Securing Shareholder Information in the Digital Age – An Analysis of the Proposed Amendments to Section 26 of the Companies Act
Author: Mzukisi Njotini
Affiliations:Vice Dean (Teaching and Learning), Faculty of Law, University of Johannesburg
Source: South African Mercantile Law Journal, Volume 32 Issue 3, 2020, p. 334 – 359
Amending company legislation has become a common occurrence in South Africa. The legislature has passed a number of statutes to alter the principles regulating corporate entities. It is noteworthy that the Companies Act 71 of 2008 is the most substantial of these amending statutes. This Act harmonised the legal principles governing the operation of companies, and brought companies closer to the developmental needs of society. It sought to promote economic grown, investor confidence and foreign investment, and accelerate the transportation of goods and services globally. Because of the need for companies to continue to promote innovation, the legislature proposed measures to repeal certain provisions of the Companies Act. Clause 4 of the Companies Amendment Bill of 2018 contains the proposed changes. The provision supports one of the cardinal ideals of an information society — to improve the free flow of information. However, the challenge with the section 4 provisions is that they are likely to endanger the sanctity of personal information stored online. Specifically, it is not completely clear to what extent the proposed amendments will enhance the integrity of online information, as opposed to weakening it.