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The South African Companies Act, 61 of 1973 has a lot of shortcomings and does not meet all the requirements of modern companies.
The most important deficiencies in it relate to capital maintenance rules, corporate governance and shareholder protection.
Corporate governance has largely been regulated by common law and codes of corporate practice rather than by statute.
This has created uncertainty and imprecision, especially with regard to directors’ fiduciary duties.
Another downside of the 1973 Companies Act is that it lacks effective enforcement mechanisms, which has the result that directors and senior management become, in a big sense, immune to their wrongdoing and negligence.
Litigation by the offended party is expensive and protracted, while class actions and attorneys’ contingency fees are still relatively novel and immature.
Another problem is that the public institutions tasked with investigating wrongdoing and negligence and enforcing the 1973 Act lacked adequate resources and power.
The objective of the new Act, 71 of 2008, is to make company law more easily understandable and to make it simpler by containing as few mandatory rules and prohibitions as possible.
Petrus Lafras (Pieter) de Jager was born in 1982.
He is one of four children and was raised in the East of Pretoria, Guateng, South Africa.
He obtained his LLB degree from the University of Pretoria in 2006 and his LLM in Corporate Law in 2010.
He is currently staying in White River, Mpumalanga, South Africa, where he works as a legal advisor.
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