Thursday, 14 November 2013

DA Blocks Controversial Bill Through Uniting the Opposition

DA blocks controversial Bill through uniting the opposition

14 November 2013
Release: immediate

This week, the DA, as the official opposition, with the support of opposition parties in the Police Portfolio Committee succeeded in preventing the Private Security Industry Regulation Authority (PSIRA) Amendment Bill from being debated in Parliament.

Backed by all opposition parties who participate in the Police Portfolio Committee, the DA sent a letter to the Speaker, Max Sisulu, requesting his intervention regarding the unilateral, 11th-hour re-insertion of a xenophobic expropriation clause in the PSIRA Bill.

The Speaker agreed to have the PSIRA Bill sent back to the Portfolio Committee for further deliberation on this clause.

The expropriation clause was unilaterally slipped in by the Chairperson of the Committee who was presumably acting on instruction of the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa. It allows for the state to expropriate at least 51% of any foreign-owned security-related company. The clause further stated that the Minister could at his discretion, prescribe a different percentage of ownership and control for different categories of security businesses. This could, of course, mean that 100% of any security-related company with a head office in another country, would be expropriated in their entirety.

Equally, for example, a Greek locksmith who has been a permanent resident for 30 years, would be branded a threat to state security, and have to hand 51% of his tiny business over to a South African citizen. As would any foreign owned firm that imports, manufactures or exports any security-related equipment, such as cameras that are commonly used by householders who want to see who is at the door before opening it.

As many security firms are listed on the stock exchange, the nationality of individual shareholders is unknown.

The clause had already been exhaustively debated during extensive public hearings at which time the DA raised all these and many other issues time and time again. The offending clause was then removed from the Bill.

The DA looks forward to deliberating on this clause when the Bill comes once again before the committee and with the backing of other opposition parties, ensuring that it is not included in the final version of the Bill. Expropriation, or indigenisation as it is otherwise known, is the fastest way to destroy international investor confidence and our economy.

The DA will at all times fight all Bills that are deemed unfair, discriminatory and non-beneficial to the public.

Sandy Bigara

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