What is the situation?
Private security in South Africa differs very little operationally from what is happening in the UK. The primary difference is in the conditions which one will encounter in South Africa. Nevertheless the security industry in South Africa is also providing armed reaction, investigation of crimes, monitoring, guarding services and these will be provided both to companies and also to private individuals. The private security industry in South Africa has grown tremendously but not only in this country but also globally. Despite the relatively small size of this country and the size of its economy compared to first world countries the security industry in this country is among one of the largest in the world and according to statistics there is over 9000 registered security companies.
What is the employment situation?
According to statistics the private security industry in South Africa provides employment to 450000 registered and active[i] security guards but there is an additional 1.5 million qualified security guards who is not currently active with in the private security industry in South Africa. Therefore the industry is significantly larger than both law-enforcement and the South African military together. According to well researched statistics there is over 2.5 security guards for every single policeman in South Africa. According to security specialists in South Africa this is because of the high levels of crime which is the direct result of parliaments failure to better finance the South African police services. Therefore there is an increasing tendency by government to outsource many critical security functions.
What about frequent demonstrations?
There have been a significant increase in the amount of public demonstrations in South Africa primarily because of the failure of local municipalities to provide basic services. However private security in South Africa have also engaged in strikes in order to force employers to increase their salaries. This happened in 2006 when such as strike has lasted for over 90 days which resulted in the loss of many man hours. It is not only private security in South Africa which is engaging in this kind of industrial action but it’s also frequently seen in an mining industry as well as in the manufacturing industry. This type of actions is placing a tremendous burden on the economy of South Africa and very little benefits is obtained through those actions and it often happens that more is lost than gained.