An Introduction to Heroin Use in Delaware

This Hub is the first in a series of articles that was originally called Heroin Use and Recovery in Delaware. It is a review of the history, mythology, and practices related to heroin abuse and recovery in the state of Delaware. Included are suggestions for systemic and individualized long-term resolution, which in turn will be beneficial to all Delaware residence.

The series is broken down into five sections.

Section One: A short history of heroin and its use in America. This is the Hub you are currently reading.

Section Two, The Problem, provides the reader with a short history of heroin and the impact it has had on Delaware. One important statistic covered is between the years 2004 and 2012 heroin and opiates individually pass alcohol as the number one reason people were admitted into state funded rehabilitation programs. This Hub can be found at

Section Three, The Current Approach, highlights the fact Delaware residents have access to greater number of recovery resources if they incarcerated, in a court ordered program, or on public assistance then if they were a State Employee covered by insurance.

Section Four, Addiction and the Self, is a short study of how the drug alters the user’s self-identity.

Section Five, Recovery: A Systematic Approach, is a discussion about next steps to include:

The creation of a coalition similar to the one focused on prevention.
Inclusion of the insurance industry and private businesses to the coalition.
Educate employers on the disability as one method to compensate for the gap in the ADA, which currently creates a Catch-22 for employed addicts who are seeking assistance in getting clean.

The intent of this study is to educate people, policy makers and legislators on the real problem many Delaware residence face and suggest solutions that can be implemented to have a long term impact.

Thank you

Mark Monroe

September 24, 2015

She never mentions the word addiction
In certain company
Yes, she’ll tell you she’s an orphan
After you meet her family

She paints her eyes as black as night now
Pulls those shades down tight
Yeah, she gives a smile when the pain come
The pain gonna make everything alright

She Talks to Angels Black Crows

Figure 2
Delaware Prevention Infrastructure depicting the partnerships involved with prevention of drug abuse.
Delaware Prevention Infrastructure depicting the partnerships involved with prevention of drug abuse.
Introduction

She Talks to Angels, is a 1990 song recorded by the Black Crows describing a young woman’s battle with a heroin addiction. Unfortunately the many existing myths and stereotypes about the drug and its users, prevents the mainstream of society from seeing the true extent the narcotic has penetrated our community. 17 years after the song’s release, in 2007, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports the overdose, “Rates have increased roughly five-fold since 1990.” (CDC Poison Brief) Heroin was identified as one of the leading contributing drugs. A National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports states “In 2012 about 669,000 Americans reported using heroin in the past year, a number that has been on the rise since 2007.” (NIDA) After 43 of the War on Drugs [1], not for the lack of effort, no ground seems to have been made. To curb the distribution, demand and continued use of the drug, it appears a new approach to the issue is needed.

While prevention is important, this particular study will look at the activities in the state of Delaware, with a focus on recovery. As depicted in Figure 2, Delaware’s Prevention Infrastructure Map, there are a multitude of agencies involved with diverting people (primarily pre-teens, teens and young adults) from trying drugs in the first place. However, no matter how effective the prevention efforts are, there will be those, who for a number of different reasons, slip through the cracks and follow Alice down the Rabbit hole[2]. For them the obstacles to recovery is the issues. Most people do not see the challenges with narcotics until recovery assistance is required. Many of the roadblocks that exist are socially constructed out of fear and misinformation about the disability.

Let me start out this study by way of an introduction. I am not a social service, law enforcement, or a drug rehabilitation expert. I am however a 52 year old white male that would fit into the economic label of middle class. I am fairly well educated with an Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Master of Arts degrees. After 27 years in the military (Active Army, Army National Guard and Air Force Reserve) I retired and currently make my living as a Regulatory Specialist[3] for Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS). To look at me you would see nothing special, I am an average father trying to live out an average life. However, life, as it often does, has intervened with my plan. As such, I have observed the impact heroin has had on too many families, including my own and have an obligation to tell the story as I see it.

I grew up in rural North Dakota and graduated high school from a town call Ellendale. It has a population around 2,000 and is situated in the south central part of the state, about 5 miles north of the South Dakota line. The town is not that much different from Ellendale Delaware (population 300 and change) not a bad place to grow up. I will be honest, back in the 70’s, while in high school I experimented with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. I smoked marijuana a couple times a week and it would be impossible to quantify all the beer we used to drink. My junior and senior years I managed to get suspended for 6 weeks from representing the school in public events for smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. At the same time, I also lettered in track, football, and basketball, participated in choir and theater, and managed to graduate with average grades. After high school, while in my early 20’s, I graduated to speed (methamphetamine), cocaine, and at a party one night in 1983 someone slipped me LSD. My high school experience may have influenced, but not define my life, I was able to makes bad decisions and recover. As I reflect on the events of my life, I recognize one or two more bad decisions would lead to a very different journey.

My senior year the theater class presented a one-act play written in 1951 by Maryat Lee called Dope. It was the story of a young man (Louie) who was addicted to heroin. During the course of the production, he sees his younger sister follow his example. In an attempt to break free, he confronts his dealer (Porse) and is killed. As you can imagine in the spring of 1980 in Ellendale ND, this was not well received by the parents in the community. It was a dark subject about something that happens in the city. Part of the mythology about heroin proclaims it is an urban drug, the addicts are older, and it required the users to use a needle as the instrument to get high. It was not something that the small town needed to worry about. To tell the truth I never gave the play or the drug much thought for many years. In fact, a couple of decades had past when I was looking at my yearbook and saw pictures of the play that I recalled the theatrical production.

What drew me back to this particular play was the skillful manner Ms. Lee highlights the lies, deceptions, and dangers of heroin use. The language of the piece was different, a reflection of the time, but the meaning is still clear. In this scene, we find Louie talking with two of his friends who are interested in trying heroine.

Marc. You ask him.

Hum. (Pushes Marc toward Louie, then Marc gets around and pushes Hum, then:) Hey Louie—is that pot that lifts you up?

Louie. Pot? (Smiles.) Come on man, where you been at? I got a bigger kick than that, man.

Marc. See? What I told you horse!

Louie. (Lovingly.) Junk, yeah. It whirls you. It—(breaks off.) Hey—get in the wind, will you man.

Marc and Hum, who you learn later in the play are under 18, try to use Louie as their gateway to the drug. Louie is known to them, he is older, and represents someone they trust. Here is a point where fiction is reflecting reality; the user is often introduced to the drug by someone he/she knows.

In addition, the scene speaks directly to a commonly held belief that heroin is an old person’s drug. A myth, which is easily dispelled when you look at the statistics concerning usage, in Delaware 18-24 years old make up 27% of heroin users admitted into publicly funded facilities in 2012.
Figure 3

In addition, the scene speaks directly to a commonly held belief that heroin is an old person’s drug. A myth, which is easily dispelled when you look at the statistics concerning usage, in Delaware 18-24 year olds make up 27% of heroin users admitted into publicly funded facilities in 2012.

In the play heroin is referred to as Horse, Junk or Dope; a simple internet search will reveal greater number of names currently being used. According to a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) fact sheet it goes by Big H, Black Tar, Chiva, Hell Dust, Horse, Negra, Smack, and Thunder. (DEA) It seems each generation has to put their own spin on the drug, as if changing the name somehow changes the effect or impact. Even though the label used has gone through several mutations over time, the basic elements and mythology of the disease remains the same. The things that have changed are the purity of the drug, and methods of ingestion, while receiving the most intense effect possible.

So let us fast-forward 45 years from 1980 to 2015, to my life in a small town just south of Dover, Delaware. When looking at the population and distribution of services Delaware is normally divided into New Castle County in the north and Kent and Sussex Counties are lumped together in the south. New Castle has 60% of the population crammed in into a small urban area and is situated in between two major metropolitan areas; Philadelphia and Baltimore. In late 2014, New Castle County was identified as a high intensity drug trafficking area, which qualifies it for an increase in Federal funds for law enforcement. It was believed, until recently, the problems of the city had not followed Highway 1 (Figure 3) south over the Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal to the smaller towns. For many years, there was a quiet complacency about the growing drug problem in the southern part of the state. So much so that in 2009, Governor Markel’s administration, as a cost saving measure closed the detoxification center in Ellendale, Delaware, which was the only publically funded facility to provide services to both Kent and Sussex Counties.

Autobiography Of A Ufo Contactee

This blog is dedicated to Agua Marina, a mermaid from Barcelona who floated mysteriously to Tyneside via the Russell Group current. The gods had given her a hole in the heart. It was incredible. She could have been an X Man. (But she decided to do medicine instead as although the unemployment rate for doctors in Spain is high, it is not as high as it is for X-Men)

My Father (Messidor 2011)

Twenty years ago, I was diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia. A series of experiences with a crystal pendulum had led me to conclude that beings from another star were in telepathic contact with me. I know what you’re thinking. Crystals. Don’t get me wrong. I hate all that wibbly-wobbly stuff myself. My favourite on this is Sir Patrick Moore, whose BBC TV programme for amateur astronomers “The Sky At Night”, has been going since 1957. With his ill-fitting suit, bushy eyebrows and unkempt hair, he is the archetypal eccentric boffin. He is also a fantastic materialist scientist of the old school. Whenever he mentions the word “astrology”, his lip quivers with a repressed contempt that is very satisfying for those of us who remember Linda Goodman’s “Sun Signs”. But the events that I experienced were logical and scientifically plausible. Put it this way: it works just as well with any weight on the end of a bit of string.

It was my father who introduced me to The Sky At Night, in the early nineteen-sixties. It was an optimistic era. Moore often used to point out that amateur astronomers were still contributing to original astronomical research. There was a tribute to this in my Open University Astronomy coursebook on variable stars. It is a page of the records of the Association of Amateur Variable Star Observers,showing the variation in luminosity of a variable star over a period of about a hundred years. (I know. They should have got out more.). The luminosity is constant for a period of weeks then there is sudden flare-up which persists for a similar period. Then there is a rapid decline in brightness back to the baseline level. It looks like a quantum function: the classic Dirac delta wave. (I know. I should get out more.)

But of course since the War, the professionals have taken over in astronomy like they have done in everything else. There’s some provincial resistance. I attended a lecture here at the Newcastle Astronomical Society a few years ago and they were still arguing about the existence of polarised light. That’s why I have to get to Paris. It’s so provincial here in Newcastle. It was a mistake to try and live here,

Incidentally, I’m not frightened of the aliens that are in telepathic contact with me. There’s a recent British science-fiction movie called “Attack The Block!” that follows the usual route of having aliens that appear to be somewhere between dogs and monkeys on the evolutionary scale and yet who have somehow perfected the art of interstellar travel. I think it’s probably reasonable to conclude that if they have achieved star travel, they will be morally more evolved too. Possibly even world government and global social security.

How does the crystal work? Well you CAN try it at home. Put any weight on any bit of string and ask it questions. It swings clockwise for yes, anti-clockwise for no. Eventually, you might,as I did, ask if you’re speaking to aliens. You may then, as I did, feel the aliens moving your arm that is moving your hand that is moving the crystal so that you realise they are acting through your brain. You may then hear, as I did, a chorus of voices, saying “Can you hear us, Mick?”. You may then ..er..are you still with me?

The contact is 24/7/365. At first I tried to convince everyone I was right. I told my friends, the medical authorities, my wife, the girl I was trying to get off with, everyone. As a result, I found myself living on incapacity benefit on a South London housing estate. Funnily enough, the aliens in “Attack The Block!” invade a South London housing estate. Indeed, when the aliens invaded, I was the only person in the cinema who cheered.

Anyway, 20 years later and I’m still not a George King Aetherius Society-style guru with millions of adoring female fans. At the time the aliens introduced themselves to me, I was a writer. I had specifically become a writer for the profound reason that it would be a good chat-up line for girls at parties To put it bluntly, telling them you’re a ufo contactee, doesn’t have the same effect. Not that I can even go out and look for a girl, here in Newcastle. It may be a party city for some but for me, within five minutes I’m being confronted by the Bigg Market Hairy Palms Brigade, on their night out in the “Toon”, looking like the Andrew Weatherall remix of “Deliverance”. Even on the rare occasions I thought I was in with a chance of pulling, I’m looking over my shoulder for the boyfriend. I’m now 59 and on my own. Well, la vie en couple. It’s a bit of a cliché anyway, isn’t it?

In Paris it’s different. I can be an exiled contactee there and who knows what might happen. I reckon that if Cheryl Cole can make it in the US, I can make it in Paris. True, I’m not young and beautiful like Cheryl Cole but I’m a bloke so that doesn’t matter. Admittedly, the recent arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn over allegations of a New York chambermaid set me back but he’s been released now.

But what’s all this quixotic talk about getting to Paris as if I was some sort of upmarket version of Pinter’s “The Caretaker”? I’ve been on incapacity benefit for twenty years and haven’t got two mung beans to rub together. Well, I’ve had a stroke of luck. My father has died. That sounds terrible and I did love my dad but I’ve inherited some money,

He died just before last Christmas. One of his favourite jokes was the one about the patient who goes to see the doctor and the doctor tells them they are fine but not to start reading any long novels. I wonder if the last time my dad saw his doctor, the doctor told him he was fine but not to buy any Christmas presents.

Alright. How much did I inherit? A million? A hundred million with which I can buy a yacht and hang out with Bono and Sting?

£27,000.

Messidor, Vesce, L’Appartement a Paris.

Funnily enough, one of my biggest enemies is a News International journalist. Pat Kane. Some time back in the early mid-nineties, in his Times or maybe it was Sunday Times TV review, he referred to what he called “the gentle but flaky world of the ufo contactee”. It wasn’t just that we were mistaken, we had practically committed a fashion error. Before he had been a TV columnist, Kane had been a vocalist in a pop band. Like Bono. Or Sting. It’s all about image you see? The image of the contactee is that of a community care patient. Indeed that is what I am. Because I honestly believe beings from another star are in telepathic contact with me, I get incapacity benefit. It’s not as if I had to hold up a bible and swear that I believed that extraterrestrials were in telepathic contact with me. That was simply the diagnosis of the psychiatrists at the Institute of Psychiatry in Camberwell. To back them up, they had a scan of my brain that showed the asymmetry in the basal ganglia of my brain which is characteristic of 99% of schizophrenics.

At the time the aliens made contact, I had a job as an Agency residential senior social worker and was a regular writer with cult BBC radio satire show, “Week Ending”. I had just written a sketch for Week Ending that had been used instead of one by Rob Newman and Dave Baddiel. Around that time, my American contactee counterpart “Simply Fred” had just won the “Boston All-Comers” comedy competition. Jim Carrey had been one of the other comics in the competition. Then one night, simply Fred had been driving along the freeway when he was, he claims, abducted by a spaceship. It ruined his career. No-one would book him as a comedian any more. I could claim millions in compensation. (As long as I don’t have to have Jim Carrey’s eyebrows.)

Master Teacher of African History-Prof. John Henrik Clarke: African’s Survival From Antiquity To Beyond The 21st Century

The Master Teacher and His Lessons And Lectures

The “ERUDITE” Dr./Prof. John Henrik Clarke

Learning To Read And Write African History

What I have learned thus far about African history is that I am still trying to be half of what the Master Teachers were up to the point of writing this Hub. What I am saying is that, as a student and writer of African history, I am still a student of African history who is still learning how to read and write African history, originate and compose the history of African people as I have learnt from the Master Teachers, of which I will be trying to write about, also attempt to compose and rewrite South African African History. The Master Teachers all had one thing in common, they read and wrote a lot-in addition to that, they gave lectures and travelled all over the world lecturing and collecting, or as Prof. Clarke said he and Prof. Jackson would be “Hunting”” for books in old used book stores, libraries and so forth throughout the world.

Even in the lectures below, Prof. Clarke cites some books and writers and in a direct way by encouraging listeners the way he tells and asks the audience that he knows that they have not ‘read’ the books he is talking about-and confirms it by asking them the question and receives embarrassed giggles and inaudible sounds or nervous stifled laughs-but in the end encouraging them to try to get the books he was giving/telling them about. This is the real problem that he was faced with in as he states this in his lectures – the fact that most of them did not do the necessary and ‘deep reading’ in order for them or us to be able to deal with African History.

From the challenges issued by Dr. Clarke that Africans should write their own history and not expect that the former oppressor will write it for Africans-he exhorts his listeners to read and write their own story through history; I have tried to heed to their clarion call: writing and composing African history from an African-centered perspective. On the face of it, it sounds reasonable and a good idea. Doing it is another matter when one begins to listen to Clarke in his lectures and the references he doles out with such ease, that in the end it becomes very intimidating and a huge task. The proficiency, efficiency and intellectual vastness of his lectures, writing and speeches defy and dwarf any effort one was going to have in writing anything clear, compact and choc-full of information and data.

when one attempts to write about the Historian’s lessons and lectures about African history, and formulate or write the history one has learnt from schools or from the Master teachers themselves-it becomes apparent what a huge task and undertaking it is. I will not use all the tapes that there are about his lectures; and there are still those lectures that he recorded whenever he lectured over the decades as a professor and African historian-which if ever transcribed, hold a wealth of information and more references. He had a very deep personal library of rare books, manuscripts and audio files along with video/films. A bit of mention about his greatness and the libraries that have been named after him, and the Web sites will be in order here to pay tribute to a man who read and encouraged African people to read and write.

History of the John Hendrik Clarke african Library

John Henrik Clarke
(1915-1998)

– In 1986, the Africana Library was named in honor of John Henrik Clarke, who was widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of Africana Studies. Dr. Clarke played an important role in the early history of Cornell University’s Africana Studies & Research Center. He was a Distinguished Visiting Professor of African History at the Center in the 1970s. He also made an invaluable contribution to the establishment of its curricula.

– Dr. Clarke is the author of numerous articles that have appeared in leading scholarly journals. He also served as the author, contributor, or editor of 24 books. In 1968 along with the Black Caucus of the African Studies Association, Dr. Clarke founded the African Heritage Studies Association. In 1969 he was appointed as the founding chairman of the Black and Puerto Rican Studies Department at Hunter College in New York City.

– Dr. Clarke was most known and highly regarded for his lifelong devotion to studying and documenting the histories and contributions of African peoples in Africa and the Diaspora.

– Dr. Clarke is often quoted as stating that “History is not everything, but it is a starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are, but more importantly, what they must be.”

– The John Henrik Clarke Africana Library is a special library located within Cornell University’s Africana Studies and Research Center. The library is one of nineteen units of the University Library system, and offers a full range of services. Its collection of volumes focuses on the social and political dimensions of the history and culture of peoples of African ancestry. It supports the curriculum of the Africana Studies and Research Center and sustained, independent study.

Included here are basic books, complete collections of works of important writers, and highly selective research materials that complement the collections housed in Cornell University’s research libraries. The Africana Library’s documentation collection contains valuable primary source materials, including copies of rare monographs, manuscripts, newspapers, and journal publications on microfilm and microfiche. Those resources focus on especially important material on the American civil rights and Black Power movements.

– The Africana Center was founded in 1969 following black student protests on the Cornell Campus. One notable event involved black students depositing hundreds of books at the undergraduate library circulation desk and denouncing them as irrelevant to their experiences. Historically, the faculty of the Africana Studies and Research Center has always had a strong commitment towards maintaining its own library. The Africana Center included a library when it was first established. Later, after its building was destroyed by arsonists (April 1, 1970), it garnered funds from the university and local community to replace materials lost from its library collection. Once it relocated to its present site the library was prominently established near the building’s entrance.

– In the late 1970s there was heated debate on campus about relocating the Africana Center once more. Because it’s location was some distance away from central campus (approximately 20 minutes walking time) and many of its courses were taught at the Center, some considered the Africana Studies program too segregated. A number of more central locations were proposed for relocation. In the end these were rejected because they entailed substantial reductions in space. Ultimately, the Center’s fledgling library benefited from this consequence. A reduction in space would have affected collection size and overall growth.

– During 1984-85 the Africana Center and University Library reached an agreement to transfer the library administratively to the University Library. Faculty of the Africana Studies & Research Center named the library in honor of Dr. John Henrik Clarke during the summer of 1985. As a distinguished historian, Dr. Clarke was instrumental in establishing the Africana Center’s curriculum in the 1970s and taught courses in black history at Cornell.

Several years later, in 1990, the Africana Center and University Library collaborated to raise $50,000 to renovate the library’s space and enhance the overall level of service. The John Henrik Clarke Africana Library now occupies most of the lower level of the Africana Center’s three-story building. A third of this space is shared with a graduate student lounge and a computer lab. All of the library’s holdings are included in the University Library’s online catalog, and the Africana Library itself houses several online catalog terminals, a circulation terminal, CD-ROM and various audio-visual equipment, and has access to numerous locally networked bibliographic databases.

Featured Web Sites About John Henrik Clarke:

The John Hendrik Clarke Virtual Museum
In Memory of John Hendrik Clarke (Hunter College) Schomburg Legacy Exhibition: John Hendrik Clarke Section
John Hendrik Clarke Bibliographies (Cornell University)
John Hendrik Clarke Resources(Runoko Rashidi)
Information on Film, John Hendrik Clarke: A Great & Mighty Walk

(Black Caucus of the ALA Newsletter, vol. XXIV, No. 5 (April, 1996), p. 11.)

I set out to compose an article on the suggestions he touches upon and repeatedly states that we need to read and write our own history. The confusion that is apparent today in South Africa, is because Africans either write their books with the collaboration of Whites, and do not yet produce that kind of historical reading that can be easily read by the population they are writing that history-without any collaboration of White people.

Whenever one listens to Clarke’s lectures and lessons, he is always giving the listeners references as to what to read concerning what he is speaking about. He was simply a walking African History library. He always stressed and encouraged the listeners or students to read, and would give a bit about every book or writer or stories or characters/dates of the books he was recommending. I have given a bit about his libraries in memory of the fact that he himself was a walking library, bibliography and encyclopedia of African Historiography, History books and authors with themes that pertained to African history and made efforts at trying to make it much more understandable and easy to get, for those who were listening to his lessons or lectures, and even on his videos, he still does the same thing: give a reference(s) of books that should be consulted by the listener or students to further their own understanding of that part of history he might have been talking about during a lecture or lesson, especially in his YouTube videos, liberally yet extensively posted below for anyone interested to listen to and pick up whatever they want from Clarke.

The piece above about his libraries, are in part my way of acknowledging this aspect of Prof. Clarke: that of consistently and constantly giving names and books that can be consulted for further reading and understanding of the lectures he was giving. And, by the way, these were and rare and hard to find books, but could trace them if one “Hunted” seriously in any old used book stores, as advised by Clarke when he was talking about himself and Jackson, hanging out, discussing, and “Hunting” for books in old and used bookstores; libraries and the web too have most of the books he recommended. This Hub is in part honoring a great African History scholar, and my own paltry efforts in writing and showing the relevance of his lectures to the African history of South Africa, by attempting to compose and rewrite African South African history from an African Centered Perspective.

Getting In Line With The Obligations Of Posting A Labor Law Poster

It happens that employees just pass by it, simply ignoring the labor law poster that has been put up at their workplace to be viewed by them everyday. This is an exercise that should be carried out by the employees on a daily basis, but alas! They fail to do so, either by being a prey to negligence, or they are too busy to notice anything that comes in their way. Actually, in the whole state of California, the California labor law poster is that one document posted on the bulletin board of the workplace in all small and big business units which spell out the rights and responsibilities of the employees coming under the state and the federal laws. These are those omnipresent yet ignored bulletin boards where the labor law posters have been put up by the business units to be unambiguous in their dealings.

The laws and legislations that have been reinforced by the state and the federal governments impose a good number of constraints on the businesses that are conducted in whole of America and especially in the state of California. However, the most ignored obligation stands to be of posting a labor law poster in the workplace or in simpler words a California labor law poster at the workplace in the business unit. The main objective behind putting up these posters at the workplace is to inform the employees about their rights and responsibilities that they need to cater to and how to make contact with state government in case they wish to report any kind of discrimination, violation of some kind of right, or for reporting for issues like these.

Being an employer you would be aware of the number of routine obligations like posting a labor law poster that would have been reinforced on the business you are conducting by a number of law agencies working in the state of California. Being concerned about the obligation of posting a California labor law posture would stand to be the most mediocre one for most of the employers in California. However, to safeguard the interests of the employees it is important to post one as such has been made clear in labor laws stated by the state of California.

Understanding How Osha Protects Union And Nonunion Members

There are many work-related injuries that occur each and every day. There are many organizations who strive to prevent as many of these debilitating and fatal incidents including OSHA and unions such as the Steel Workers Association in Roseville, CA, and other such organized union groups. It is important to understand how organizations such as OSHA help make the workplace a safer environment for all.

What Is OSHA?

OSHA is a government regulatory agency created in 1971 after Congress drafted and passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act on the 29th of December 1970 under the direction of then-President Richard Nixon. The role of OSHA is to aid employers and employees in the reduction of on-the-job injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Since OSHA’s creation, the incidences of workplace fatalities has been reduced by 60%, and there has been a reduction of illness and injuries on the job by 40%.

Accomplishing Safety

OSHA accomplishes greater workplace safety by generating workplace safety regulations for varying types of workplace industries. You can find OSHA regulations at every jobsite, from building and construction sites to hospital labs and computer-based companies. Each regulation helps keep employees safe by implementing training and work conditions.

The employers also benefit from the safety standards set by seeing a reduced payout for workers’ compensation and medical benefits, lower employee turnover rate, and decreased cost for overtime. These safety standards are accomplished through the following means:

• Education–Allowing employers and employees the means to educate all about safety standards

• Enforcement–Conducting routine safety inspections

• Cooperation–Creation of voluntary programs for outreach and assistance

Are There Exemptions?

While many workplaces are covered under OSHA rules and regulations or a state-approved and -run OSHA program, there are specific situations where a given company or entity is not under the OSHA umbrella. These exemptions may include the following:

• If you are self-employed

• Farm employees who are immediate family members of the farm owner, where outside employees are not utilized

• Federal agencies where a health and safety program is already implemented

• State and local government employees where safety programs are already enforced

Inspections

While it is the employer’s responsibility to enforce the safety rules and regulations, OSHA conducts thousands of inspections yearly to ensure proper compliance. OSHA has a tiered approach to inspections and visits, placed in the following importance:

1. Reported imminent threat of fatality or serious injury or illness about to happen

2. Reported threat of fatality, injury or illness where at least 3 or more workers will be sent to the hospital

3. Employee complaints

4. Government agency referrals

5. Targeted inspections (where employee injuries have been high)

6. Follow-up inspections

OSHA and Unions

OSHA and unions work together to enforce workplace safety and place the safety of employees above all else. Union representatives have the ability to accompany OSHA inspectors and compliance officers during the facility and site inspections.

Additionally, in April of 2013, OSHA released a interpretation letter stating that where a collective bargaining agreement is not present a nonunion employee may select a unionized representative to accompany OSHA during the inspection. Additionally, unions have historically had a hand in helping create these workplace safety laws and ensuring that the laws are not just “paper laws”.

As you can imagine, it is difficult to ensure proper compliance by all companies within the United States. Unions like the Steel Workers Association in Roseville, CA, and other unionized workplaces create an environment where employees have the backing needed to raise a voice of concern without fear of retaliation. While unions best help ensure workplace safety for those employees who are within a collective bargaining unit, unions help make all workplaces safer for employees.

Safe Credit Union Employees Embrace Better Workgroups System

“Better WorkGroups is a very intuitive system that has really helped keep our member requests on track.” Mary Vogan, AVP of Share Services at SAFE CU

When it comes to handling member service requests quickly and efficiently, experts agree that close collaboration between front line employees and back office employees is critical. The back office workers need all of the pertinent information about the member’s request right from the start, or the handling and ultimate resolution of the issue can be delayed. Sacramento-based SAFE Credit Union is one credit union that has tackled this problem head on by implementing a state-of-the-art system for managing member contacts with their roll out of Better WorkGroups from San Francisco-based Better Branches.

The success of the Better WorkGroups program is perhaps best evidenced by the rapid adoption by SAFE’s hundreds of employees who are spread across numerous departments. The numbers are quite impressive: 26,700 member requests were handled in Better WorkGroups in 2006, as compared to a mere 2,300 in the previous system two years before! Mary Vogan, Assistant Vice President of Share Services at SAFE CU, confirms that “Better WorkGroups is a very intuitive system that has really helped keep our member requests on track.” Some of the departments within the credit union that have embraced the system include: the Internet Services Team which handles online banking, bill payment and funds transfers questions; the Loan Support Team which handles credit card disputes and collections; the Loss Prevention Team which is responsible for ATM/credit/debit card fraud and check encoding errors; the Central Processing Team which works with ACH and ATM deposits; and the Service Support Team which handles dividends and tax issues.

No matter which group receives the member’s request for assistance, speed is of the essence in resolving it. According to Christina Chappell, Loss Prevention Fraud Analyst at the credit union, “our members benefit from the Better WorkGroups system because their requests are now processed more quickly. Many of our departments have been able to cut down request processing time from 72 hours to 24 – 36 hours.” SAFE Credit Union recognizes that any member request for assistance actually represents a good opportunity to connect with their members and build trust and loyalty. The Better WorkGroups system is specifically designed to provide excellent member service, for example, it pops up task-specific questions to ensure that employees are following a standardized procedure when gathering information from members. Based on their responses, the work flow automation system will launch step by step work flows that will make certain that the proper information is gathered and routed to the appropriate departments.

There is an old saying that states “you can’t manage what you can’t monitor.” Better WorkGroups is the platform that SAFE Credit Union has chosen to address this age old issue. Chappell points out that “events can be easily tracked within Better WorkGroups. For our front line employees, if a member questions the status of his or her request, any employee can easily check the status by searching the member’s account and reviewing the notes related to the event.” Vogan adds that “Better WorkGroups really streamlines our processes. We are reaping the benefits of having a system-directed events platform in place.” Chappell agrees and emphasizes that “we are able to view a task history and instantly see the due date or time for each task. This helps us to know if we are running late with a particular task.” In other words, nothing slips through the cracks because the system knows where to automatically send requests and how to track them end to end in a timely manner.

As much as the credit union is currently utilizing the system, there is much more ahead. Vogan notes that “we will be using Better WorkGroups in our branch network in 2007. It will be a retail tool that will allow us to track sales at the branch level.” She concludes that “both our employees and senior management team believe the system is really beneficial. It is still evolving, and it has lots of capabilities and potential to help us provide great member service.”

Why “Occupy Wall Street” Matters

Taking it to the streets. What began with dozens of ne’er-do-wells on Constitution Day (September 17th) is now a multi-continent event. With the “Day of Rage” on October 15th we witnessed thousands in the streets across Europe, and thousands more at home. In Rome, the demonstrators assaulted police and private property with bricks and stones, causing police to respond with tear gas and water cannons. Some groups of demonstrators in Germany were masked and carrying clubs – their purpose clearly not a peaceful protest.

In New York, “Occupy Wall Street” morphed into a march on Times Square. Many thousands of students, union members and their ‘paid for protesters’, the unemployed and a smattering of ‘professional demonstrators’, anarchists, and even Ron Paul supporters added their voices to the cause – or causes. And, perhaps not coincidentally, Reverend Al Sharpton and his National Action Network (NAN) held their “Jobs and Justice” rally and march in Washington, D.C. the same day. Co-sponsors and affiliated groups included AFSCME (the government employees union), SEIU, AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood, and the NEA (the powerful teachers union), among others.

The media has been frenzied for weeks, each laboring to put a label on the demonstrators and trying to discern their message and future direction. But the crowds and their varied interests and causes seem to confound definition.

However, the seeds of OWS, brainchild of AdBusters, a Vancouver based not for profit activist group, were sown months ago by founders Kalle Lasn and Bill Schmalz.

But to what purpose or end did they make this call to action? Looking to their foundation’s mission statement is perhaps instructive:

“We are a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age. Our aim is to topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we will live in the 21st century.” (AdBusters Media Foundation, emphasis mine)

AdBusters was founded in 1989 and boasts a circulation of 120,000 for its bi-monthly magazine. Its international editions span Australia, Sweden, France, Norway and Japan. Community organizers going global, I guess. But these are serious, creative, thoughtful people who have gained a significant following both in North America and abroad.

That last sentence no doubt caught your attention as it did mine, “Our aim is to topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we live in the 21st century”. To me, it sounded a lot like Mr. Obama’s pre-inaugural warning (or promise), “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States…”

Statements like these give me pause. Toppling existing power structures or fundamentally transforming a nation seem to line up well with the Occupy Wall Street messaging.

Over the past several weeks I have watched hours of livestream video, seen many “occupiers on the street” interviews, and have read countless tweets sent to and from protesters in New York and elsewhere. Together they have forged a montage of revolution in the making – an anti-capitalist rebellion. And while their numbers are not yet significant, their reach and influence is becoming so as the media laps up every action and nuance.

The 99%, as they call themselves, have at least one common theme, their hatred and distrust of the big banks and brokerages. Many among them extend these feelings to multi-national corporations and the rich (the 1%), in general, and some to the corporate/government cronyism.

What brought each individual to New York and elsewhere, though, spans the ridiculous to the sublime. Many are university students or graduates calling for forgiveness of their student loans. Many there are demanding jobs, or a “living wage”, or an end to foreclosures, or free anything and everything. And there are those who just want to stick it to the rich, either through higher taxes or through confiscation. And some are there because they just don’t know where else to turn.

It is a shame really, that because so many of the participants are such ultra fringe, that some reasonable complaints and cases of real suffering are lost due to the messaging and messengers. We are indeed in a world of hurt in this country. The OWS crowd view capitalism, big banks, and corporate greed as the cause. Unfortunately, we are what we teach. For decades, our students have been fed a steady stream of Progressive thought. From grade school through the universities, we are beginning to see that a different set of values and a corrupted view of our history and principles is being taught and cemented in the minds of our youth.

This worldview is supported by much of the media and the Progressive leadership in Washington, D.C., not least our own President. When you consider each of the protesters concerns or complaints, it is easy to find examples of the same sentiments from Mr. Obama. Bank-bashing, talk of corporate greed, the haves and the have-nots, the millionaires and billionaires not paying their “fair share”, and a desire for equality of outcomes. With a presidency that began with a worldwide apology tour, Mr. Obama has railed against almost every major industry in the United States, faulting big pharma, big oil, big insurance, big banks and others for our economic malaise. With his redistributionist philosophy and anti-capitalist rhetoric, is it any wonder that these people are now in the streets echoing this mantra?

Many others in academia, government and media have added their voices to the chorus. The aforementioned Reverend Sharpton made this statement on Tom Joyner’s Morning Show, “We cannot sleep through the revolution…because those students, those young people that started a movement that’s now spread over the country are right about the distribution of wealth and the 1% controlling the country.”

MSNBC analyst Donny Deutsch recently spoke about the “clarifying moment” of the 1960s movement and “its most stirring image” – Kent State. He almost seemed to yearn for “a climax moment of class warfare somehow played out on screen that articulates the clash.”

Illinois State Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. in a press interview this week called on the President to “declare a national emergency” and “take extra-constitutional action administratively” and have the Federal Government directly hire the 15 million unemployed at an average salary of $40,000. He also called on the President to erase state and local government debt.

Arun Gupta, Editor of New York’s Indypendent News, a part of IMC, was interviewed this week at OWS and was asked about the Occupied Wall Street Journal, the newspaper that quickly appeared on the streets of New York. His answer as to how it came into being – it was a group effort, a coming together of Naomi Klein (linked to AdBusters), Code Pink, Michael Moore and Anonymous, among others. Gupta’s organization, IMC, has been a beneficiary over the years from George Soros’ Tides Foundation and Open Society Institute ($376,000 in grants). His characterization of the movement – “this is a social media revolution…global capitalism is the problem”.

Seemingly echoing the thoughts of Jesse Jackson, Jr., Mr. Obama, speaking of his frustration with Congress and his “Jobs Bill”, said this, “But we’re not going to wait for Congress…I’ve instructed (jobs council members)…to scour every corner and identify all those areas where we can act administratively without additional Congressional authority, and just get it done.”

And then there is Van Jones, president of the “Rebuild the Dream” group, and former White House Green Jobs Czar, who has put together a coalition of more than 70 progressive, union, and socialist organizations. Their goals mirror FDR’s infamous Second Bill of Rights. Van Jones appears near daily on one or another liberal talk show expressing his support and solidarity with those occupying Wall Street and speaking of his “Progressive fight back”.

Similar expressions of support and solidarity with the cause have been heard from Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (head of the DNC) and many other Democrat legislators, all yearning for their version of the Tea Party.

It is clear to see that all the “usual suspects” are circling the wagons with the OWS crowd. Coupling these far flung groups and organizations, pundits, politicians and union leaders, I am reminded of the Madison, Wisconsin movement earlier this year, only on a much grander scale. Notably and thankfully, to date, both the OWS protesters and the police have shown restraint and violent behavior and property damage have been minimal. I pray it remains that way. Make no mistake, though, the likes of Donny Deutsch are many, pining for that “climax moment”, that Kent State event, to stir the masses and define the movement.

Occupy Wall Street is the culmination of a deteriorating economy, widespread fear and frustration, and a convoluted and misunderstood or mischaracterized cause and effect view. This movement is sure to have some legs with the widespread support of the aforementioned parties and a potent, progressive media endeared to the causes.

On one thing I agree with Donny Deutsch. He has wrapped up the OWS group cause as leading to a call for corporate social responsibility – a nice sounding term. But behind it, effectively he is seeking a socialist/fascist political system that will hold major businesses under the thumb of the Federal Government, governing hiring, wage, and employment practices.

In recent weeks and months, we have witnessed the NLRB dictating to Boeing (our largest exporter), we have seen Dick Durbin on the Senate floor calling on Bank of America customers to run on the bank, and we have heard the relentless class warfare rhetoric from our President. Is there any doubt as to the direction we are moving as a country?

Nikolai Lenin, founder of modern Communism, told us long ago, “give me your children for four years, and the seed I plant will never be uprooted.” Supported by our liberal media and dumb-downed by our schools, our children and young adults have bought the socialist view hook, line and sinker. They have been weaned on “The Story of Stuff” and “the Rainbow Fish”, then steered in our institutions of “higher learning” by the likes of Bill Ayres, Bernadine Dorn, Frances Fox Piven and Ward Churchill. Lenin only required four years. Remember the Nazi youth? We have given over our children for a generation or more.

As I wrote earlier, we are what we teach. Occupy Wall Street is simply the latest manifestation of our education system, our failure to teach our American history, values and principles. The underpinnings of our civilization have been lost. Our Founders knew their experiment in self-government and individual could only exist with a moral and educated people. We are failing on both counts.

We see the results in the lack of personal responsibility, the moral degradation in our society, the decay of the traditional family unit, and the gangrenous infection that has gripped the government/big business complex.

The Occupy Wall Street crowd has rightly identified some of the symptoms of our decaying society. Now we need to attack, with vengeance, the real disease.

I am saddened by what I see occurring in our country and by the stresses and heartaches felt by so many families and individuals across America. Many feel helpless, hopeless and angry. Few families in America have been left untouched. For those who, through no fault of their own, have lost jobs or homes, or have seen their savings devastated, one cannot help but be moved. There are some demonstrating on Wall Street that fall into this group, and their frustration and anger is warranted, though partly misdirected.

If the jobs, debt, and economic crisis weren’t enough to face, we also clearly have an enormous deficit in education and values. These deficits are evident with many protesters on Wall Street, and for that matter, in the halls of Congress. There is no understanding of very basic economics, no understanding of business – how it works and the benefits that accrue to all through their success. Our core values of faith, family, hard work and personal responsibility have been undermined, forgotten or ignored.

Occupy Wall Street may be a small, forgotten footnote a decade from now, or it may turn out to be the tipping point for America, defining our next generations. Which it will be, I can’t foretell. But as with the rise of the Tea Party and 9/12 movement, and now OWS, it is clear America is grappling with a momentous decision. Will we restore the Founders vision of America or will we fully embrace the Progressive/Socialist vision? Again, no crystal ball. But I will pray for the former.

Corporate Wellness Programs Open Doors to Integrative Therapies

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) website lists over 600 specific alternative therapies. According to Ken Pelletier, PhD, MD (Professor of Public Health, University of Arizona School of Medicine), “When I hear someone in a workplace wellness program say alternative therapies don’t work, I ask: ‘Which therapies, for what conditions, in what populations, and in what situations?’ It really depends on what you are talking about. Then there are people who say, ‘If it’s natural, it must be OK.’ But look at that list of over 600 therapies. A significant number carry a very real potential to do harm.”

Ken has extensively reviewed complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) studies from around the world. “Because of where I work, my research must conform to a standard of best possible evidence as seen in randomized clinical trials. But there are a number of potentially important therapies and interventions that simply don’t lend themselves to that type of analysis.”

Often such studies lack the necessary documentation but still see excellent outcomes. Ken cautions corporate wellness practitioners against discounting such studies and recommends analyzing them using a 3-pronged triage-type approach:

Is there clear evidence from clinicians that the therapy works well in the patient’s situation?
What’s available in the literature and online showing what does not work?
What studies are underway that require us to simply wait and see?

As increasing numbers of CAM therapies gain acceptance in employee health programs, it becomes necessary to develop a common vocabulary. The term Integrative Medicine (IM) describes an evidence-based fusion of conventional and CAM practices. IM is not a physician-centric system — practitioners function in truly integrated or virtual systems with providers of diverse competencies. Together they form a clinical network where outcomes are enhanced from working together, rather than at odds with each other. These networks typically fall into 4 categories:

Freestanding IM clinics that house multiple disciplines
Family practice group with a virtual network of respected CAM practitioners for patient referrals
IM services affiliated within a hospital setting
Therapeutic disciplines offered through nonmedical settings like worksite health promotion programs, schools, extension programs, and even churches.

According to the 2007 National (US) Health Interview Survey of 23,393 adults and 9417 children ages 17 and under, 38% of adults and 12% of children use some form of CAM. This is reflected by the increasing numbers of health insurance plans that cover such CAM therapies as acupuncture, chiropractic care, naturopathy (in certain states), nutrition counseling, stress management, and behavioral medicine. Even vitamins/minerals, herbals, exercise equipment, books, videos, and fitness club memberships can be found as health plan benefits. Ken points out the reason: it’s what their corporate health and wellness customers want. “Although health plans increasingly counsel corporate clients on CAM coverage trends, the insurance industry is not the point of innovation here; it’s the purchaser. Larger companies form a purchasing coalition based on demands from employees and unions. If there is solid evidence behind the request, they balance the interest with legal issues, costs, and other practical considerations to determine what becomes part of a benefit package.”

High-tech industries took the lead in offering IM to corporate wellness audiences. Computer, telecommunication, banking/financial, airline/aerospace, petrochemical, and automotive employers know IM appeals to their highly educated, competitive employees… who tend to stay with their company for the long term. “These corporations look at their employees’ welfare as an investment. They want to preserve these assets and enhance their productivity on the job in every way possible. Because these industries are so competitive, IM therapies often become a recruitment and retention benefit.”

Even when a health plan can’t (or won’t) cover CAM, other workplace wellness programs have opened their doors to practitioners who provide onsite services. Ken is all for this. “Certain CAM providers are almost universally accepted now, but this is too new an area to know definitively what works. If a wellness program wants to offer aromatherapy in conjunction with a relaxation room, why not? I’ve seen Ayurvedic medicine in larger employee wellness programs along with traditional benefits, especially when there’s a significant Asian demographic. Fitness programs go beyond aerobics to include yoga and martial arts. If these services meet employee expectations and are done responsibly with employee cost-sharing, it’s a win-win proposition.”

Finding the Right Practitioners

The trend is toward outsourcing IM therapies, and corporate wellness purchasers must do their homework when selecting practitioners. Whittling down the field can be challenging; find out if the practitioner:

Carries appropriate licenses/credentialing
Is a member of any well respected professional associations and serves on any boards in their field
Graduated from a recognized school in their field
Has a successful record in providing the services required — demand measurements and outcomes that show evidence within a given period
Provides excellent references
Has a history of any lawsuits or complaints
Maintains a good reputation… ask around.

Planning the Program

Wellness program planners need to involve employees, unions, labor, and management in defining what is wanted. If they help develop specifications, it won’t be viewed as a union or management program… it will be their program. This minimizes problems with acceptance or disillusionment.

Next build a clear picture of the desired services and define specifications to practitioners. What will the chiropractor do for us? What will an acupuncture session look like? If pain is a cost center, what is the evidence that this therapy will reduce those claims and disability leaves?

A Bright Future Ahead

As Director of the Corporate Health Improvement Program (CHIP), a collaborative research program involving 15 Fortune 500 corporations, Ken has a unique perspective for IM’s future. “CHIP is 25 years old. Over that time, some of the first true IM models have been tested within member corporate wellness worksites. We meet twice a year with our corporate members to review the research. The data is extremely positive and the impact will permeate throughout the industries involved.”

“One of our members is Ford. Back pain was the single largest contributing cost to producing their cars. They had 24/7 clinic staff onsite to deal with back pain alone. We demonstrated that combining traditional medicine with acupuncture and mind/body therapies was more effective than traditional medicine alone.”

“When you can demonstrate a more cost-effective way to manage a condition, a company will be interested. They have no inherent bias; they just want evidence — and a vast amount of literature shows it. The return on investment runs from 3:1 to 5:1, taking about 3.25 years to see that ROI.”

Corporate wellness professionals can read Ken’s summary, “A Review and Analysis of the Clinical and Cost-Effectiveness Studies of Comprehensive Health Promotion and Disease Management Programs at the Worksite: Update VII. 2004-2008,” in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Volume 51, Number 7, July 2009.

Ken concludes, “Read the evidence. The literature is there to allow you to make informed choices. But be a Doubting Thomas. As researchers say, ‘In God we trust; all others must present data.’ Wellness program managers will find IM to be a sound business strategy… a tremendous investment in your population. They are worthy of that investment and they’ll reciprocate when they see you care.”

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6647528

TLC Marketing Worldwide takes home a Gold and Silver at this year’s POPAI Awards!

TLC Marketing Worldwide Africa is thrilled to announce a double win at the POPAI SA Awards which took place in Sandton last night. TLC Marketing took home a Gold award for their Absa Youth campaign in the All Services: Permanent & Temporary category. TLC was awarded a Silver award for the Namaqua Sweet Rose retail campaign in the FMCG – Tobacco & Liquor: Temporary Insight into Action category.
TLC Marketing Worldwide takes home a Gold and Silver at this year’s POPAI Awards!
The POPAI SA Awards recognises excellence in point-of-purchase advertising displays and instore communication activity produced and placed in South Africa. The awards cover 20 categories, including digital media in retail (DMiR) and is open to any designer or producer for point-of-purchase (POP) material. The entries are judged on a number of aspects, including marketing objectives and strategies, innovation, construction, use of retail space and communicative value.

Derek Miller, CEO of TLC Marketing, commented, ”We are delighted and honoured to have been recognised along with our clients for these campaigns in South Africa. We strive to bring a different look and feel to reward marketing and to be acknowledged by POPAI for our hard work is a credit to all employees within TLC.”

TLC has over 20 years’ experience in delivering successful campaigns ranging from loyalty platforms to consumer incentives by using intelligence from 14 international offices as part of the TLC Marketing Worldwide Group.

One tax rate today, tomorrow another?

Since the first version of the Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, 2016 (First Draft TLAB) and the Explanatory Memorandum thereto (Memorandum) were released on 8 July 2016, the proposed amendments applicable to trusts and employee share schemes received most of the attention.
One tax rate today, tomorrow another?
© Andriy Popov – 123RF.com
However, another proposed amendment with potentially far-reaching consequences that has received little attention since the release of the First Draft TLAB is one which could lead to a taxpayer paying tax at one rate today and another rate tomorrow, as and when the Minister of Finance (Minister) says so.

The proposed amendment

In terms of the First Draft TLAB, it was proposed that the Minister would have the power to amend the tax rates applicable in terms of various pieces of legislation, simply by announcing the amendment in the annual national budget speech. Furthermore, this amended rate would come into effect from the date announced by the Minister in the budget speech and will continue to apply for a period of 12 months from that date, unless Parliament passes legislation giving effect to that announcement within that 12-month period.

A similar amendment was already made to the Transfer Duty Act, No 40 of 1949, but was now proposed with respect to the following pieces of legislation:

Income Tax Act, No 58 of 1962;
Estate Duty Act, No 45 of 1955;
Value-Added Tax Act, No 89 of 1991 (VAT Act);
Skills Development Levies Act, No 9 of 1999 (SDL Act);
Securities Transfer Tax Act, No 25 of 2007;
Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act, No 4 of 2002 (UIC Act); and
Mineral and Petroleum Resources Royalty Act, No 28 of 2008.

Issues raised and National Treasury’s response

An obvious shortcoming of the proposal in the First Draft TLAB which was raised during public hearings, as highlighted in the Draft Response Document from National Treasury and SARS (Response Document), was that the provision constituted a delegation by Parliament of its legislative power to the Minister. In terms of s77 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Constitution), a money bill is required to be passed by Parliament.

In the Response Document, the problem was acknowledged and it was indicated that the proposed provisions would be amended to bring them in line with the Constitution. The wording of the charging provisions was amended and the provisions in the second version of the Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, 2016 state that the rate changes announced by the Minister may be applied from the date announced subject to Parliament passing the relevant legislation giving effect to that rate change within 12 months of the announced effective date.

Comment

The implementation of the proposed amendments to the abovementioned legislation in its current form, could lead to a number of practical problems for taxpayers. An amendment in the rate of VAT in terms of s7 of the VAT Act, is one example that illustrates the problems that could arise.

In terms of s27 of the VAT Act, VAT vendors must submit VAT returns every month, every second month, every six months or every twelve months depending on the category in which they fall. In terms of s28, a VAT vendor must submit its VAT return within 25 days after the end of the relevant period.

Currently, s7 of the VAT Act expressly states that VAT vendors must account for VAT at the rate of 14% on the value of the supply. If the Minister were to announce in the 2017 budget speech on 28 February 2017 (a hypothetical date) that the VAT rate will increase to 15% from 1 April 2017, Parliament will have to pass legislation to this effect within 12 months of 28 February 2017.

If the legislation is not passed in time in accordance with s77 of the Constitution, VAT vendors will in theory be entitled to refunds on the basis that they should have levied VAT at the rate of 14% during this period instead of at the rate of 15%. The challenges that taxpayers have faced in obtaining their refunds from SARS, has been widely reported on recently. Similar problems could arise if the rates in terms of the SDL Act and UIC Act were amended and the necessary legislation is not passed in time, considering that payments in terms of this legislation must be paid by employers on a monthly basis.

Furthermore, the retrospective application of the legislation may also be open to constitutional challenge. In terms of s77(3) of the Constitution, all money bills must be considered in accordance with the procedure established by s75 of the Constitution and an act of Parliament must provide for a procedure to amend money bills before Parliament. The Money Bill Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, No 9 of 2009 (Money Bill Act) was passed by Parliament in this regard.

Section 11 of the Money Bill Act states that a revenue bill, being one which amends tax rates, among other things, must be referred to the National Council of Provinces, as stipulated in s75 of the Constitution. Neither s75 and s77 of the Constitution, nor the provisions of the Money Bill Act allow for implementation of legislation prior to the process in terms of these sections being followed.

The consequences of not complying with the constitutional provisions regarding the enactment of legislation could be far-reaching and could even lead to the entire legislation being declared invalid as was the case in Tongoane and Others v Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs and Others 2010, where the Communal Land Rights Act, No 11 of 2004 was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court as the incorrect procedure had been followed in enacting the legislation.