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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
3 May 2001
SECURITY INDUSTRY REGULATION INDUSTRY BILL: HEARINGS
Locksmiths Association of SA submission
Security Association of SA submission
Security Industry Association of South Africa submission
Public hearings continued on the Security Industry Bill. The Locksmiths Association of South Africa, the Security Association of South Africa and the Security Industry Association of South Africa presented submissions.
The Locksmiths Association argued at length that they should be excluded from the ambit of the Bill as that they are a self-regulating industry. The Security Association of SA supported the proper regulation of the industry but had concerns that the regulating authority would be bogged down by the performance of other administrative functions that could easily have been outsourced. This would mean that proper regulation would suffer as a result. The Security Industry Association also strongly supported the Bill and envisaged it to be a means of hastening the transformation process in the industry.
Locksmiths Association of SA (LASA)
Mr Gordan Campbell and Mr Darrel Schleeburger conducted the presentation focussing on having locksmiths excluded from being regulated by the Bill. Mr Campbell explained that LASA had for the past 26 years been self regulated. LASA is the only locksmiths association that is registered with the Department of Labour.
They conceded that due to the classified nature of their trade, regulation is required but that regulation should be done by other means. Mr Campbell pointed out that they are not in the security service industry. Due to the broad nature of the Bill it automatically includes LASA within the ambit of the Bill even though it had no bearing on the locksmiths industry. Mr Schleeburger stated that they applaud the Government's attempt to regulate the security service industry but that the Bill is too broad in its application.
As the Bill reads at present, locksmiths would have to register with the regulating authority described in the Bill. LASA submits that the Bill would be regulating a profession that is already regulating itself.
Mr M Booi (ANC) stated that if the Bill is trying to regulate an industry that is already regulated of what value is the Bill then. How had the issue of labour been dealt with?
Mr Schleeburger stated that the issues on labour in the Bill had already been dealt with by LASA. A labour consultant is in place to deal with labour issues. The association due to the exclusivity of their work only does training.
Adv P Swart (DP) made reference to the mention of a Locksmiths Bill in their submission and asked whether such a Bill has been presented to Parliament.
Mr Campbell affirmed that the Bill had been placed before Parliament. It was however decided by the department that the Bill would be held in abeyance subject to the Security Industry Regulation Bill being passed. Mr Schleeburger added that the Minister had then agreed in principle that Security Industry Regulation Bill would not enhance the locksmiths industry. It is for this reason that the Locksmiths Bill was drafted.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) stated that LASA had asked to be excluded from the ambit of the Bill but as yet they had been given no concrete reasons as to why such exclusion should be allowed. He was also concerned that if such exclusion is allowed, what guarantees were there that LASA would not become a threat to the state in the future.
Mr Schleeburger stated that the current Securities Act does not include locksmiths for exactly the reasons that they are arguing. The Bill does not benefit the locksmiths industry but places a huge administrative burden on them. He further argued that locksmiths are traditionally small businesses and that the Bill would require their members to pay a fee to the regulating authority even though it holds no benefit to them. This increases the financial strain on these small businesses.
Mr Schleeburger reacted that the Bill was trying to regulate where regulation was already in place. The emphasis of the Bill should rather be on those that are not regulated. LASA is not a band of renegades; it has a code of ethics.
Mr Booi asked about what LASA has been doing to empower disadvantaged people. He added that the Bill at least makes provision for this.
Mr Schleeburger stated that LASA is involved in assisting small businesses to develop themselves. He did however point out that it must be remembered that the locksmith's business is very specialised.
The Chair asked to what extent do members of LASA deal with firearms in their daily business.
Mr Schleeburger stated that they do not work or deal with firearms in any aspect of their businesses.
Security Association of South Africa (SASA)
Mr Basil Carlston branch chairperson to Kwazulu-Natal delivered the presentation. SASA is registered as a non-profit company and is a voluntary association of security professionals from across the complete spectrum of the security industry. It is neither an employer or employee body and takes no part in wage negotiations. SASA is genuinely supportive of the overarching aims of the proposed Act to regulate the security industry and to exercise control over the occupation of security service providers. However, the Association is concerned that the remit of the proposed Authority would be too wide and that the attention to the core activities would suffer as a result.
Recommendations in this context include avoiding duplication with other government departments, particularly in regard to education and training. In addition to reduce the management and administrative load by the setting up of a separate body to carry out the mundane function of registration. SASA is concerned that over regulation and standardisation in the electronic security sector would be detrimental to entrepreneurial spirit and dynamic innovation in the industry.
The concerns within the security industry that the proposed Council's lack of knowledge in the security area and the possibility that it may be unbalanced in its approach, need to be addressed. The powers afforded to inspectors under the proposed Act give rise to concerns about the knowledge and training of them, especially those that will operate within the more sophisticated sectors of the industry. It is also of concern that inspectors will potentially have access to extremely sensitive business information and that the scope for the misuse of this information by inspectors exists. SASA recommends that severe penalties for the misuse of information by inspectors should be included in the Act and that inspectors should specialise in the various sectors of the industry.
Notwithstanding the above, SASA's concern that the fact that the Bill currently only seeks to regulate registered security service providers should be addressed and inspectors empowered to take immediate and firm action against unregistered, 'fly-by-night' security service providers. A key component of the Act would be the regulations that support it. SASA believes that draft regulations should be published for public comment and that the requirement to do so is enshrined in the Act.
Mr M Booi (ANC) stated that he had concerns over unregistered companies and the havoc, which they created in the industry. He added that unions had suggested a tribunal court as a solution to this problem. What are SASA's views on this suggestion?
Mr Booi additionally asked what the implications were to outsourcing some of the functions of the Board. He wanted clarity on it.
Mr Carlston stated that a tribunal court would be a useful tool in dealing with unscrupulous security service providers. He added that SASA's suggestion of outsourcing some of the Board's functions is aimed at alleviating their administrative burden. Any logistical problems associated with outsourcing could surely be sorted out.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) stated that there are allegations that members of the Security Officers Board had vested interests and therefore they were not held in high esteem.
What are your feelings on the issue?
Mr Carlston reacted that esteem is generally related to leadership and the ability to perform. The problem was that when complaints were lodged with the Board, action was not taken and resultantly confidence in the Board was lost.
Ms A Van Wyk (UDM) referred to SASA's statement that the number of sectors in the industry to be regulated had increased and that regulation was going to be a monumental task. She asked if SASA's suggestion that the functions of regulation and registration being separated are logical in light of the fact that registration is the first step of regulation. Could clarity be shed on the matter?
Mr Carlston stated it is obvious that regulation is going to be difficult. SASA strongly feels that the core function of the authority or board should be regulation. Everyone in the industry should be regulated whether registered or not. The first step in alleviating the burden on the authority is to outsource registration. Proper regulation is the only way to solve the problem with 'fly by night' companies.
Mr A Maziya (ANC) referred to the allegations that members of the Security Officers Board had vested interests. How would SASA ideally see the board constituted?
Mr Carlston stated that the board could possibly be constituted of members who have a broad knowledge of the industry such as academics. Another option could be having advisory committees to the board.
The Chair asked how SASA feels about the issue of in-house security. Do you support in-house security?
Mr Carlston stated that there were different types of in-house security. SASA felt that everybody should be regulated who was in the industry and that there should be no exceptions. However in-house security in itself is very small in major corporations and should not pose a problem as far as regulation is concerned. The Bill should be read in its basic framework and flesh should be added in a phased approach.
Security Industry Association of South Africa (SIASA)
The representatives were: Mr Dladla, the president of the association, Rev Thsele, the deputy-president, Mr T Ndlovu, Mr T Miller and Mr J Mamabolo.
SIASA is an association, which is representative of employers in the industry. It is duly registered in terms of the Labour Relations Act. SIASA applauds and encourages government's attempt to regulate the industry. Mr Dladla stated that SIASA made every attempt to encourage open dialogue with trade unions and the public at large. SIASA consequently supports the Bill even though regulating the industry would have a financial impact on the employers in the industry. The past activities of certain security service providers have brought the industry into disrepute and SIASA welcomed the Bill as a means of regulation to see to it that the mistakes of the past were not repeated.
One of the key aims of SIASA is that government should democratise the private security industry. They felt it long overdue. A concern of SIASA was that much had been said about 'fly by night' operators but no mention had even been made by any of the presenters about black economic empowerment in the industry. It is hoped that the Bill would sufficiently address the issue of black economic empowerment in the industry.
The industry is still largely dominated by a select few and no structures are in place to route out former apartheid structures that operate within the industry. SIASA therefore welcomes government involvement in the industry as transformation is at a snail's pace in the security service sector.
At present 90% of the employees in the industry comprised of blacks but very few if any were allowed to enter management positions. In 1998 registration fees were increased from R40 to R2300. The reasoning, SIASA is convinced that it was done to prevent new black security service providers from entering the market.
As far as the powers of inspectors of the regulating authority is concerned, it should be sufficient to deal with the rotten apples in the industry yet not too extensive so as to be draconian. The fact that certain organisations want to be exempted from the Bill is unacceptable to SIASA as it would seem preferential and create imbalances in the industry. SIASA feels that members of the regulating authority should not have a vested interest and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) must do a background check to confirm this.
Car guards and house sitters (protect houses) should also be covered by the Bill.
On the issue of in-house security, SIASA recommended that the Bill should regulate it as well. This would shed light on where and by whom they are trained.
In conclusion, SIASA cited Australia, Argentina and Brazil as a few of the countries where regulation in the security service industry had succeeded.
Mr M Booi (ANC) asked what are SIASA's benchmarks for transformation. From the presentations it would seem that the in-house security industry is a well-run industry. On what basis does SIASA suggest that it should be regulated in terms of the Bill?
Mr Mamabolo stated that they are using the transformation in the SAPS and the SANDF as their benchmarks. On the issue of in-house security, one must be mindful of the fact that the standards of in-house security and private security companies are vastly different. Mr Mamabolo stated that in the mining sector the core activity is mining and yet they wish to regulate their own in-house security. It is impossible to compare their security to that of a private company whose core activity is security. SIASA believes that the training and regulation could never be on par unless in-house security falls within the ambit of the Bill.
Adv Swart asked if SIASA is an exclusively black organisation. He also asked what are SIASA's views regarding representativeness on the regulating authority's board and whether labour issues should be dealt by the department of Labour or the regulating authority itself. He added that SATAWU supports representativeness on the board.
Mr Dlaldla stated at present there is only one union represented on the current regulating authority and that other unions are complaining. This is only the view of SATAWU. SIASA is a predominantly black business but they do have white members.
Mr Dladla felt that the regulating authority should deal with labour issues with itself.
Mr A Maziya (ANC) asked why the NIA should perform the clearance procedures of the regulating authority. Are the current clearance procedures inadequate?
Mr Dladla stated that they have encountered a great deal of opposition to transformation in the industry. He added that many remnants from the Apartheid era were still prevalent in the industry. Mr Dladla emphasised that there are forces in the industry engaged in anti-black activities.
Mr Maziya remained unconvinced that the NIA should perform the clearances. He it inappropriate to expect the NIA to perform this function.
Mr R Zondo (ANC) asked how SIASA felt about locksmiths being included in the Bill.
Mr Dladla felt that the government should reconsider including locksmiths under the ambit of the Bill.
Adv Gaum stated that it is not necessary to include car-guards and house sitters under the Bill as they are not guarding property but merely caring for it in one's absence.
Mr Mamabolo disagreed. He stated that one shows care towards living objects and that one guards inanimate objects. They are guarding motor vehicles and other types of property. The Bill should protect them as they are currently being exploited.
The meeting was adjourned.
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