PSIRA: A watchdog without teeth…?


Some time ago I dealt with one of the most horrifying experiences in my combined military -, and security career when after a mere two (2) hours of personally affecting an arrest on a security officer that committed theft of a Client’s property, I had to return to the same site to further the investigation of the replacement security officer’s murder by a fellow off-duty security officer.

Following an incident like this one would think that the law, and every related aspect would take its due course, and that besides for the imminent criminal prosecution, the perpetrator would be banished from the security fraternity with the most fitting disgust, dishonour, and shame. If only this was the case… Whilst writing this article (and in order to verify the facts behind the specific case study made mention of) I went onto the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) website yet again to determine if the perpetrator was still registered with this supposed industry watchdog established to govern all private security service providers, and related security activities in South Africa.

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I clicked on the appropriate link (available to the public) which took me to the registration confirmation page, entered the perpetrator’s initials, surname, and ID number, and alas was automatically furnished with a confirmation page stating that he is still a registered security officer. So hypothetically speaking after this dreadful occurrence this individual could have gone and knocked on any security services provider’s door for employment, and with some of the slack pre-employment verification processes e.g. criminal background checks, and past employment verification not being applied properly (as orchestrated by some security companies) landed a job without anyone being the wiser as to his dubious, and most disgusting past.

Worst of all is that this person / someone with a similar background can be deployed on your business premises at this very moment; supposedly protecting your human capital, ensuring that your valuable property is safeguarded, and your product does not fall into the ‘’wrong hands’’. It is an unfortunate truth that not everyone entrusted with your safety and security, and employed by that prestigious (and well known & reputable) security services provider is of the desired calibre, and background, and that they do not necessarily have your (and their employer’s) wellbeing, and best interest at heart.

But to get back to the supposed toothless watchdog; how does a regulatory authority regulate an industry that is just about as large as the South African Military -, and Police Force combined without paying any cognisance to banning the undesirable elements from the industry? From experience there are alleged murderers, rapists, sexual deviants, hijackers, thieves, criminal syndicate members, fraudsters, white collar criminals etc. masquerading as security officials, and using their position, and ideal placement to further their agenda – and on the flipside of the coin there are a host of alleged illegal activities committed by security companies e.g. employing foreigners that are not even registered with PSIRA, remunerating security officials far below the prescribed rates etc.



Image result for psiraRegulating this vast industry (security) cannot be easy, and being convinced that PSIRA is standing at the base of a mountain strewn with obstacles e.g. number of private security companies / individuals operating in South Africa; not even registered to start off with, not complying with the rules, and regulations prescribed by law etc. I am not laying the blame squarely on their shoulders – but if you are the proverbial regulator, and guardian of the pool that all security services providers recruits from, then invest more effort, and due diligence in doing it right, and if your creed proclaims; ‘’Creating Safer Communities…’’ start living up to that.

In my next article I would highlight some practical means for the business owner to safeguard themselves against those security services providers / security officials that unfortunately act outside the realms of respect, honour, and dignity in the provision, and execution of their services / prescribed duties.

I dedicate this article to XX; the dearly departed security officer which in my view was a selfless hero, and security professional stalwart (championing his prescribed duties, and paying the ultimate price in the execution of his duty).

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Johan Fourie is a 39-year old management professional, with close to two decades of working experience predominantly within the defence and security industry. During his tenure, he had an opportunity to get exposure to a wide array of industries e.g. warehouse -, hotel -, casino -, mining -, corporate -, retail -, residential -, and facility security management. Johan’s passion for the security industry is evident in his published work which, focuses around providing the consumer of security related products, and services with valuable, and thought provoking insight to further the protection of their human capital, personal security, business operation, property, and product. Johan’s ambition extends to managing a national / Sub-Saharan Africa corporate security concern, and he is open to explore an opportunity in this particular regard.