Security Guards (The Beginning)


Security Guards - There are more Guards  in South Africa than Police men and not all of them are trained or legal guards! South Africa has the largest private security industry in the world, with nearly 9 000 registered companies. As a result, the regulation of the industry needs to be revised, according to Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa.

 in South Africa than Police men and not all of them are trained or legal security guards! South Africa has the largest private security industry in the world, with nearly 9 000 registered companies. As a result, the regulation of the industry needs to be revised, according to Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa.

With over 36 years experience in the SAP, SAPS and Private Security sector, this is something that I am constantly questioning....and the answers are not always that comforting. But first, a little background on the Industry.

The industry is controlled by Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA). When Psira  first started, they were responsible for the registration of security guards and Security Companies. They also controlled the training material, the grading and the registration of the training centers. The latter, the registration and control of training centers was later taken over by SASSETA, to improve the training and the corruption in the training Centers. In the past it was common for guards to pay for a training course and receive the certificate without doing the course.

How Does A Guard Get Trained And Registered?

Theoretically, the system provides that all guard are checked for criminal activity by obtaining a fingerprint clearance from the SAPS. This is done by having the fingerprints taken by SAPS and the fingerprints are submitted, together with the security application forms, to PSIRA, who then submit the fingerprints to the SAPS. the Fingerprint results are submitted directly to Psira by the Police and the guard is registered if he/she has a clear fingerprint record.

The applicant, if he has not submitted a training certificate must undergo training at a registered training center and submit it to PSIRA prior to him/her receiving the Registration certificate. Once the guard has received the registration certificate, he/she can then seek employment as a guard.

This is the theory, but in practice, “According to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) Annual Report, 2010/11, there were 8 828 private security businesses registered as security service providers (which is an 18.35% increase compared to the number of companies registered for the previous financial year). The number of private security guards registered was under 1.7 million. It is also estimated that of the guards registered, over 400 000 are active within the industry.”

According to PSIRA it is further estimated that between 15 000 and 20 000 new members join the private security industry each month. However, not all companies and private security guards register with PSIRA as required by law. Many companies and security guards attempt to operate under the radar and unlawfully.This enables them to "undercut" the legitimate companies and places the user at risk.

Unregistered Companies and Guards -what does it mean for you?

This has a wide reaching effect on your safety and the countries economy. Let's deal with your safety first;

  • Companies that are not registered make use of unregistered, and therefore untrained staff,
  • the guards are underpaid and can in most cases not afford to feed themselves let alone their families on what they earn,
  • most illegal guards are immigrants who, as such, are not allowed to work in the industry as not background checks can be done,
  • the security guard working at your office, your child's school or your church could be a pedophile, rapist or murderer.

These are just a few of the issues with the unregistered guards. So what of  the unregistered and illegal Security Companies? how do they affect you and the economy;

  • unregistered companies cannot obtain insurance, so anything that happens on your property is at your risk and you will not receive compensation,
  • the company will not pay workmens compensation so the employees will not be covered in the case of an IOD incident. This would leave you at risk of a claim as you would be responsible for the worker's safety.
  • the company will not be paying VAT even if he charges you VAT, nor will it be paying TAX.
  • when the authorities start investigating the company, it will probably close it's doors without informing you and you will find that you have no security service provider, leaving you at risk.

How Do I Mitigate My Risk When Contracting A Security Service Provider

I will divide this into two sections; 1 Private (discussed below)  2 Commercial. (Commercial will be discussed on THIS page)

  1. Private
  • If you are hiring a permanent or temporary guard for your residence, cost is usually an important factor which results in the cheapest price being accepted.
  • Cheapest price is usually equated to an unregistered company which employs illegal guards being paid below minimum wage.
  • Your first requirement must be that the company is registered with PSIRA. They must be able to provide you with a registration cert. which you can check on the PSIRA website to see if it is valid.
  • Draw up what you require the guard to do on a daily basis and incorporate this into the written agreement. Yes... a written agreement, even if it is for 1 day.
  • If you require the guard to have certain equipment then you must state it in the requirements section of the agreement, as it will also have an effect on the cost.
  • Insist on insurance. If the guard does anything illegal or causes damage to anyone's property or injures someone, it must be covered by the security provider.
  • Get at least 3 quotations which must specify your requirements and that they have insurance to cover your property against whatever the guard does plus theft.
  •  Select the service that has the most presence in your area. This will mean that they probably have a vehicle in the area to visit the guard and to respond to problems.
  • Do not fall for the "Payment up front". This is not a good option as you have no recourse for issues. The guard often never arrives as it is made a self posting site. if the guard does not turn up, it is not discovered until hours later.
  • Payment to be made on invoice at the end of the agreed period. If you find a problem, you can then deduct for services not rendered etc.

2. Commercial Guards 

Go To Security Page 

Go Home Page

Check Company or Guard Registration number here

Improperly trained Security Guards

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