US, EU companies say ANC legislation a cause for concern

European and US businesses with operations based in South Africa said legislation coming from the ANC was a cause for concern.

The compulsory black ownership element in the new broad-based black economic empowerment codes were weighing on US companies in SA.

American Chamber of Commerce SA executive director Carol O’Brien said they were struggling with compliance, given that their parent companies in the US did not “sell off ownership”.

O’Brien said the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill, the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, the intellectual property policy paper and the Expropriation Bill were some of the other proposed laws alarming investors.

The French ambassador, Elisabeth Barbier, echoed her sentiments and said French businesses are worried about their investments too.

The American chamber represents 250 of the 600 US companies with operations in SA, such as General Electric and Google. A 2012 survey showed the 89 chamber members that participated invested R278bn in SA.

President Jacob Zuma’s announcement in his state of the nation address that foreigners would be limited to owning a certain amount of land was worrying, said O’Brien.

The Americans however welcomed Zuma’s decision to refer the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill back to Parliament. He cited inadequate public consultation as the reason.