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The new Companies Bill aims to make company law in South Africa more accessible. Gareth Driver reports

In June 2008 the long-awaited new Companies Bill was tabled in the South African Parliament, with the intention that it be adopted in 2008 and become effective in 2010.

The Bill seeks to re-write South African company law completely. It will have far-reaching effects, with changes to the rights of shareholders and directors’ duties, and innovations in the area of ‘fundamental transactions’.

It is apparent that there has been an American influence on the Bill, although South African company law will retain its English roots.

Corporate governance

For the first time in South African company law, the Bill attempts to codify the general duties of directors. However, the Bill does not entirely exclude the application of the common law.

The codified duties of directors in the Bill provide that:

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