The Bill will come to the National Assembly for passage.


This came despite warnings that the struggling South African economy will see a flight of foreign investors with the introduction of the Bill.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) issued a statement, vowing to oppose the Bill when it comes to the House.

“We hope that the ANC will realize how damaging this Bill in its current form will be to our ability to attract foreign investment,” said Geordin Hill Lewis, DA Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry.
The Bill’s stated objectives are to provide for legislative protection of SA investors and “devalue” the protection afforded to foreign investors.

Under the Bill, foreign investors, by virtue of being non-citizens of South Africa, do not enjoy the same privileges as South African citizens.

The Bill also seeks to replace various bilateral investment treaties that South Africa has concluded with several countries. It aims to establish a universally applicable investment protection regime and to deal with expropriation and the arbitration of disputes.

There are serious concerns about the government’s policy trajectory, and confidence in South Africa among investors is at a low point.

“In this context, what South Africa needs is a world-leading piece of investment protection legislation that sends the unambiguous message to the investment community that we are welcoming to their investments, and that those investments will be protected,” Hill Lewis said.

He said the Bill adds to the feeling of uncertainty that many investors express about South Africa.
“It provides no guarantees that investors will not be deprived of their investments, and it does not guarantee fair and equitable treatment for all investors,” he said.

The DA accuses the ANC of refusing to provide for dispute resolution mechanisms, and giving huge discretion to the minister of trade and industry to regulate on almost anything related to investments.

The DA has proposed dozens of sensible amendments which would have gone a long way to alleviating the concerns of the investment community and put South Africa back on the top list of investment destinations, but all of these were voted down by the ANC, according to Hill Lewis.

The vast majority of foreign investors in South Africa have voiced concern that the Bill would deter investment, with the American Chamber of Commerce calling it “another nail in the coffin of the South African economy”.

But the government argues that the Bill gives foreign investors the same protection as domestic investors in “like circumstances” and that the provisions on expropriation and compensation are aligned to the constitution. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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