New bill limits foreign owners

A controversial Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill was passed in Parliament yesterday afternoon. The bill aims to limit foreign ownership in security companies. Foreign-owned private security companies will be compelled to sell 51 percent of their shares to South Africans. Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told MPs this was necessary in the interests of state security. “It is necessary because the line between private security companies and private military companies is increasingly becoming blurred,” he said. “Equally, private security companies are increasingly used in the field of intelligence.” South Africa was not alone in wanting to curb foreign ownership, as other countries had done the same, with some states even outlawing it. Mthethwa dismissed arguments that the bill would lead to job losses in the industry. “The provision of security service depends on supply and demand like any commodity in the market place. Change of ownership will not change demand,” he said. Claims that companies would disinvest were also brushed aside. – Sapa


Yellow maize imports needed

South Africa was importing yellow maize for the first time in 22 months as stocks of the grain declined to a nine-month low last month, Senwes said. Stockpiles of both white and yellow maize declined 31 percent to 2.34 million tons, the lowest since April, at the end of last month from a year earlier, the Pretoria-based SA Grain Information Service (Sagis) said in a statement on its website on Monday. The country had 946 076 tons of yellow maize, the smallest amount in nine months, and 1.39 million tons of white, according to Sagis. Local prices of both varieties rose to a record last month as drought in some growing regions curbed output. Grain SA, which represents commercial farmers, said last month that stocks would be tight for the rest of the season, until the harvest began in April. Tiger Brands said last month it would consider importing maize in the event of a supply shortage. “We need to import,” Thys Grobbelaar, an analyst at Klerksdorp-based Senwes said. “About three ships from the Black Sea are on their way with about 50 000 tons of yellow maize,” Grobbelaar added. – Bloomberg