Security Industry Regulation Bill: hearings

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04 May 2001
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

4 May 2001

Chairperson: Mr M George

Documents handed out
-Security Officers Interim Board: Executive Summary of Submission
(Full submission and other documents of interest: e-mail
- Armor Group
- Presentation by the Policing, Private Security, Legal Practice, Justice and Correctional Services Sector Education and Training Authority [POSLEC SETA]

The Security Officers Interim Board (SOIB) will appear before the committee again next week so that the committee can have a proper opportunity to question them. SOIB expressed their support for high penalties for unregistered businesses. They criticised the police for imposing fines which are too low (as low as R300) or for not properly investigating this type of offence when SOIB reports it to them.

ArmorGroup suggested that citizenship and permanent resident requirements for directors must be removed from the Bill. They also request that there must be no restrictions of foreign investment into the South African security industry. The committee responded that it was never its intent to restrict foreign investment. The committee expressed a willingness to make the amendments necessary to correct the situation.

The POSLEC SETA emphasised that the core function of the SETA is to regulate education and training. Their primary concern is that the Bill must be clear that the function of quality assurance must be dealt with by this SETA.

Security Officers Interim Board (SOIB
Professor F Visser of SOIB led representatives from this body in making the presentation. The comments they made included:
- The previous, more extensive preamble should be re-instated. It sets the tone better than the current preamble.
- They are working with the Department of Labour to enforce the payment of at least the minimum wage. They want to discourage the exploitation of individual security officers in the country. Currently problems are created because these officers are underpaid.
- The Board supports the regulation of in-house security. At present there is no consistency of service and training. They also need an improved status of security officers. They need quality assurance and also firearm control to prevent the creation of a new army.
- Currently the Bill excludes direct representation of the members of the industry. The Board criticises this. In all other regulated professions members of the occupation are involved. There should not be total exclusion of the industry. They need some kind of involvement of the members of the industry.
- Inspectors will need adequate powers or else there will be ''paper regulation''. With paper regulation there will be no proper control and no proper monitoring and regulation. Thus without proper powers there will not be proper regulation.
- They support the idea of high penalties for unregistered business. They have put together a report which shows that they have reported 180 cases of unregistered businesses to the police. The police do not treat the crime seriously enough even though it is a serious crime. Sometimes the police only fine the offender R300. The Board recommends sufficiently high penalties.
- Finally they noted that there is some uncertainty regarding whether the code of conduct is applicable to persons registered in SA but for conduct outside of SA.

The Board concluded by saying that they support the principle of the Bill wholeheartedly. It is a positive step forward. Proper legislation must be adopted to efficiently regulate the industry.

Committee members posed the following questions to the panel:
- Unregistered businesses must be flushed out. What is the maximum fine for this under the current law? What can be put in the Bill to flush out unregistered businesses? (Mr Fereira - IFP)

- If in-house security officers are satisfied that the quality of the training they receive meets their needs then why should that be a problem for the Board? (Reverend Meshoe - ACDP)

- What ''teeth'' does the Board need that it does not have now to ensure that the ''fly-by-night'' companies no longer exist? (Ms Van Wyk - UDM)

These questions were not answered in this meeting. It was agreed that there were so many questions that the members wanted to ask the Board but there was no time as it would not be fair to delay the other presenters. The committee decided that the Board would appear before the Committee the following week (9 May) so that the committee would have the opportunity to put questions to them.

ArmorGroup (with Webber Wentzel Bowens)
Mr J Garratt (Managing Director) of the group made the presentation. Points made include:
- The private security officer industry is growing due to an increase in crime and growing insecurity.
- Technology is moving the industry away from human resources and toward electronics.
- Africa is seen as a major market. In this regard South Africa is seen as the gateway to Africa and to the SADC region specifically.
- South Africa is a stable and investor friendly market. ArmorGroup is concerned that restrictions on ownership of a SA company will impact on their current investment into the SADC.
- The Bill does not distinguish the commercial management of the business from the operational management of the services.
- The Bill says that there will be exemptions but it does not specify where exemptions will be made.

In summary ArmorGroup requested:
- That citizenship and permanent resident requirements for directors must be removed from the Bill.
- They also request that there must be no restrictions of foreign investment into the South African security industry.

In conclusion Mr Garratt said that they would be happy to submit any drafts for amendments if the committee should wish them to do so.

The Chairperson commented that it was never the committee's intention to restrict foreign investment. Advocate Swart agreed and asked the presenter to suggest to the committee which sections should be amended.

Ms Van Wyk suggested that the committee should consult with the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the issue of foreign investment.
The Chairperson agreed with her.

In conclusion the Chairperson noted that he looked forward to getting ''something'' from Mr Garratt.

The representatives from POSLEC were Mr C Monyela and Mr P Nkuna.

Mr Monyela said that the POSLEC SETA (Policing, Private Security, Legal Practice, Justice and Correctional Services) was launched on 20 March 2000. One of its functions is to provide Education Training and Quality Assurance (ETQA) within the sector.
POSLEC entered into an agreement with SOIB in which they agree that SOIB will be responsible for regulation and law enforcement within the industry while the POSLEC SETA will be mainly responsible for education and training quality assurance within the industry. This agreement was entered into to avoid duplication of work between the 2 entities as they have the same legal framework to operate as entities.

Mr Nkuna emphasised that the core function of the SETA is to regulate education and training. The Bill must be clear that the function of quality assurance must be dealt with by the SETA.

Advocate Gaum (NNP) asked about registration and law enforcement and quality assurance. Does the Board have a role to play in this regard or is this area for the Department of Labour?

Mr Nkuna replied that they are quite flexible. They have confidence in both the Board and the Department of Labour. Their point was that the POSLEC SETA should be involved in the quality assurance aspect.

The Chairperson commented that security officer training is not like training in any other field. These people are trained to defend themselves and sometimes to shoot. Sometimes they may have to kill people, sometimes even innocent people could get hurt. The training of officers was of a unique nature. He asked where POSLEC fitted into in this kind of training environment.

Mr Nkuna replied that there must be a body to set what should go into the training of the police and the service providers. That is the role that the POSLEC SETA must play.

In conclusion Chairperson George noted that the Security Officers Interim Board would come before the committee on Wednesday 9 May 2001. He asked Advocate Kok to have a summary of the submissions ready for the committee by Tuesday.

The meeting was adjourned.


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