In high-crime South Africa, parliament seeks to shift private security firms to local owners

Some business groups in South Africa are criticizing a proposed law that would require foreign-owned private security firms to sell at least 51 percent of their businesses to South Africans.

The American Chamber of Commerce and the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry say the measure, if approved, will deter foreign investors, undermine the economy and violate international trade agreements. Parliament has approved a bill that contains the measure, and the business groups are appealing to President Jacob Zuma to send it back to lawmakers for revision instead of signing it.

South Africa's private security industry is robust partly because of a high crime rate that police are struggling to control. Supporters of the proposed measure argue that foreign ownership of private security firms could threaten national security.