You could have heard a pin drop while members of ESDA took in the presentation made by SIRA (Security Officer's Regulatory Authority) to explain the implications of the new Act, at a workshop arranged by ESDA in Bryanston in June.
The shocked silence did not last for long however, as Stefan Badenhorst, manager: NIT - Law Enforcement Division was soon inundated with questions from the floor.
ESDA has summarised some of the more important questions and answers, for the benefit of its members and the industry.
Who has to register?
Every company and individual involved in the supply of security products, services and consultations. ESDA also has to register.
What is the regulatory authority planning to do for the security distribution industry?
* Regulation of the private security industry.
* Control over security service providers.
* QA of training standards in the industry.
* Prevent exploitation of employees.
How much will it cost each company to register?
* R4560 per company application fee, and R85 per individual.
* Annual fees will be R570 per company; and
* Monthly fees will be R285 monthly per company and R0,80 per registered employee.
Which individuals must register?
* All company directors, management, sales staff, technical staff, temporary staff, trainers, response personnel, guards, etc. (Please carefully read Chapter 1 of SIRA definitions. As far as we can see, everyone remotely involved in the security industry must register, or be liable for prosecution. Conviction can lead to five years imprisonment for first-time offenders and 10 years imprisonment for second-time offenders.)
What will the funds be used for?
* For the policing of the Act.
What are the requirements of registration for companies who distribute security equipment?
* All security equipment distributors must apply for registration by 1 August in order to obtain registration by 1 October. No exceptions will be considered.
In order to register, the applicant must:
* Be a citizen or permanent resident of SA.
* Be at least 18 yrs old.
* Have complied with the relevant training requirements (see www.sira.co.za).
* Be legal (no offences - see schedule in www.sira.co.za).
* Submit a clearance certificate if they have worked in the military, SAPS, official intelligence force, or if they are a police reservist. (see www.sira.co.za)
* Be mentally sound.
* Not currently employed in public services with a conflict of interests (see www.sira.co.za).
* Have paid-up membership fees.
* Not be an unrehabilitated insolvent (this includes all directors, managers, etc).
* Have prescribed infrastructure and capacity.
What is the definition of security equipment?
Any electronic equipment used in security services, including:
* Alarm control and intrusion detection equipment.
* Safe and vault equipment.
* Satellite tracking devices.
* CCTV and all electronic monitoring devices and surveillance equipment.
* Fire detection, bomb detection, metal detection, X-ray inspection or secure telephone communications equipment.
* Locksmith equipment.
* Local manufacturers of ALL the above.
The questions (there were many more than those listed here) were answered in due course, and a lively discussion ensued.
The Private Industry Regulation Act came into operation on 14 February 2002. It is already promulgated - so there is no going back! No extensions, no exceptions, no discussion! Exemption can be applied for, and granted at the discretion of the Minister of Safety and Security.
The primary objectives of the Act are to regulate the industry by exercising control over security service providers. The Authority says that the reason behind the Act is to increase the standards of professionalism, transparency, accountability, equity and accessibility within the private security industry. This will be good for the industry in the long run but how is it going to immediately impact the individual business and the entire security industry?
The Act has been largely unpublicised by the Authority. An article appeared in the Government Gazette in February stating that "any person for partnership, business trust, foundation, association, companies, close corporation, who provide a security service for remuneration, reward, benefit, or fee" (this includes the manufacturers, distributors and importers of security equipment) have to be registered with SIRA in order for the business to continue functioning as a security service provider.
The Act has placed an explicit legal onus on consumers of private security services to only use legitimate and registered security service providers. The Regulatory Authority can take legal action against companies that do not comply with their standards.
Darren Smith from Technews suggests that the media get involved. "Once collective feedback has been gathered. If the mainstream media got hold of that there would be a serious hue and cry. An issue this serious cannot be allowed to play itself out along the lines that SIRA appear to be driving towards."
ESDA will address this issue again, at its monthly workshops.
For more information on the requirement of the Act and its subsequent implications on your business, log on to www.sira.co.za
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