Se­cu­rity bill: SA in­ter­ests at stake


STATE Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter David Mahlobo in­sists the govern­ment will con­tinue to push for the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of a bill in­tended to limit the con­trol of pri­vate se­cu­rity firms by for­eign­ers.

Mahlobo said yes­ter­day that this would en­sure the pro­tec­tion of South Africa’s na­tional in­ter­ests and se­cu­rity.

The Pri­vate Se­cu­rity In­dus­try Reg­u­la­tion Amend­ment Bill was nec­es­sary to cur­tail for­eign own­er­ship of the pri­vate se­cu­rity in­dus­try, he said.

The sec­tor has been one of the fastest-grow­ing in­dus­tries in the past few years, em­ploy­ing nearly 500 000 peo­ple in pri­vate se­cu­rity firms.

Mahlobo was re­spond­ing to ques­tions in Par­lia­ment dur­ing a me­dia brief­ing on the in­volve­ment of for­mer sol­diers in the pri­vate se­cu­rity in­dus­try.

The bill pro­poses that South Africans must have 51% con­trol of for­eign-owned pri­vate se­cu­rity firms. It has has been ly­ing on Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s desk for the past three years, af­ter it was passed by Par­lia­ment.

Zuma has said he was con­sid­er­ing sub­mis­sions against the sign­ing of the bill into law.

Some of the par­ties in Par­lia­ment have writ­ten to Zuma to ob­ject to the bill, say­ing it would de­stroy thou­sands of jobs.

The leg­is­la­tion was tabled by for­mer po­lice min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa in Par­lia­ment in 2013, to cur­tail the own­er­ship of pri­vate se­cu­rity firms by for­eign com­pa­nies and to pro­tect na­tional se­cu­rity.

Mthethwa said at the time that South Africa had the largest num­ber of se­cu­rity firms in the world.

The body re­spon­si­ble for the reg­u­la­tion of pri­vate se­cu­rity firms has said there were 9 000 pri­vate se­cu­rity com­pa­nies reg­is­tered in the coun­try.

These firms in turn em­ploy al­most 500 000 peo­ple as se­cu­rity guards.

Mahlobo said the bill was nec­es­sary to give South Africa full con­trol of the in­dus­try.

“On the is­sue of for­eign own­er­ship and es­pi­onage… we must not be dis­tracted. We will go ahead as South Africa to trans­form the in­dus­try that it must be led by South Africans,” he said.

Mahlobo said they would not al­low for­eign com­pa­nies to have un­re­stricted own­er­ship of the firms.

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