Durban – South Africa’s numerous private security companies posed a danger to society and were in urgent need of regulation, police minister Fikile Mbalula said on Friday.
“These companies pose a danger to society and their strong regulation is required,” said Mbalula. A bill to this effect was awaiting the signature of president Jacob Zuma, he said. “This bill will go a long way in addressing many of the related challenges.
“Criminals have found a loophole in having access to weapons through registering security companies in South Africa. The private security industry regulatory authority, which is under my ministry, has been instructed to do a nationwide audit of the security companies that offer close protection services, also called bodyguards.”
Mbalula was speaking at the notorious Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi. The minister arrived two hours late with a phalanx of police and city personnel in tow, walked speedily around a few blocks of the complex greeting residents and making small talk, then addressed media outside the notorious Russia house unit.
He said the nationwide audit of private security companies would include data collection and ensuring compliance with the law. Companies found wanting would lose their operating licences.
The recent video that was circulated on social media showing two private security guards seated in a vehicle brandishing guns and making death threats was a “crass display of weapons”, according to Mbalula, and an indictment on the private security industry.
Addressing political killings in the province, Mbalula said that specialised policing unit, the Hawks, had been instructed to “literally invade the uMzimkhulu municipality and turn it upside down”.
The municipality was the workplace of former African National Congress (ANC) Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa. He was a PR councillor when he was gunned down along with two colleagues in July. Magaqa died of his wounds this month while both of his colleagues survived. Allegations have been made that Magaqa was targeted because he had uncovered tender corruption at the municipality.
Mbalula said that the Hawks would be combing through tender process documents at the municipality as part of their investigation.
Speaking about the violence at Glebelands, Mbalula said that residents were “under siege from criminal thugs”.
“The hardships at Glebelands come from a brutal past of cramming blacks up in cheap labour ghettos. A dehumanised body knows not how to be civil,” he said.
Mbalula said that he was paying careful attention to the testimonies of witnesses from Glebelands who had appeared before the Moerane Commission of enquiry which was set up to investigate political violence in the province.
A fully equipped satellite police station would “immediately” be set up at Glebelands, he said. The possibility of “cash rewards” for those giving police “valuable information” about crime at the complex was also being discussed, he said.
African News Agency