The response to government’s draft regulations on dispute resolution in the Protection of Investment Act has drawn responses ranging from attenuated outrage to tepid. For now, the regulations allow the department of trade & industry (DTI) access to documents presented in a confidential mediation process. This is a case of the fox guarding the hen house, critics say. Like President Jacob Zuma’s assent to the act on December 15 2015, the draft regulations were published on December 30 2016, when the world was on holiday. This made the initial 30-day deadline for comment at the end of January 2017 moot. Since then, the deadline has been extended to end-February 2017. In the interim though, the public response by foreign and local business has been stiffly formal or entirely lacking. Legal professionals have been less inhibited. “As they stand, the regulations, in effect, give government a veto over any referral to mediation and deprive foreign investors of the only special protection p...

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