Former soldiers feature in Transnet security drive

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Some 153 of 220 recruits who have graduated as security personnel from the Transnet School of Security are former Military Skills Development System (MSDS) personnel.

The MSDS is the South African National Defence Force’s entry level programme which offers South Africans, especially the youth, an opportunity to serve in uniform over a period of two years. After this the recruits can either become part of the defence force’s core service system or serve in the reserve force

Ports.co.za reports the graduation marked a significant shift in the company’s approach to the protection of its people and assets. The School of Security school at Esselen Park, east of Johannesburg is part of a broad initiative to secure Transnet’s interests and address some of the critical areas of the business which are most affected by crime.

The graduation of the officers, who will all be absorbed into the company, follows 10 weeks of comprehensive security training accredited by the Safety and Security SETA. The programme included training on the basic requirements for becoming a security service provider (officer), the use of security equipment as well as application of legal aspects in a security environment.

In addition, the recruits received specialised training specific to Transnet’s operations, such as practical training on various legislation governing the ports and pipelines, securing goods in transit and occupational health and safety, Transnet said in a statement. “The protection of our people and assets is crucial to our ultimate goal of delivering freight reliably, especially in reducing incidents such as cable theft, which has a disruptive impact on our service to customers”, Transnet added.

Transnet is facing major security challenges, for example, the theft of copper, overhead cable theft and goods stolen in transit. These incidents affect not just Transnet, but the economy of South Africa. They affect jobs, the families that rely on those jobs, and the ability to create new jobs in future. In reality, some of the crimes committed, like cable theft, are economic sabotage.
“We need to change the perception of our people, especially female colleagues, as soft targets for the criminal elements within our society,” the company said. “Currently we are 100% reliant on external service providers. We envisage a mixed model where we use both internal and external services.”

The school, which is based in Esselen Park, East of Johannesburg, has a staff complement of 50 trainers with vast experience in policing, defence and security operations. Transnet plans to recruit up to 800 students per year in groups of 200. The next intake of 200 recruits will commence training in a week’s time.