Private security bill stays: National Assembly
The National Assembly police committee has rejected DA claims that the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill is to be withdrawn.
"The portfolio committee on police is deeply disappointed with one of its members, who deliberately gave out false information to the media after the committee's closed meeting [on Wednesday]," acting chairwoman Annelize van Wyk said on Thursday.
"The member in question alleged in a media statement that the committee had decided to withdraw the... bill (which is currently under consideration) and had it sent back for redrafting."
This was untrue. The committee had in no way decided to withdraw the bill, she said.
Van Wyk said she would meet with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to request that the current legal team looking at the bill be strengthened, as certain clauses in the bill needed to be amended.
The committee would continue with the usual procedures of processing the bill, and would consider concerns raised during public hearings.
On Wednesday, Democratic Alliance MP and committee member Dianne Kohler-Barnard said the "committee agreed unanimously on Wednesday that the bill be sent back to be redrafted in line with the Constitution, the country's laws, and with international bilateral investment treaties".
"The private security industry is currently regulated, and indeed needs to be regulated, but we are opposed to the proposals which go against the Constitution and international treaties," she said.
These included the forced sale of 51 percent of foreign-owned private security companies to South Africans, and the prevention of any foreigner living legally and permanently in South Africa from working in the private security industry.
Claims that the ownership of these private security companies by foreign companies posed a threat to national security were made on a "political whim", she said.
When asked for proof of this "threat" neither the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, nor the secretary of police, could provide proof, or state that any research had been done to support this claim.
"The DA finds it astounding that the minister even presented this bill to the committee. It will now be sent back to the SAPS law advisers and the police secretariat to be redrafted.
"The DA sincerely hopes that they will not return the bill to the committee with the same ridiculous proposals, which smack of xenophobia," Kohler-Barnard said.