President Jacob Zuma

Cape Town - The private security industry called on President Jacob Zuma on Monday to reconsider a bill which limits foreign ownership in private security companies.

“The South African private security industry is urging the president to reconsider a clause in the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill, which will require foreign owned security companies operating in the country to have a local shareholding of at least 51 percent,” the Security Industry Alliance (SIA) said.

The bill was passed in the National Assembly last month and was later adopted by the National Council of Provinces.

The government argues that the move is necessary for, among others, national security.

SIA said it believed inclusion of the foreign ownership clause would hurt business confidence in the country.

“We were surprised by the last minute introduction of the local majority ownership requirement, which mars what is otherwise a good piece of legislation aimed at improving oversight and regulation of the private security industry,” said SIA CEO Steve Conradie.

“In light of the concerning unintended consequences of the provision on both the sector and the companies, we hope that a dialogue can commence aimed at finding a workable solution that will allow us to continue as trusted partners in the fight against crime, as well as adding value to the economy.”