The Promotion and Protection of Investors Bill gives the ANC government, for all practical purposes the power to unilaterally appropriate the assets of international investors, Adv. Anon Aborts the Freedom Front Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on trade and industry says.
The Bill which was published in the Government gazette on Friday is receiving strong international and national criticism – especially from the side of investors – as it denies investors virtually of all the protection which bilateral trade agreements had previously offered.
According to Adv. Alberts, the Bill offers hardly any protection to investors and the issue is in reality a crisis of critical proportions for the country’s economy as relations with investors, and especially member states of the European Union, have been on a shaky footing for a long time already.
“South Africa has already ended it trade agreements with countries such as Belgium and Germany. Thís, while the countries had ensured the investments of billions of rand in South Africa.
“Where the old trade agreements had offered great protection to investors, the new Bill is virtually removing everything with one swoop.
“The three most important aspects of this is that investors who will be dispossessed of their assets or disadvantaged in any other way, will no longer be able to call on international mediation and arbitration, compensation for expropriation will no longer have to be at market value and the principle of fairness regarding compensation, which had previously been guaranteed in trade agreements, also falls away now.
“It is clear that there is only one reason for this Bill totally removing the rights of investors and that is that the government can now claim the assets of investors without having to pay market related prices for it.
“This is a frightening situation which every citizen should take note of and it is not criticism and concern without any reason.
“The German ambassador to South Africa, Dr. Horst Freitag, last month told me during informal talks that Germany and German investors are deeply concerned about the ANC government’s cancelling of the bilateral trade agreements.
“The FF Plus shares these concerns as well as those of every sane person who warn that such incomprehensible legislation could in the foreseeable future cause irreparable damage to the country,” Adv. Alberts says.
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