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Ministries discuss trade implications of private security bill

The bill compels private security companies to sell 51 percent of their shares to South Africans.

FILE: The Department of Trade and Industry is meeting the Police Ministry over the trade policy implications of the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Trade and Industry is meeting the Police Ministry over the trade policy implications of the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill.

The bill, which compels private security companies to sell 51 percent of their shares to South Africans, is awaiting President Jacob Zuma's signature.

There's concern the bill would violate trade treaties and scupper South Africa's inclusion in a United States trade initiative which significantly reduces barriers for African countries to enter the American market.

Minister Rob Davies said the two departments are discussing the implications of the bill.

It comes after his cabinet counterpart, Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko, suggested South Africa would modify its commitments to the World Trade Organisation's General Agreement on Trade in Services.

Davies said the US has raised concerns about the bill.

"There is an open engagement that's that is taking place and I think we have agreed on the necessity to deal with the security matters that are underpinned in this but to find mechanisms that would help us out there."

The US Senate passed legislation last week to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade programme.

South Africa has been included in AGOA, but its membership will come under review.

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