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.
By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi – email@example.com
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