Regulations giving practical effect to the 2013 Co-operatives Amendment Act were gazetted last Thursday. Operational since 1 April, the Act’s overarching objective is to improve accountability within co-operative enterprises and strengthen their governance. This is noting the myriad issues apparently preventing the sector from contributing towards economic development on the scale demonstrated elsewhere in the world (Mail & Guardian), notes Pam Saxby for Legalbrief Policy Watch.
Accompanying the regulations, a document spelling out the principles of good governance deals with a raft of associated practices and requirements, including the constitution of a co-operative; decision-making and voting rights; restrictions on the functions of a co-operative; its management; self-assessment; and capital reserves. While this document is relatively easy to understand, the same cannot be said for the regulations. Fortunately, the Act provides for the establishment of a co-operatives development agency among other things tasked with assisting co-operatives in their efforts to comply with its requirements. Over time, the agency is expected to open provincial, district and metropolitan satellite branches.