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Gov’t gets tough on Security companies

Publishing Date : 20 July, 2015


Routine inspection of private security services is a must

Parliament has repealed the Control of Security Guard Services Act of 2007 as it prepares to replace it with the Private Security Services Act of 2015 which was passed on Wednesday this week.

The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi is expected to publish the bill in the national gazette any time soon following the unanimous support of the bill by Members of the house.

“This Act may be cited as the Private Security Services Act, 2015 and shall come into operation on such a date as the Minister may by Order published into the Gazette appoint,” the Minister told the house.

The new Act would regulate all trades related to security services including, security guards, manufacturing, importing, distributing or advertising of monitoring devices or surveillance equipment, private investigators, locksmiths, use of security equipment, installation, servicing and repairing of security equipment, monitoring signals or transmissions from electronic security equipment amongst others.

The new law will force security traders to confidentiality oath and carries a fine of P5 000 or a two Months prison term for contravening this particular provision.

“A licensee or former licensee shall not divulge to anyone, either directly or indirectly any information acquired by him or her in the course of engaging in or carrying on the business in respect of which the licence is or was held except for the purpose of legal proceedings,”  the bill states is section 31.

The new law further introduced routine inspection of private security services by selected public service employees. The Inspectors would be chosen and appointed by the Minister and are empowered by the new law to access any data contained in private security company computers. Anyone who obstruct an inspector in carrying out this kind of duty commits an offence and stands to be imprisoned for two Months or fined P10 000 or to both.

A maximum fine of P50 000, three months jail term or both would be imposed to those who operate without a licence. The licence is to be issued by a licensing board following through vetting of applicants.

“When an application for licence in terms of section 17, is lodged with the Board, the Board shall consult the Commissioner of Police and may make whatever investigations it thinks fit and shall, having regard to the interests of the public, thereafter determine the application,” Kgathi told the house.

The new Act establishes a private security service licensing board which will consist of three representatives of government, two representatives of the private sector, two representatives of the security association and two additional members from the public. The Chairperson of the board would be appointed by the Minister from the existing members. The Minister would further appoint the Secretary of the Board from his choice of qualified public service employees.

The Act further gives the Minister power to limit or suspend the application of all or any of the provisions of this Act, “either generally or in respect of a particular person, class or description of persons for such period and subject to such conditions as he or she thinks.”

The former Judge of the High Court who sits in Parliament as specially elected Member of the house, Unity Dow said the broad security legislation has come at the right time as it is a show of a robust government structure.
She supported the bill because she strongly believes that laws should be changed to keep up with the ever changing international trends. The contention was that this particular bill does not only deal with one aspect of security being guards, but the broad area of the trade including document inspections, surveillance and others.

“I stand to support the passing of this bill into law. This 2015 bill recognises where we are today and could not have come at a better time,” Dow pointed out.



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