Private security companies in South Africa are subject to a high level of regulatory control.
In addition to the labour regulations that apply to all employers and employees there is also a regulatory body specifically for the private security industry; PSIRA (Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority). Many private security companies operating in our area and across South Africa do not comply with the industry regulations. This makes it possible for them to offer cut price services and / or to increase their profits.
PSIRA has begun to take an aggressive attitude to ‘cleaning’ up the industry and is starting to send out inspectors into your suburb and surrounds. They will be doing inspections on all estates, complexes, suburbs and businesses where security companies are contracted to supply Guarding and Armed Response Services.
Mr. Sam Chauke – the CEO of PSIRA and his board have recently promulgated an increase in the fines and penalties for non compliance. The heavier fines will be levied against security service providers, HOAs, Body Corporates, Committees, Managing Agents and Businesses who do not comply with the PSIRA rules and regulations defined in Sectoral Determination (SD6). The fines issued can be up to R1 million and potential criminal charges for both the security service provider and the parties that appointed them to provide services to their estate, complex, business or house.
Illegal security companies have been operating for years by not paying their guards and reaction officers according to SD6. In addition to being illegal these are unfair labour practices used to exploit the guards and reaction officers who are there to serve and protect our most valuable assets. The guards and reaction officers are not paid correctly and do not receive the correct benefits that they are entitled to under the SD6 regulations. This often leads to disgruntled guards and reaction officers which has obvious knock on effects on their attitude towards their jobs and your security.
Security companies may try to mislead you by producing a PSIRA certificate. Customers very often think that this is good enough and believe that because they are registered with PSIRA they must be compliant. This is not the case and to protect yourself from a potential fine /liability you need to dig deeper.
The following questions need to be asked:
- Is your company registered with PSIRA? More than likely the answer will be yes and the company will produce a PSIRA certificate – this is unfortunately not sufficient to prove compliance.
- Are you guards Independent Contractors or Employees?
If independent Contractors, this is an unfair labour practice where the guards do not receive any of the benefits that employees get. If the guard receives the majority of his income from the security company, by law he is deemed to be an employee and must be paid in accordance with SD6.
If employees, do they pay them according to the SD6? If they say yes, then can they produce their guard’s pay slips and their guard’s bank statements (3 months) in order to be sent through to a PSIRA inspector to be checked? (Guard / reaction Officer will need to authorize bank statement).
If the Security Company hesitates or delays to give you any of the above, especially the pay slips, it’s highly likely that they are illegal operators and that they are putting you at a major risk of serious fines from PSIRA. (You will need the guard / reaction officers consent on their personal information).
Should you choose to continue to keep the illegal operators, you should place the potential liability on your balance sheet of your financials and advise your residents of the risk to which they are exposed. This can result in fines of up to R1 million. It is your responsibility to make sure the security company is SD6 compliant before signing any contracts, whether it’s for guarding or armed response.
SAIDSA Control Room?: Does your service provider have a SAIDSA approved control room? If not, there are a few Insurance Companies that are now rejecting claims from homeowners due to the fact that your alarm system and service provider are not SAIDSA compliant. SAIDSA – The South African Intruder Detection Services Association.
To check your current service provider to make sure that you are not at risk of being fined, please email PSIRA at: email@example.com
Alternatively, I shall be happy to provide you with contact details for the Senior Inspector for your area or the Head of Enforcement and Compliance for PSIRA.