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#Davos: Concerns raised over SA’s new Investment Bill

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says the new law won’t be a deal-breaker for foreign investment.

The 2016 World Economic Forum will take place in Davos, Switzerland, between 20 and 23 January 2016. Picture: AFP.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan,World Economic Forum,Davos,World Economic Forum 2016,Davos 2016,Investment Bill
Local World Business

DAVOS – Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has defended President Jacob Zuma’s decision to sign the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill into law, saying it won’t be a deal-breaker for foreign investment.

Gordhan was speaking at an event at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

WATCH: Gordhan defends new controversial Investment Act:


Eyewitness News
yesterday revealed that Zuma had quietly signed the bill, which was published in the Government Gazette in December.

The act is designed to level the playing field between foreign and local investors, but critics claim it will hamper the inflow of much needed investment into South Africa.

Gordhan says selling South Africa in Davos as a safe investment destination is in no way contradicted by the signing of the new law.

“I don’t think it should be a deal-breaker in terms of investment because we’re providing world class investment protection and would be very foolish to do completely wrong things contrary to our objectives.”

He says the law contains practices seen in countries around the globe.

“The bilateral treaties that are investment treaties that we have, were aged. The research was done to make us comparable with markets that we actually trade with so, nothing extraordinary happened.”

Gordhan believes the Department of Trade And Industry should be able to deal with any problems that may arise.

WATCH: SA to be sold as 'safe investment' at WEF

The passage into law of the contentious bill could impact on future investment in South Africa’s struggling economy.

That’s the warning from the American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa and the Democratic Alliance (DA). 

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 countries that are not being renewed and sparked much criticism while it was being processed in Parliament late last year.

ALARM BELLS

While Zuma is in Davos persuading foreign investors that South Africa is open for business, alarm bells are ringing at home.

The American Chamber of Commerce has warned the Act is likely to make companies think twice before investing in the future.

The DA shares this view. 

Department of Trade and Industry spokesman Geordin Hill-Lewis says, “I have no doubt that the passage of this bill into law will result in a slowdown of foreign investment into South Africa over the next few years.”

Government insists that investors have nothing to fear. 

The new act will come into operation on a date yet to be proclaimed by Zuma.

Visit the Eyewitness News World Economic Forum 2016 special feature

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)

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