By Abongwe Kobokana
CAPE TOWN, Nov 18 (NNN-SABC) — South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has reiterated that the Promotion and Protection of Investments Bill will not negatively affect the flow of foreign investment into South Africa.
The primary aim of the Bill is to clarify the level of protection investors may expect and it is the result of a comprehensive review of bilateral investment treaties which South Africa has entered into and the risk associated with them, he adds.
Tabling the Bill in the National Assembly here Tuesday, Davies said the Bill would apply equally to all countries, regardless of their bilateral treaties and trade partnership status with South Africa.
“South Africa has no bilateral treaties with, for example, the United States or Japan, yet those countries have significant presence here. And conversely, we have signed bilateral treaties with a number of countries which have very little investment here,” he noted.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported that more than 90 governments have been subjected to protracted litigation against investment legislation.
These include well-known cases of tobacco multi-national companies against health regulations and packaging requirements.
Davies said South Africa had its own experience in private disputes and the country was not apologetic.
The opposition in the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, recorded its objection to the Bill.
Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesman for Trade and Industry Geordin Hill-Lewis lambasted the Bill as a piece of bad legislation.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) chief whip Floyd Shivambo said unless certain conditions become part of the Bill, his party would remain opposed to it in its current form.
The Bill was finally adopted with 181 votes in favour, 33 against and one abstention and will will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces (upper house) for concurrence.
The Bill will only become law once the President gives his assent to it. — NNN-SABC