Starting a Company & the Legal Stuff

Starting a company comes with a lot of red tape and more than a few surprises.  Put yourself in the pound seat by understanding some of the legal stuff that you will encounter on a daily basis …

The Constitution (Act 109 of 1996) –   Some of the rights that our Constitution affords every citizen are the following:  the right to be a business owner,  to take part in the economy,  to have access to our courts and a right to legal representation.  You should operate with Constitution in mind, confident that no matter your age, or position in life, you are afforded equal rights and opportunities to everybody else.

The Consumer Protection Act (Act 68 of 2008) –  This Act protects your right as a consumer, so that big institutions can’t bully you.  This Act dictates how you should be treated as a consumer and what you can do if you are treated unfairly.  As a business owner, the Act impacts many areas of your business, and you should get to know it well.

Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (ECT Act) (Act 25 of 2002) –  We all conduct business over the internet.  The ECT Act deals with internet transactions and determines when a contract was entered into, where it was entered into, when and how social media can be used for business purposes.  This Act is particularly relevant if you do a lot of business on the internet.

Companies Act (Act 71 – 2008) –  As you can no longer register close corporations, chances are that you registered a company when starting up.  This Act sets out how companies must be registered, what directors can and can’t do and when directors are liable in their personal capacity and when not.

Municipal by-laws –  Every municipality in the country has its own by-laws that apply to businesses that operate in this area.  This pertains to building and zoning regulations, what licenses are required to take, and where you can do business.  Visit your local municipality to find out which by-laws will effect you.

Copyrights Act (Act 98 of 1978) and the Trademarks Act (Act 194 of 1993) –  The Copyright Act protects words written by yourself or your business.  The Trademarks Act protects any design that you have come up with.  It is important to know when your rights as copyright holder have been violated and why you should register trademarks.

The lists is not exhaustive, but is a good start for any entrepreneur who wants to empower him/herself by knowing which laws are important in business.

 

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