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Private Security Act Under Scrutiny

November 22, 2013

Portfolio Committee on Police

The national assembly’s police committee is to investigate adding further amendments to the Private Security Industry Regulation Act of 2001.

The Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill was referred back to the police committee by the national assembly last week.

The Bill was tabled in Parliament in September last year.

The proposed legislation aims to tighten up the law on foreign ownership of private security firms operating in South Africa.

The bill was approved by cabinet in May 2012 for tabling in parliament.

According to the cabinet statement issued at the time, a review of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority Act was undertaken to “address gaps that are caused by the lack of effective regulation of the private security industry, in particular, the threat to national security posed by the participation of foreigners”.

The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) was set up to regulate the private security industry and to exercise effective control over security service providers in the public interest.

The PSIRA Amendment Bill, 2012 seeks to:

• regulate foreign ownership and control of private security businesses in South Africa;
• regulate operations of security firms outside the borders of the Republic,
• provide for the role of the Regulatory Authority in promoting crime prevention partnerships with state entities;
• provide for accountability of a Council of Authority, including the formulation of regulations on the transportation of cash and other valuables;
• provide for a separate database on firearms issued to security service providers;
• provide for limitations on the participation of individuals with criminal records; and
• ensure that the PSIRA receives state funding.

PSIRA has been labouring under financial constraints for a number of years.

In essence, government seeks better working relations between private security firms and the South African Police Service.

It also wants to prevent the infiltration of criminal elements into the industry.

The police committee had indicated in its report, tabled in the national assembly, that further amendments to the act were needed.

This had become apparent during the deliberation phase.

The police committee had adopted the bill on 6 November 2013.

The national assembly applied parliamentary rule 249(3)(b) in referring the bill back to the committee.

The rule allows a committee to consider introducing further amendments to an act in addition to those proposed by an amendment bill.