All security guards must be registered: Court


The Constitutional Court has confirmed a ruling by the High Court in Pretoria that all security officers, including in-house ones, were required by law to register with the regulatory authority as private security service providers.

Business Day newspaper reports the court did however set aside the High Court’s ruling that sections 28(2) and 28(3)(b) of the Private Security Industry Regulation Act – which extended the binding ambit of the code of conduct to include employers of in-house security personnel – were unconstitutional.

Section 28(2) of the act states that the code is legally binding on all security service providers, irrespective of whether they are registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority or not, and on every person using their own employees to protect or safeguard their own property.

Section 28(3)(b) of the act provides that the code must contain rules to ensure the payment of minimum wages and compliance with standards aimed at preventing abuse of employees in the private security industry.

The case concerned two tomato growers employing more than 6000 people on farms in Limpopo. They employed some of their general workforce as security personnel but did not register them as such. Police arrested the guards as they viewed them as unregistered security officers under the Act, Business Day added.

In the majority judgment, Judge Yvonne Mokgoro said section 20(1)(a) of the act applied only to persons engaged in the occupation of security service provider within the private security industry.

“People like child-minders and teachers might engage in some form of protection or safeguarding of their wards and learners respectively, but that protection is not aimed against the kinds of dangers to which the private security industry is placed to respond.” Bringing employers of in-house security personnel into the fold served to prevent the exploitation and abuse of their employees, she said.

Mokgoro said the provision for a minimum wage for security officers operating in the private security industry arose in the context of the working conditions of farm workers, which tended to render them particularly vulnerable.

“It is imperative therefore that, for purposes of ensuring the minimum wage, in-house security personnel and their employers are bound by the code.”