The Durban Chamber acknowledges fully the benefits and positive economic effects of foreign direct investment, but is concerned that the lack of empirical evidence in favour of bilateral investment treaties is indicative that these treaties may not contribute positively to the host nation’s economic growth and development. The Chamber fully supports the Bill’s proposal of national treatment with regard to investors, and encourages the emulation of the Australian system. The South African government’s right to expropriate and alter prevailing conditions is essential to driving economic growth, as it ‘frees’ the policy space to regulate and impose responsibilities on citizens and Business for the greater good. The Chamber acknowledges that exercising these rights may induce anxiety in investors. However, the costs of abusing these rights are far too high in terms of South Africa’s reputational effects, and thus it is highly unlikely that government should wilfully abuse them. The Chamber makes the suggestion that in the absence of international arbitration, an alternative dispute resolution mechanism must be developed.
In sum, the Chamber supports the propositions in this Bill, and believes that the equal treatment of foreign and domestic investors will bode well for the growth and development of the South African economy.