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BUSA: Statement by Business Unity South Africa, on the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill (15/05/2014)

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15th May 2014

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BUSA is the confederal body representing organised business in SA. One of our critical objectives is to engage government to promote, and maintain, a conducive environment for business growth and development in SA. An essential element of this objective is to facilitate an environment in which global investors are keen to invest in the SA economy. We have been following the debate on the PSIRA, which is awaiting the signature of the President of the Republic before promulgation. One of our members, the Security Industry Alliance (SIA) has been engaging government on this bill on behalf of the private security industry, but the implications of the bill being promulgated in its current form is serious for the business sector.

The business component of the OECD has written to BUSA and expressed serious concern about the PSIRA. Amongst these concerns is that the clause requiring majority control of security businesses by South Africans is in violation of various Bilateral Investment Treaties and SA’s GATS commitments with the WTO. A report in the Business Day of Wednesday 14 May quotes Joseph Cronje, senior researcher at the Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa as saying the bill, in its current form, is in breach of international law and could have serious implications for SA’s engagement at various trade agreements.

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The government has indicated, since the elections, that it is keen on maintaining a policy environment that creates certainty, is consistent and will be guided by the NDP. This bill, in its current form, does not demonstrate such commitment from government. It is of the utmost importance that SA remains an attractive destination for foreign investment, particularly investment that has the potential of creating businesses and jobs. This is particularly critical in a global environment in which we have to compete with countries sending out consistent messages that they are “open for business”.

We have an imperative to address inequality and make an impact on improving socio-economic conditions for a significant proportion of our population. Investment in economic growth is critical to this and attracting foreign investment is very important. This bill, in its current form, will not send out a positive message to international investors.

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We thus urge the President to refer the bill back to Parliament, for further discussion and consultation with critical stakeholders, with a view to presenting a draft bill that will address the concerns raised by various parties.

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