Department of Mercantile Law Lecturer Wins Oxford Award at Southern African Law Teachers Conference 2022

Posted on March 10, 2023

During the Society for Law Teachers of Southern Africa (STLSA) 2022 Conference, Khodani Sengwane, a lecturer in the Department of Mercantile, earned the Oxford Award for Best First Time Presenter.

Under the theme, Enforcing Accountability: Consolidating democracy, compelling sustainable development in the 21st Century, the 2022 theme of the conference was "Enforcing accountability: Consolidating democracy, compelling sustainable development in the 21st Century". 

Digitalization of the economy: A review of South Africa’s response to the direct international tax law challenges arising from the fourth industrial revolution was the title of Sengwane's paper. The synopsis of the paper was to critically review South Africa’s current jurisdiction to tax law provisions for determining the taxation of profits of multinational enterprises and how they address (if at all) the international tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy in light of the 4IR. The paper evaluated international developments of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ("OECD") on solving the international tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy and establishing if the proposals from the OECD would be suitable for adoption in South Africa and conducted a comparison of the approach of select developing and developed countries (i.e. United States of America, United Kingdom, Nigeria and India) to address the challenges. The paper then recommended reforms that primarily considers what is best for South Africa and in the secondary instance aligns South Africa’s response to the challenges with international best practice.

The paper was relevant in that jurisdiction to tax rules were developed more than a century ago and have not kept up the pace with current business models. Addressing this issue is currently a global issue and the OECD is working on proposals to solve the issue that will be consented to globally. The proposals are taking long to finalise and, in the meantime, other countries have decided to adopt unilateral measures to address the issue. South Africa has decided to wait for the proposals. It is important for South Africa to evaluate whether its decision is the best to take and to consider whether the OECD proposals would even be suitable for it as a developing African country. As South Africa continues to wait it loses tax revenues it could be generating from digital economy business models.

The STLSA, which acts as a conduit and catalyst for the creation of legal knowledge, provides opportunities for legal academics and researchers to share the results of their research work and engage in serious reflection on the success and shortcomings of constitutionalism and political governance systems in South and Southern Africa; it also questions and assesses current national and international economic and environmental governance frameworks in terms of their suitability for the purpose of promoting economic growth and environmental sustainability.

The 2022 SLTSA conference was intended to provide legal scholars and researchers with a forum for the exchange of ideas and reflection on the successes and shortcomings of South and Southern African constitutionalism and political governance systems.

“It was such a humbling and rewarding experience to receive the award”, added Sengwane

- Author Ms Nomasango Masiye-Moyo (Ms Wendy Ngcobo author)

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