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Private Security Bill under fire (again)

A clause forces foreign firms to sell at least 51 percent of their shares to South Africans.

A clause forces foreign firms to sell at least 51 percent of their shares to South Africans.

CAPE TOWN - The Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill has come under fire yet again, this time over a controversial clause that forces foreign private security companies to sell at least 51 percent of their shares to South Africans.

The provisions, which caused uproar when first introduced, were dropped last year.

But the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Diane Kohler-Barnard says the clause made it back onto the final draft, which was approved by the police portfolio committee on Tuesday.

"We had a bill that we had, as a committee, cleaned up completely and we were all happy with it. The reintroduction of this xenophobic clause at the eleventh hour last year I managed to stop, have it removed from the schedule and now it's back and has been passed in the committee."

Critics of the bill say the clause will deter direct foreign investment.

But when introducing the bill, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said private security firms were a threat to national security because their staff outnumbered the police.

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