President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act in October 2021, introducing stricter regulations around the private security sector in South Africa.
While the law has not yet officially entered into force, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has welcomed the new legislation, which it says will improve conditions and protections for employees in the security sector.
The professional federation highlighted several specific changes in the new law, which it said should significantly improve working and service conditions within the industry:
- Minimum conditions of service – Cosatu said security companies often treat security guards as little more than âglorified slavesâ and fodder in the face of highly armed and dangerous money transit unions.
- Minimum training standards – The law introduces minimum training standards for security guards to ensure that they can perform their duties effectively and be able to protect their own lives, Cosatu said.
- Minimum standards for the security of cash in transit – This is essential as CIT security is often dispatched in extremely dangerous conditions with insufficient training, weapons, close body protection and armored vehicles against the CIT unions who have sufficient resources and often highly skilled former military personnel. qualified from neighboring states, Cosatu said.
Some unwanted changes
While the industry has widely welcomed these parts of the law, some groups have warned that the regulations go too far and could ultimately cause damage to the industry.
The legislation has been a source of controversy for several years, faced with backlash from opposition parties and parts of the security sector. One of the main sticking points is that the law introduces a South African ownership requirement of 51%.
It also gives the Minister of Police the power to unilaterally prescribe a different percentage of ownership and control over different categories of a security company if he considers it to be in the interests of national security. South Africa.
The opposition, the Democratic Alliance, has declared itself firmly against the regulation, which it says will lead to further international divestitures and job losses.
The group accused the government of effectively trying to expropriate property from foreign investors by denying their companies the right to do business in South Africa unless they sell their controlling stake.
The DA added that some of the biggest security companies that help keep South Africans safe have significant foreign ownership.
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