Controversial SA law affecting security firms still unsigned

Controversial legislation that will effectively expropriate 51% of foreign-owned security companies in South Africa remains unsigned on President Jacob Zuma’s desk after being approved by Parliament a year ago. The Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill has been condemned as unconstitutional and a violation of investment protection agreements that South Africa has concluded with other countries.

Presidency spokesman said Mr Zuma was still applying his mind to the bill, and when he made a decision this would be made public. The bill provides for a Zimbabwe-style “indigenisation” in which 51% of the R50bn-a-year industry should be in South African hands. The industry protects the lives and property of millions of South Africans and employs more than a million people.

The private security industry outnumbers the South African Police Service and defence forces combined and was declared a threat to national security by then Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa. The bill was approved by the National Assembly in February 2014 and by the National Council of Provinces in April. Political parties and trade organisations have made pleas to Mr Zuma that he not sign the bill into law with the “expropriation clause” in place.

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