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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
27 September 2001
SECURITY INDUSTRY REGULATION BILL: INFORMAL CONSIDERATIONS
Security Industry Regulation Bill [B12 - 2001]
Chairperson: Mr M E George
The committee continued with discussions on the Bill. The provisions of Clauses 20, 21 and 22 relating to the registration of security service providers from a foreign investment perspective were discussed. In view of South Africa's positive view on encouraging foreign investment it came as a complete surprise to opposition parties that the ANC called for the complete exclusion of foreign investment from the private security industry. The opposition fully understood the concern that control of the industry should remain in the hands of South Africans but could not fathom the logic behind excluding foreign shareholding totally. The DP and NNP as well as the IFP rejected the ANC's proposals. The ANC justified their position of concerns over the security of South Africa as a whole and conceded that the recent attacks on the USA had played a part in their decision making.
Security Industry Regulation Bill
Chapter 3: Registration as Security Service Provider
Clause 20: Obligation to register and exemptions; Clause 21: Application for registration and renewal of registration and Clause 22: Requirements for registration
The committee did not discuss the proposals drafted by the Department on these clauses. This was contrary to what the committee had agreed to in their previous meeting.
Mr O Kgauwe (ANC) stated that the ANC had engaged in intense discussion on the issue of foreign involvement in the private security industry in South Africa. After careful consideration it was decided to totally exclude foreign involvement from the private security industry in South Africa. The general feeling shared by the ANC was that the security of South Africa should be in the hands of South Africans and not foreigners. The ANC conceded that the recent attacks on the USA had greatly influenced their decision.
The Chairperson, Mr George added that it is of utmost importance for the private security industry to be controlled by South Africans. Even if foreigners were allowed to invest in the private security industry there was no guarantee that they would not exercise some level of control.
The ANC therefore supports the Bill as it stands, totally excluding foreign involvement.
Mr P Swart (DP) stated that he shared the ANC's concern for the safety of the people of South Africa but nevertheless felt it important not to exclude foreign shareholding in South African private security companies. This was especially so given the fact that South Africa welcomes foreign investment in all other industries. He fully supports the idea that South Africans should control the industry but this should not prevent foreigners from having a shareholding in private security companies. The DA supports the proposed amendments by the Department as it makes provision for foreign investment, even though control stays in the hands of locals.
Ms A Van Wyk (UDM) shared the concerns of the ANC. She also cautioned about the effects on foreign investment in the industry.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) emphasised that the security of South Africans should not be in the hands of foreigners. He was, however, sceptical about excluding foreign investment totally. The suggestion was made that if proper measures were put in place to ensure that all shareholders are identified and screened, it would be possible to allow foreign investment in the industry.
Mr E Ferreira (IFP) rejected the position of the ANC. The IFP supported the idea of foreign investment in the industry. He said that South Africa must not only be wary of possible plots by foreigners but also plots from within our borders.
The Chairperson made it clear that the ANC's position was only to exclude foreign investment in the security service industry. It does support the exclusion of foreign investment in South Africa in general. The ANC otherwise welcomes foreign investment.
Rev Meshoe asked if there are countries that allow foreign investment in their private security industry.
Mr Rasegatle (Safety and Security Secretariat) stated that a report obtained from the Security Officers Interim Board indicated that Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Australia only allowed their citizens to be involved in their industries. Belgium, France and Spain would only allow members from the European Union to be involved in their industries.
The Chair added that in California, USA residents from other states are not allowed involvement in the private security industry in the state.
Mr Swart referred the committee to a meeting that they had with foreign investors prior to their engagement on the Bill. The committee had apparently assured the investors that their $60m proposed investment in the private security industry would in no way be jeopardised by the Bill. Shareholding in South African companies was guaranteed. Was the ANC going against this previous commitment?
The Chair conceded that the ANC is guilty of changing their minds but he emphasised that many things had happened since that meeting. The ANC therefore stuck to their position that the clauses remain unchanged as they are in the Bill.
Chapter 4: Proper conduct and appeal
Clause 29: Appeal against decisions
Clause 29(2) makes provision for the Minister to appoint an appeal committee. Mr Kgauwe (ANC) proposed that the committee be an ad hoc committee as opposed to a permanent committee.
If it was a permanent committee it would form part of the Authority and lose its independence. The idea is thus for the appeal committee to be totally independent from the Authority.
The committee agreed to the proposal. The Chair asked the Department to make the necessary amendments to the clause.
Mr Kgauwe raised a further point that the role and functions of the Chairperson of the Council, which is established in terms of Clause 6, is not set out in any part of the Bill.
The Chair stated that it must have been an oversight on the part of the Department and the Secretariat. He consequently asked them to make provision for it in the Bill.
The committee agreed.
The meeting was adjourned.
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