Clamp on security guards

2011-01-07 00:00

THE number of security companies breaching the Private Security Regulatory Act seems to be growing at an alarming rate in KwaZulu-Natal.

Police and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) on Wednesday and yesterday arrested 11 people, including 10 foreign nationals, in connection with security companies that are operating without proper procedures in Durban.

The bust came after a security company in Durban, Isidingo Security Service, got into trouble with the law on Tuesday after police uncovered a hoard of illegal firearms during a raid.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said police are investigating a number of companies for misconduct. He was speaking after one of the managers of Durban-based Insingizi Security Service was arrested on Wednesday.

The company is believed to have been formed by a prominent Inkatha Freedom Party member whose name is known to The Witness. He has since left the company to pursue other business interests.

The manager’s arrest was a result of an intensive investigation by the police crime intelligence unit and PSIRA.

It is alleged that the company was using security guards who did not have permits or were not trained in the use of firearms.

Durban Metro Police and PSIRA also arrested 10 nationals from Zimbabwe, Burundi and Malawi for operating an illegal company — SMG Security Services — in Durban.

The company was contracted by The Wheel shopping centre.

Some of the suspects are illegal immigrants and they are thought to have criminal records in their countries of origin.

Two security guards working for Isidingo Security Service were arrested in Pinetown on January 4.

The two were caught transporting 54 unlicensed pistols and revolvers. Authorities raided the company’s offices and confiscated 146 more illegal firearms, including shotguns.

Isidingo, which is alleged to have a R200 million contract with the eThekwini Municipality, has more than 1 700 security guards.

The Witness was told PSIRA found that the guards were not trained as security guards and to handle firearms. They were also not registered with the Labour Department, although unemployment insurance fund subscriptions were being deducted from their wages.

“The company is going to be charged internally [within PSIRA] for failing to register its employees with us and might be fined for the offence,” said the source.

PSIRA spokesperson Siziwe Zuma confirmed that her organisation found that Isidingo had breached the Private Security Regulatory Act, but she declined to elaborate.

“We did find irregularities with the company, which might lead to its suspension. But for now there are processes to follow in order to finalise the case,” she said.

Nor would she comment about the arrest of the Insingizi senior manager until PSIRA completes its investigation.

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