Expectations for 2024

Expectations for 2024

The average new year’s resolution lasts just 3.74 months, according to the Forbes Health/One Poll survey for 2024. Only 8% of 1,000 respondents tended to stick with their goals for one month, while 22% lasted two months, another 22% lasted three months, and 13% lasted four months. So, asks SHARMINI NAIDOO, why do we do it?

“The New Year serves as a cyclical marker of time during which we reevaluate and take inventory on our lives,” says clinical psychologist Dr Sabrina Romanoff. “The drive for making resolutions is motivated by this punctuation in time. [It] activates hope and expectations for what we hope to achieve going forward.” With a new year comes a “sense of renewal”, says psychologist Dr Mariana Strongin. This makes us think about what we want to improve or change. 

As we dive into 2024 and try to stick to our new year resolutions, some of us are filled with hope and motivation, others with disillusionment and dread… but as the saying goes, “whatever you believe, you create”. Ultimately, we have the power to create our own reality.

2024 is bound to bring about a barrage of change: wanted and unwanted, expected and unexpected, and some that are needed. Politics will play its part, as elections take place in many countries, including South Africa. General elections are expected to be held in May (which earns us another public holiday) and a new National Assembly as well as the provincial legislature in each province will be elected.

Amidst the deluge of corruption, crime, and joblessness in the country, analysts predict that the turnout at the polls will be 49% lower than that of the previous elections. Our political parties – the agents of electoral mobilisation – have already begun wooing potential voters. Opposition parties will heckle and criticise each other, and we will be left to wonder what last minute Bills will be signed, what new policies and laws will be announced, and what promises and vows will be made to canvas and sway votes, or, indeed, whether the current status quo will remain to prevent any dissension.

New elections also mean cabinet reshuffles: this appointment of new Ministers, deputies, and senior officials often leads to lack of continuity in policy and legislative matters.

As the political strategies are crafted, tactics unfold, and the rhetoric abounds, some will unfortunately play havoc on business and taxpayers. The National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill which was signed late last year is one piece of legislation that is high on government’s brag list, and we will have to brace ourselves for the impact. Discovery estimates that taxpayers can expect to pay 31% more in taxes and receive 69% less benefits from their medical schemes. If the Bill is implemented in its current form, medical schemes will not be able to provide cover for services that are paid for by the NHI (services which are yet to be determined). The Bill also specifies that payroll taxes and a surcharge on personal income tax could be considered as sources, and we have already heard that medical aid tax credits will disappear. 

The highly controversial and contested Employment Equity Amendments (EEA) that were supposed to come into effect in September last year have still not been implemented. Compliance measures and reporting will therefore continue to be based on existing legislation until announced otherwise by the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL). All designated employers, regardless of their employee count, were obligated to submit their annual EEA2 and EEA4 reports to the DEL by the stipulated deadline of 15 January 2024.

While broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) remains the number one transformative tool on government’s agenda to drive high-impact transformation initiatives for business and social value, the bus industry has not had further engagement with the Integrated Transport Sector (ITS) B-BBEE Charter Council since October last year. Despite commitments to meet once a month, there has been no explanation as to why these engagements have been halted. Nominations were submitted to the Council to serve on the bus and coach working group, and concerns were raised about the lack of proper consultation on the proposed Scorecard; the elimination of a transitionary period for implementation is still being reviewed by the B-BBEE Council.

With the negotiated bus contracts in Gauteng successfully concluded last year, we hope to see the main contracts and sub-contracts signed and implemented soon, so that these operators can run more effectively and better serve commuters.

On 5 December 2023 the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) passed the following Bills which have been sent to the president for approval:

• National Land Transport Amendment Bill [B7F–2016]

• Economic Regulation of Transport Bill [B1D–2020] 

• National Road Traffic Amendment Bill [B7D–2020] 

All three Bills will have a major impact on the bus industry, and we await the pronouncement. 

Published by

Sharmini Naidoo

Sharmini Naidoo is interim executive manager of SABOA.
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