New chapter for SA's private security industry

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cape Town - The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) is determined to get the year off to a good start, and nothing proves this more than the promising report it tabled before Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police.

Previously, the entity has received qualified reports from the Auditor General. Committee chairperson Sindi Chikunga said that in the past, she and her team had been left distressed after PSIRA appeared before them.

PSIRA last briefed the committee in November last year, with committee members raising serious concerns. Among these were the non-payment of fees by security companies, the presence of illegal operators and firearms in the industry and a lack of vetting of applicant companies for criminal records.

On Thursday, PSIRA's new director Manabewa Chauke and his team tabled before the committee their turnaround strategy, which, for the first time, was largely welcomed.

Chauke said that they had since suspended 212 security companies for non-payment of levies, and another 43 being deregistered for the same reason.

Ten individual security officers were deregistered for convicted crimes, while another 10 met the same fate for submitting false information.

In connection with their backlog of 1 393 business applications, Chauke said that 801 had been rejected for failure to meet required standards for registration and 592 were under consideration.

Chauke said that 31 operations have been conducted around the country and 78 illegal operators were arrested, 13 others for firearm related contraventions.

PSIRA executed in the seizure of 244 firearms and 1 474 of ammunitions, working with the police and identified 742 cases of possible identify fraud by foreign nationals for investigation.

Other interventions since the last briefing included issuing 653 new charge sheets, summoning 549 security companies for code of conduct hearings, finalizing 408 codes of conduct dockets and settling 114 matters with those who pleaded guilty.

Within his organization, Chauke said that they had also suspended five employees on allegations of corruption and dismissed another five for dishonesty. Four faced pending investigations into alleged dishonest behaviour.

ANC committee members Annelize van Wyk, Greg Schneemann and the Democratic Alliance's Dianne Kohler Bernard cautiosly commended Chauke for the clean-up in the organisation thus far.

The same was echoed by Chikunga, adding that PSIRA would be one of their priority areas this year.

Chauke promised the committee that they would move with greater speed to improve the organisation. - BuaNews