By Annalise Kempen
Not a day goes by that we do not see or interact with a private security officer - either when we visit a shopping centre, have a security crisis at home or at the office or when a private security officer passes us while patrolling the neighbourhoods in their vehicles. After all, with 560 114 registered and active security officers who are employed by 11 306 registered active security companies (at March 2021), this is a huge industry which we are all well aware of. Yet, managing such a huge industry can be no easy task.
Have you ever thought about who takes responsibility if something goes wrong in the security industry? When a police member does something wrong, we know where to complain, but what about the private security industry? Does the responsibility lie solely with the company that employs the individual security officer and which has been contracted to provide the service, or is there an authority that fulfils an oversight duty in terms of private security?
The Private Security Industry Regulation Act 56 of 2001, which came into operation in February 2002, provides for the regulation of the private security industry and to establish a regulatory authority for that purpose: the latter is known as the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA). The primary objective of this Authority is to regulate the private security industry and to exercise effective control over the practice of the occupation of security service providers in the public and national interest and in the interest of the private security industry itself.
The PSiRA Council
Section 6 of the Private Security Industry Regulation Act 56 of 2001 provides that the Minister of Police appoints a Council, comprising five councillors, to govern and control PSiRA. Councillors are appointed for a period not exceeding three years during which period they have to take steps to achieve the objects of PSiRA, as discussed above and which are detailed in section 3 of Act 56 of 2001. In addition, the Council has to ensure performance of the duties of PSiRA; oversee and exercise general control over the performance of the functions of PSiRA and of the activities of the persons appointed by the Authority to perform the work of PSiRA.
The Council is accountable to the Minister of Police for the performance of its functions and therefore has to provide the Minister with such information and particulars as he or she may require in writing in connection with the functions of PSiRA or any other matter relating to the Authority. It is also the responsibility of the Council to supply the Minister of Police with a copy of the annual report on the activities of the Authority and the Council, in addition to audited financial statements, which must be tabled in Parliament. An annual report should contain a fair account of the regulatory activities of PSiRA, information about any other matter required by the Minister of Police in writing, and information on any matter which is necessary or expedient to bring to the attention of the Minister.
The current Council, comprising Dr Leah Mofomme (Chairperson); Dr Matome Ralebipi (Deputy Chairperson); Dr Sithembile Mbete; Mr Nhlanhla Ngubane and Ms Thandeka Ntshangase, was appointed by Mr Bheki Cele, the Minister of Police in January 2021.
Meet the Council members
Servamus had the opportunity to get some insight into the role and functioning of PSiRA by asking the current PSiRA Council members about their views on private security and their role as Council members.
Lt-Gen (Dr) Leah Mofomme, should be a familiar name to Servamus’s readers as she retired from the SAPS as Deputy National Commissioner after 30 years’ loyal service. She then served as a commissioner of the Road Transport Inspectorate at the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency for six years. Dr Mofomme is the 2nd Vice-President of the International Association of Women Police, and the current chairperson of the PSiRA Council.
Mr Matome Ralebipi, who is the deputy chairperson, is the chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Roads Agency Limpopo (RAL). After he completed his articles with KPMG in 1997, he worked for various organisations including the Transnet Group, SAA, Gobodo Inc and NIA. He is a member of various professional bodies including the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), Institute of Directors (IoD) and Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).
Dr Sithembile Mbete is a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria and the Programme Director of Apolitical Academy Southern Africa. She also serves on the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Electoral System.
Mr Nhlanhla Ngubane is a business development associate with Zinamafu Consulting. As a founder member of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union, he is still involved with education-related structures and councils such as TVET colleges and higher education institutions.
Ms Thandeka Ntshangase, is a qualified economist and project manager. She is currently a shareholder and Director at a niche transport company called Logico Logistics.
It is clear that the current Council members have amassed a wealth of expertise and qualifications. That is why they believe that their experience in local and international law enforcement, security, the transport industry, higher education, governance, skills development, finances, compliance, research and human resources and as executive managers will serve them well in guiding the private security industry.