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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
PRIVATE SECURITY INDUSTRY REGULATORY AUTHORITY
Documents handed out
Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) Annual Report 2005
Role of Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority
The Committee heard a briefing from the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority. The briefing focussed on the functions of the Regulator in relation to the private security industry. All private security companies were required to be registered and comply with rules and regulations. Companies that did not comply with regulations had to pay fines, those that were found to have breached the law were handed over to the South African Police Services. Members concerns included measures that were taken by the Regulator to deal with security companies that contravened labour laws. Members wanted to know what had been done to deal with possible ‘turf wars’. The Regulator was busy filling vacant posts, such as those of inspectors. Some Members felt very strongly about security companies that had been operating outside the borders of the country. They enquired about steps taken to deal with those companies.
Briefing by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA)
Mr S Mogapi, Director: PSIRA, speaking on governance, said that PSIRA was governed and controlled by the Council which was appointed by the Minister of Safety and Security in consultation with the Cabinet. He emphasised that members of the council were independent from the private security industry with no financial interest in those companies. The Regulator was a statutory, semi-autonomous self-funding organ of the state and it operated in accordance with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority Act. The functions of the Regulator included the promotion of a legitimate private Security Industry, the enforcement of minimum standards and the encouragement of ownership of security businesses by the historically disadvantaged.
The role of the Council in relation to the Minister of Safety and Security was to oversee and provide strategic direction to PSIRA. The Council was accountable to the Minister through annual reports and other means. The entity could only operate through the Director. The Regulator's strategic objectives for the following three years were to commit to a democratic transparent and interactive council. Healthy relationships with stakeholders such as employer organisations and the Safety and Security Sector Education Training Authority (SETA) were to be upheld at all times.
Some of the priorities were to review legislation that affected the functions of the Regulator. Firearm registration in the security industry had to be controlled. Stable and sustainable financial positions were one of the things that would contribute to the effective operation of the Authority. PSIRA would promote ongoing research and analysis in respect of the private security industry to keep abreast of the latest developments.
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) said that it was correct for Government to regulate the security industry. She wanted to know whether there was research regarding ‘turf wars’. She enquired about the filling of the vacant positions, and what the position of locksmiths were.
Mr Majombozi, Councillor: PSIRA, replied that most locksmiths were compliant with the exception of the Western Cape, which was responsible for the majority of non compliance.
Mr Moashe (ANC) asked the power of the Regulator was with regard to security companies that operated outside the borders of the country. He reiterated Ms Van Wyk's question on vacant posts.
Mr Majombozi responded that PSIRA could regulate South African companies that were operating outside SA but it was not easy to detect non-compliance .He said that the filling of vacant posts was an ongoing process throughout the major centres. The Foreign Assistance Military Act does dealt with those companies that wanted to operate in places such as Iraq.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) enquired about intervention powers of the Regulator on labour relations matters. He said some security personnel did not have access to toilet facilities. He wanted to know how did the Regulator ensure the general population knew about the companies that were non-compliant.
Mr Majombozi replied that they were co-operating with the Department of Labour to investigate the violation of labour laws and would enforce the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. He admitted that the helpdesk and leaflets were not that effective. A communication strategy was being formulated and a road-show would be held throughout the country.
Ms Sosibo (ANC) asked for clarity about the firearms of suspended companies.
Mr Majombozi replied a number of illegal firearms were in the hands of industry players, others had stockpiles of arms and ammunitions. He stated that some of the questions were reflective of the challenges facing the Regulator, and cited examples of companies that were withholding the salaries of workers. Some companies wanted to bypass the Regulator and employ people as marshals in anticipation of the 2010 World Cup Soccer Tournament.
Ms M De Haas, Councillor: PSIRA, said that the Regulator had identified a lack of a proper communication strategy. She added that more public awareness plans were on the way. There were plans for a bargaining council which would help in solving the plight of underpaid security officers.
Mr B Kholwane (ANC) asked for the reason why the Regulator had fewer cases that were successfully prosecuted. He enquired about the number of women that owned security companies, and what the reasons were for PSIRA not complying with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). He was surprised that PSIRA still employed people on a temporary basis.
Mr Majombozi replied that PSIRA was not aware, at that stage, of the number of women that owned security companies in South Africa. The Regulator conducted its own investigations through its inspectors and criminal cases were handed to the SAPS. There were fewer prosecutions because it had emerged that most companies were not aware about the implications of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority Act. A dedicated SAPS unit was set up to investigate cases that were related to the industry. People who were employed on a three month contract were eligible to have their contracts extended for a six more months. The contracts could be terminated or made permanent depending on the nature of the work involved after the nine months period. He said they were still consulting with lawyers regarding the implication of complying with the PFMA
Ms A Van Wyk asked why fines were not collected.
Mr Majombozi replied that inspectors of the Regulator collected fines but there was also another person dedicated to collecting fines.
Mr S Mahote (ANC) wanted to know what was done to companies that were found to be wrong or non-compliant. He asked for clarification on the criteria used when security companies applied for firearms.
Mr Majombozi replied that PSIRA penalised non-compliant companies by imposing fines. He added that the fines did not have a prohibitive effect on the operators.
Mr De Haas said that PRISA was considering the ‘name and shame’ approach.
Mr N Diale (ANC) asked about the criteria used to award tenders. He wanted to know whether the demobilised soldiers were operating companies within the security industry.
Mr Majombozi replied that some people who were former soldiers wanted to register their companies and work in places like Iraq because they saw quicker ways of making money. Legislation did not allow for the existence of such companies, who would then operate in foreign countries under different guises.
Ms Sosibo asked whether there was a stipulated number of security companies required by law or if the process was open to anyone who wanted to open a security company.
Mr Majombozi replied that the numbers of registered companies fluctuated for different reasons. Some of the smaller companies were bought by the bigger ones while other would close after they could not get new tenders.
The Chairperson thanked the delegation and said that the Regulator was working very hard even though the PSIRA was a relatively new organisation. The Committee had received a pile of complaints from the public. She referred the complaints to Members so that they would try and investigate complaints at their constituencies.
The meeting was adjourned.
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