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March 2012

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The devil is in the details and not in the clouds In an interview with the SABC just a short while after his State of the Nation Address (SONA), this past month, President Zuma was asked what his expectations were of the country’s social partners – if there was something that he was specifically asking labour to do or to consider? And, what government’s standpoint is on the costs of labour in this country and whether or not they were willing to engage labour in a conversation around this. President Zuma of course noted that the work of government is just to create the environments where more jobs and increased employment rates can thrive and that labour and the private sector then need to discuss how they handle the situation going forward. “I think ours is to create the environment, but also to ensure that whatever goes on between the two is within the parameters that will help the country to move forward,” he said. The President is of course spot on. Government’s key priority must be to create the best climate for all social, political and economic relationships to take place.  And all stakeholders within this must take the conversation forward to create the details around how these relationships co-exist. How does business ensure they maintain a healthy bottom line, increase shareholder value, and maintain good labour practices? How do policy makers ensure that new legislation doesn’t become cumbersome and so labour-intensive that it’s easier to forget about those co-existing relationships? In this issue we talk to the interpretation, application and compliance of key tax activities, guides and standards which form part of the details of the conversation that must happen in order to take our economy forward. And in the next few issues we will begin to share more succinctly on the same principle of interpretation and application of two of our key pieces of legislation – the New Company and the Consumer Protection Acts. Enjoy, Raina

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