

2. Labour laws

3. Tax

4. Municipal bylaws

5. Consumer protection

1. Health and safety regulations. The new health and safety act makes it imperative for SME owners to know how many people are on the premises, and their location. It is incumbent upon SME owners to put in place systems (safety File) to ensure employees, visitors and passing traffic are not exposed to any danger.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act gives workers a range of rights in terms of health and safety in the workplace. Regulations in the Act provide guidelines around aspects of workplace safety such as first aid, protective clothing, machinery, ladders, firefighting equipment, ventilation, lighting, temperature, noise and asbestos. • Compliance to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. - https://www.sheqsolve.com/

“Municipal bylaws, governing zoning, noise levels, hygiene, and so forth will also have impact on your business”

2. Labour laws

As an employer, familiarise yourself with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. This law governs relationships between companies and employees, setting out rules around working hours, overtime, leave, and the processes that need to be followed should you need to dismiss an employee. You’ll also need to register with the Department of Labour and contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).


​The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is one of the country’s most tenacious and professional government departments, so it’s wise to maintain a professional and transparent relationship. If you’re a sole proprietor or in a partnership, register with SARS as a provisional taxpayer.

If you have registered a company, be sure to register it with SARS, in addition to registering yourself as a taxpayer. If you have employees, you must remember to deduct tax from them and pay it to SARS each month. Also, you must collect and pay VAT if your business has an annual turnover in excess of R1 million.

4. Municipal bylaws

Municipal bylaws, governing zoning, noise levels, hygiene, and so forth will also have impact on your business. For example, you will probably need permissions to run a noisy manufacturing operation or a night club in a quiet suburban street, and should you wish to renovate your office building you may also need permission for that. And you will be required to submit safety files and other documentation to get the process on the move.

5. Consumer protection

With laws such as the Consumer Protection Act, government and regulators are becoming more stringent about consumer rights in South Africa. You should investigate what these laws have to say about how you should advertise your goods, structure your contracts with consumers, handle customer data, deal with merchandise returns under warranty, and so on.

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