October 18, 2021

SA security firms face new restrictions as controversial bill becomes law

The DA raised the issue that with private security companies being restricted, the SAPS will face more demand and communities with the highest crime rate will be the ones to suffer.

SA security firms face new restrictions as controversial bill becomes law

SA security firms face new restrictions as controversial bill becomes law photo credit: Canva

Parliament made the announcement on Monday night that President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law, the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill. This Bill restricts foreign ownership of private security companies, it seeks to strengthen control over the regulations of the private security industry, including security services rendered by SA to other countries.

The proposed law was passed by parliament in 2014, despite opposition from the industry, opposition parties and foreign embassies, who wrote to the police portfolio committee (which was drafting the law). It’s opponents warned that it violated the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services and the requirements of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act because it would effectively result in expropriation and limit foreign investment.

The bill requires all security companies and manufacturers, importers and distributors of security equipment to be at least 51% owned by South Africans.

The bill was justified with the following reasons: Lack of proper accountability for firearms in the possession of members of the private security industry and lack of accountability for security services rendered outside the republic by SA security companies, including allegations of mercenary activities.

Foreign ownership is limited because the line between private security companies and private military companies was becoming increasingly blurry and the fact that private security companies were being increasingly used in the field of intelligence should also be considered as a potential threat to national security.

The DA raised the issue that with private security companies being restricted, the SAPS will face more demand and communities with the highest crime rate will be the ones to suffer.

“If private security firms leave — and some will after this bill is passed — there will be more demand on an already overstretched SAPS. In the end it will be the communities with the highest crime rate that will bear the brunt,” said DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard.

Sources: MSN, Soeknet

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