Menu

Private Security

South Africa has the world’s biggest private security industry. There are nearly 9000 registered security companies, with over 400 000 actively employed security guards1 - more than the police and army combined.

That’s a good thing and it’s a bad thing. Half a million people have jobs, and their families have food, clothing and residence. But it also means that the public in South Africa needs more protection from crime than is afforded by the police.

The Private Security Industry Regulation Act 20012 sets out to do exactly what its name says. It falls under the authority of the Minister of Police, and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) 3 exercises effective control over the policies of the Act.

A. Registration

  1. It is a criminal offence to render, in any manner, a security service for reward, remuneration, a fee or benefit unless you are registered in terms of the Act.4

  2. If your registration has been suspended, it is an offence to continue to render security services without PSiRA’s prior written permission.5

  3. When the registration is suspended or withdrawn or it lapses, the certificate of registration must be returned forthwith to PSiRA. It is an offence to fail to do this.6

  4. It is a crime to advertise security services to be rendered by a person who is not registered, or whose registration is suspended.7

  5. Any person who holds himself out as a registered security service provider whilst he is not registered (or such registration is suspended) is guilty of an offence.8

B. Inspectors

The Council for PSiRA appoints inspectors who have a wide range of powers, which are designed to give effect to their function in overseeing the affairs of security service providers.

  1. Any person who falsely represents himself to be an inspector is guilty of an offence.9

  2. Any person who interferes with, resists, obstructs, hinders or delays an inspector or any person lawfully accompanying an inspector, or a member of the SAPS in the performance of any function in terms of the Act commits an offence.10

  3. Any security service provider, or any other person whose affairs are under inspection, who refuses or fails to comply with any request of an inspector (or a member of SAPS) whilst he is conducting an inspection, commits a crime.11

  4. It is an offence to refuse or fail to answer a question put to you by an inspector (or a member of SAPS) for purposes of an inspection.12

  5. Any security service provider, or any other person whose affairs are under inspection, who makes any statement to an inspector (or a member of SAPS) which is materially false, or who produces any document which is false in any material respect, is guilty of an offence.13

  6. It is a criminal offence to disclose any information obtained in the performance of any function in terms of the Act which relates to the personal, financial or business affairs of any person, or which may be prejudicial to the performance of the functions of PSiRA, except as is provided by law.14

  7. Any person who in any manner, threatens, or commits an act which is calculated to obstruct or unduly influence a PSiRA councillor or staff member in the performance of his functions is guilty of an offence.15

  8. Any person who commits an act which is calculated to hinder, impede or obstruct any investigation in terms of the Act commits an offence.16

C. General

  1. Any person who in any application, inquiry, appeal or other proceedings in terms of the Act furnishes information, or makes a statement, which is false in any material respect is guilty of an offence.17

  2. Any person who fails to keep a prescribed record or document, or fails to keep a prescribed record or document at premises as required in terms of the Act, is guilty of an offence.18

  3. Any person who knowingly or without the exercise of reasonable care contracts for the rendering of security services contrary to a provision of the Act is guilty of an offence.19

  4. Note: The failure to comply with, or contravene any other provision of the Act constitutes a criminal offence.20

  1. www.defenceweb.co.za – ‘South Africa has world’s largest private security industry’. The number has been put at 485 000 – or so it was revealed to hearings before the SA Human Rights Commission on farm murders. www.timeslive.co.za ‘Farmers rely on private security more than SAPS – Agri SA’. 

  2. As amended; the latest amendment is by way of Act 7 of 2013. 

  3. The head office of PSiRA is at 420 Witch-Hazel Avenue, Eco Glades 2 Office Park, Highveld Ext 70, Centurion (tel: 086 10 PSiRA (77472)). 

  4. Section 38(3)(a) read with section 20(1). 

  5. Section 38(3)(a) read with section 26(1). 

  6. Section 38(3)(b). 

  7. Section 38(3)(e). 

  8. Section 38(3)(f). 

  9. Section 38(1)(a). 

  10. Section 38(1)(b). 

  11. Section 38(2)(a). 

  12. Section 38(2)(b). 

  13. Section 38(2)(c). 

  14. Section 38(3)(b) read with section 37. 

  15. Section 38(3)(h). 

  16. Section 38(3)(i). 

  17. Section 38(3)(c). 

  18. Section 38(3)(d). 

  19. Section 38(3)(g). 

  20. Section 38(4)