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Concern mounts as another controversial Bill awaits Zuma’s signature

The PSIRA Bill will force foreign-owned private security firms to sell off 51% in shares to SA citizens.

President Jacob Zuma delivered an update on several initiatives and programs announced in his State of the Nation address at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 11 August 2015. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN
Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill,foreign investment
Local Politics

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma’s signing into law the contentious Protection of Investment Bill has sparked concern that another controversial Bill, which has been fiercely criticised for thwarting growth and investment, could be next in line.

The Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment (PSIRA) Bill has been awaiting Zuma’s signature since it was passed by Parliament in 2014.

It will force foreign-owned private security firms to sell off at least 51 percent of shares to South African citizens.

Attorney Martin Hood, who represents the Private Security Industry is concerned that the PSIRA Bill could be signed next.

“There is an outflow of foreign investment. I don’t think that this government, by recent actions, has a proper grasp of the impact of legislation and bills that is negatively received by foreign investors. It’s quite straight forward to say that government would enact this legislation because they simply don’t understand consequences.”

But in June 2015, there were indications the Bill would not be signed.

US Ambassador to South Africa, Patrick Gaspard, was quoted as saying there had been assurances from the South African government that US concerns had been taken into consideration.

Both Chubb and ADT are American-owned companies.

The government’s justification for restricting foreign ownership in the sector is that international companies pose a threat to national security, a claim the industry has dismissed.

Meanwhile, Zuma quietly signed the Protection of Investment Bill into law in December, the day before he fired Nhlanhla Nene as Finance Minister.

The new law aims to give foreign and local investors equal status and protection in line with the Constitution.

It will replace bilateral investment treaties with mostly European counties that are not renewed, and sparked much criticism while it was being processed in parliament.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)

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