Security Industry Regulation Bill: deliberations

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29 August 2001
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


29 August 2001

Relevant Documents:
Security Industry Regulation Bill [B12 - 2001]

Chairperson: Mr M E George

The Committee deliberated on Clauses 1 to 6 with the Safety and Security Secretariat guiding the Committee on what previous decisions had been taken by it and what must still be decided.

The definition of "security service" was discussed at length as it was initially felt the definition was too broad. The ANC informed the Committee that it had changed its mind about the deletion of the definitions of "polygraphist" and "locksmith" from the Bill. Discussion also ensued on the accountability and the governance of the Regulatory Authority, especially the role of Parliament in the process. The representation of the industry on the council of the Authority was again an issue that remains unresolved. Another dimension was added to the existing discussion when the Chair suggested that Parliament have a say in the persons that are to be appointed to the council.

The Committee raised a concern about the lack of quorum due to the absence of many ANC members. The Chair however assured members that the Committee would only be dealing with the Bill on an informal basis and therefore a quorum was not required. The Chairperson asked the Committee to raise only issues that were of concern to them as a matter of expediency.

Security Industry Regulation Bill
The Committee unanimously agreed to change the name of the Bill. It was suggested that the word "private" be inserted in the title of the Bill. The title of the Bill would now read: "Private Security Industry Regulation Bill"

Chapter 1: Definitions [and Interpretation]
The Committee unanimously agreed to delete "and Interpretation" from the heading of Chapter 1.

Clause 1: Definitions
Adv Kok, Chief Legal Advisor: Department of Safety and Security, pointed out the changes to the Bill that the Committee had previously made:
- to delete the definitions of "locksmiths" and " polygraphist".
- the definition of "person" was to be extended.
- the definition of "private investigator" should be narrowed down.
- armoured vehicles should be included in the definition of "security equipment"
- backyard welders should be excluded from the definition of "security service".
- the definition of "security service" should consequently be narrowed down.

In reply to the Chair asking why these agreed changes had not yet been effected to the Bill, Adv Kok replied that they had been done electronically. He would make paper copies available to the Committee in due course.

"security service"
Adv P Swart (DP) pointed out that the definition of "security officer" must still be finalised as it ties in with the definition of "security service". He added that the issue of in-house security services also remains unresolved.

Adv A Gaum (NNP) said that as the definition of "security service" stands, any person giving advice on alarm installations would be rendering a security service and thus falls within the definition. Ms A Van Wyk (UDM) agreed and said that the definition of "security service" should definitely be narrowed down.

The Chair said that the current definition seems to create a grey area and asked for an explanation.

Mr Soman (Safety and Security Secretariat) explained that the reason the definition had been broadly formulated was to prevent persons giving security advice from being excluded from regulation.

Adv Swart asked if a labour broker who merely supplies security officers to a particular concern is regarded as a person providing a "security service". Mr Soman replied that this was the case.

Adv Swart felt it unfair to regard labour brokers as persons involved in the security industry, as they are not themselves security providers.

Ms Van Wyk disagreed and stated that if labour brokers wish to be involved in the security industry, they must be regulated along with everyone else.

Mr O Kgauwe (ANC) agreed with Ms Van Wyk and said that the ANC is fully supportive of the clause.

Adv Kok explained that the reason labour brokers would be covered by the definition is that many security firms are now proclaiming to be labour brokers. In doing so many firms are escaping regulation and do not have to abide by the rules applying to a security provider.

Adv Swart asked what happens if the labour broker is not exclusively involved with security work.

Ms Van Wyk pointed out that the provision is not aimed at labour brokers in general. If the labour broker however involves itself in the security industry, then it must be subject to regulation. The Chair agreed.

Adv Gaum stated that the Democratic Alliance accepts the Department's explanation.

The Committee agreed that if possible the definition should be narrowed down whilst at the same time not creating any loopholes.

"security officer"
Adv Kok stated that only a person who gives security advice for a fee would be included within the definition of a "security officer". People giving free advice would not be covered.

Mr E Ferreira (IFP) stated that a salesman at Pick 'n Pay giving advice to a customer on the purchasing of a small wall safe would be doing so for a benefit. Is this person included under the definition?

The Chair stated that the Department and the Secretariat should try to narrow down the definition.

"polygraphist" and "locksmith"
Mr A Maziya (ANC) informed the Committee that the ANC had changed their position about the Committee's previous decision to delete the definitions of "locksmith" and "polygraphist" from the Bill. They now wish for these to remain in the Bill. The ANC at the time could not furnish reasons for their decision.

Adv Swart stated that much time and effort had gone into the Committee's decision to delete these definitions. He insisted that the ANC provide concrete reasons behind their decision. Adv Gaum agreed with this request.

Mr Maziya agreed to forward the reasons to the Committee at the next meeting.

Chapter 2: Security Industry Regulatory Authority
Clause 4: Functions of Authority
Ms Van Wyk suggested that a provision be included in this clause that would make it compulsory for the Regulatory Authority to report to Parliament.

The Chair agreed because even though the interim board was supposed to report to the Minister, it never did. He felt it necessary for the Regulatory Authority to report to Parliament, as they had not been accountable to anyone in the past for their actions.

The Committee agreed to the suggestion.

The Department and the Secretariat also wished to make some technical changes to the clause. The Chair asked them to come back to the Committee with concrete proposals.

Clause 5: Governance of Authority
Reference was made to Clause 5(4) which makes it a requirement for the Authority to perform its functions in accordance with guidelines and policy directions set out by the Minister.

Adv Gaum felt that the clause gives the Minister too much power over the Authority. Adv Swart agreed that there needs to be some semblance of independence by the Authority.

The Chair noted that the Minister is not able to set guidelines unilaterally. He has to do so in accordance with the Act. If there were an abuse of power by the Minister, he would have to answer to Parliament. Mr George stressed that the Bill is very extensive and does not give the Minister the opportunity to abuse his power.

Ms Van Wyk and Mr Kgauwe agreed with the Chair.

The Committee agreed to Adv Gaum's suggestion that the Committee deal with the issue later.

Clause 6: Establishment and constitution of Council and appointment of councillors
Adv Swart said that the Committee needs to decide what the ideal composition of the Council should be. He felt that the Council should have representatives from the industry.

The Chair assured him that the Council would have representatives from the industry. He felt that Parliament should have some sort of say in the candidates to be appointed to the Council.

Ms Van Wyk suggested that the Minister publish names of possible candidates to be appointed to the Council. In this way the public could give comment on the possible candidates.

The Chair said that the suggestion was good but the question still remains as to how Parliament is to influence the process. He believed that Parliament should be involved given the history of the Authority's board. He asked the Department and the Secretariat to come up with suggestions on how Parliament is to involve itself in the process.

The Chair noted that the issue was complex and suggested dealing with the clause at a later time. The Committee agreed.

The meeting was adjourned.


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