Homeland Security and Safety Africa, a dedicated exhibition zone and conference aimed at individuals with a special interest in national security, has been officially opened by Deputy Minister of Police Maggie Sotyu at IFSEC South Africa.
Sotyu attended the opening ceremony at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on Tuesday and welcomed delegates to the event and thanked event organisers, UBM Montgomery, for bringing such a critical aspect of safety and security to the fore.
IFSEC South Africa, the biggest commercial security, government security and fire event in Africa, is taking place at Gallagher from 19-21 June. Although primarily featuring products and services, the event also features talks on security matters.
Following the official opening, these delegates attended the Homeland Security and Safety Africa Conference, which is being held for the duration of IFSEC South Africa.
Tarique Ghaffur, Former Assistant Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, provided an overview of International Homeland Security and Disaster Management. He said that some of the most prominent words associated with the concept of Homeland, include: national security, the prevention of terrorist attacks, minimising threats and risks, as well as dealing with the aftermath of such attacks.
“You cannot buy safety, but you pay for it dearly, if you don’t have it,” said Johan De Waal, of South African Airways, who spoke about Aviation Safety and Security. “You cannot completely eliminate risk, but you can reduce it to an acceptable level,” he added. “As long as systems are human-made, you will always have risk.”
Narcotics detection by dogs at airports and other ports of entry – was another popular topic at the Homeland Security and Safety Africa Conference. “Sniffer dogs have been used for the detection of contraband substances since ancient times,” said John Greyvenstein of Braveheart Dog Academy. He emphasised that these highly sensitive animals are one of the most powerful tools in the detection of and fight against narcotics. However, he also emphasised that the success of this depends on effective and accurate training methods.
“Profiling is all about the ability to understand, predict and influence behaviour,” said George Nel of Paradigm-Alpha, who was talking about the importance of being able to identify undesirable persons at ports of entry. “Most people believe that profiling is about a person’s background and biographical information,” he added. “In truth it is more about identifying behavioural and physiological indicators of fear of discovery, such as anxiety or stress.”
“Homeland Security and Safety Africa is a relatively new feature, having been launched at IFSEC South Africa for the first time in 2011,” said Ross Cullingworth, Commercial Events Director at Montgomery Africa (a subsidiary of UBM Montgomery). “We are delighted to see the phenomenal growth of the Homeland Exhibition Zone this year, which has been received by both delegates and exhibitors.”
“I think this show is critical in our country, with an overburdened police force,” said Cullingworth. “Private security is one of the fastest growing sectors in South Africa. The market is massive. It is one of the single biggest employers.”
The IFSEC security exhibitions in Africa, Arabia, India and the UK consistently attract more than 1 000 manufacturers and distributors and 42 000 security professionals annually, according to UBM Montgomery.