The Security Association of South Africa has noted, with concern, an article that was published in the Cape Argus on 25 November (Killers Drug Addicts are Guarding you.)
“The Cape Argus article stated that convicted criminals are slipping through employee screening processes and being employed by security companies in South Africa,” says Costa Diavastos, President of SASA. “However, SASA wishes to clarify that this would more likely be the case, if the consumer of security services, has contracted a non-compliant security services company,” says Diavastos.
SASA has for many years now been an advocate of security industry compliance. “One of the greatest challenges facing our industry at the moment, is the fact that non-compliant security companies are still being awarded tenders by government and private sector clients,” says Diavastos. “The reason that these non-compliant companies are able to offer their services at such exceptionally low prices is because they flout the laws that govern our industry," he adds.
Diavastos says that examples of this include not paying security officer employees minimum wages, and not providing employees with adequate training. “It’s easy to undercut reputable security services companies in the tendering process when you are non-compliant. “The problem is that the consumer of the security services ends up with a security officer on the premises who is untrained, unregistered and unscreened,” he says. “In addition, that security officer who is being paid less than minimum wage would easily be open to collusion bribery and corruption.”
SASA adds that there is actually also an onus here on the consumer of security services. “It is in fact a criminal offense to contract the services of a non-compliant security company,” says Diavastos. “Those consumers that continue to transgress the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) Act, do run the risk of heavy penalties or even jail time.”
As the regulatory authority for the private security industry, PSIRA is responsible for putting in place statutory minimums and enforcing legislative requirements. According to a section of the PSIRA Act of 2001, any person who contracts a security service that goes against the provisions of the act - is guilty of an offence.
As world-class professional body, SASA supports industry compliance and seeks to provide awareness and support for businesses in South Africa. “We’re able to assist the private and public sector in vetting security services providers,” he says.
“As criteria for membership, all of SASA’s members are fully compliant with all industry and national legislation,” says Diavastos. “As an industry we are working closely with several industry bodies, including PSIRA, to try and root out non-compliance,” he says. “The article, which appeared in the Cape Argus is yet another example of how a few bad apples continue to tarnish our industry’s reputation,” added Diavastos. “As an association our role is to ensure that we all follow the same law and deliver exemplary service and professionalism,” he concluded.