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Security companies slam Saul’s insourcing plan

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The decision by Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul to insource security services at the various provincial departments in the Province was not met with a standing ovation by the majority of private security companies.

Seventy-three security guards out of 124 newly-inaugurated security officials attended the launch of the Northern Cape Provincial Security Services at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE DECISION by Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul to insource security services at the various provincial departments in the Province was not met with a standing ovation by the majority of private security companies.

A number of security companies who have or who still are providing security services at provincial departments, have labelled the decision to insource security services as a political move by Saul.

“From the onset, this decision appears like a wonderful idea to the average person. There are many promises, like the increase in salaries and the provision of additional benefits that are being dangled in front of the security personnel. However, there are many aspects to this decision that the provincial government is not revealing to the public or even the personnel they are planning on insourcing,” the companies said.

“Many people have the view that security companies are exploiting their employees and that employees are made to work under harsh conditions. The provincial government now comes with the angle where they promise security officials a life of luxury. They then make it look to the public as if they have ‘provided’ many people with better employment conditions.

“What is unknown to the public, and not often reported on, is that there are several regulations and laws that security companies have to abide by, as well as uphold, in order to operate. There is the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) and the new security personnel wage bill, as well as several labour regulations, that all security companies must abide by.

“Private security companies also have to ensure that their employees are adequately trained in order to perform their duties. There are other administrative regulations, such as the allocation of staff, as well as the regulation on the shifts a security official has to work. There are also resources and equipment, such as transport, that security companies have to provide to the security personnel at times.

“It is not a matter that security companies merely took someone off the street and made them work.”

They said the provincial government’s decision will have crippling financial repercussions for some security companies.

“There are so many young people who are running newly-registered security companies. Those people will now have to close their doors as they might struggle to secure contracts from the private sector. The government has been preaching to the youth to create their own employment instead of sitting and waiting for available positions of employment. They are now changing their tune as they are now locking the exact doors that some of the entrepreneurs are supposed to have access to.

“There are security companies that are not yet well-established, which have been solely reliant on securing contracts from the provincial government. What will now happen to those companies? Many are now frantically searching for contacts because this programme is being rolled out.”

Others said the decision also had repercussions for security personnel.

“There is no guarantee that all the security personnel who are currently employed will be absorbed by the provincial government during the insourcing process. The posts will be advertised and the pool will be opened to everyone. There will be many security personnel who will have to leave their positions. We already have a high unemployment rate and now those people will form part of those statistics.

“If a security company has to close its doors and some of its security personnel are left unemployed because they were not chosen as the preferred candidate for the post they were already occupying, many households will be left with no income. People have witnessed instances where some people working in government are removed and replaced from their positions even though they had been acting or working in that position for several months or years,” they pointed out.

Many said that a possible element of “corruption” and an “attempt to win over voters” cannot be ruled out as being behind this decision.

“Many private security companies are luckily not only reliant on providing security services to the government. There are many who also offer security services to private companies, such as armed response services, security control room services, security training and the installation of security cameras. The concern, however, is that the provincial government is now portraying itself as a security company.

“There have been several instances where unqualified people have been employed in certain positions in government offices. There is also the issue of the deployment of cadres, who are employed in positions they are not qualified for. Those trends will now flow into the security sector.

“Due to the high unemployment rate in this country, some people are idling and ready to occupy the positions of some of these security officials. The ‘job for friends trend’ is also still in operation.

“Reports of many unqualified people benefiting from this decision will later be revealed and only then will many realise that they were looking at this through rose-tinted glasses.”

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