Mike du Toit EGCCI president writes:
We have all heard the expression that there ought to be a law against that! Unfortunately, modern-day politicians have taken it to heart and now consider the legislating of new laws to cover any possible contingencies to be their mission in life.
Most of these new laws only add complexity and not value to economic life.
The ever-increasing body of laws always seems to add more cost and waste more of our time.
Much of this legislation seems to be driven by people refusing to accept responsibility for their actions and having a need to find other people to carry responsibility for their misfortunes.
We now seem to be following an American trend where people are unable to sort out their problems and differences without going to court.
It is hard to say whether the litigious society is created by over legislation or whether over legislation leads to a litigious society.
What is for sure is that the main beneficiaries of legislative growth are lawyers.
Perhaps that is why lawyers seem to be attracted to politics, leading to the jibe in the USA that they have a government of lawyers by lawyers for lawyers.
They certainly need lawyers as apparently their tax code, if printed, would run to over 80 million pages.
It is the fear of litigation and some of the ridiculous awards made by courts that have led to the almost comedic application of health and safety laws by large corporations.
There was a time when if someone fell down a flight of stairs at work and broke his leg it would have been considered carelessness and the fault of the employee.
Today he would sue the company for damages for not telling him about the danger and for not explaining that he should have been holding on to the handrail.
Of course, occupational health and safety is only one area of legislative oversupply, and there are many more.
One example is our labour law that is becoming a veritable minefield for small businesses.
Politicians love to talk about creating an environment that encourages entrepreneurship and the creation of jobs, they somehow or other do not seem to realise that the more you regulate these markets the more you discourage people from the risk of starting businesses and employing people.
Too much legislation results in bad legislation, bad legislation leads to poor compliance, poor compliance will eventually lead to a breakdown of the rule of law.
We need de-legislation not more legislation.