Private security companies could be forced to "shut up shop" if they do not adhere to strict new regulations governing the industry.

The threat from government at the unveiling of the launch of the Government Sector Security Council (GSSC) in Pretoria on Monday came as National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi said that security of South Africa's facilities should be handled only by South Africans.

The council, which will fall under the South African Police Service (SAPS), will be responsible for regulating the security industry and will be tasked with ensuring that, among other things, security personnel have no criminal records, receive proper training and are correctly equipped to help ensure a "crime-free South Africa".

The council is to be represented, among others, by members of government, municipalities, the SAPS, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the security managers forum.

The council will fall under the SAPS Protection and Security Services Division.

GSSC chairperson Tembela Kulu said companies not adhering to the regulations would face ruin.

"If companies, be they private or parastatal, do not obey the rules set up to regulate the industry then they will lose their economic power.

"Businesses not toeing the line when it comes to following the council's regulations could lose their contracts or operating licences and will be forced to 'shut up shop'," she said.

The strict measures, claim the 45-member council, are to tighten up loopholes discovered during a review of the security industry.

Government has spent the past four years establishing the council which will be used to ensure that proper security is provided to national key points, such as OR Tambo International Airport and Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, courts and prisons and psychiatric institutions with violent prisoners.

The council will also be tasked to ensure that cash-in-transit companies are properly equipped to deal with attacks from gangs of armed robbers.

Kulu said they had spent many months consulting with security companies and the NIA and had established a framework which would be used to ensure that security providers could help create a crime-free country.

She said the SAPS would be tasked with a variety of duties when it came to security, including issuing physical security directives and conducting evaluations and audits.

Selebi, who welcomed the "all-out" effort to shape up the security industry, said South Africans should oversee the security industry as they who had a clear knowledge of the needs and demands.

"By allowing foreigners or other international organisations to secure our facilities, we would be giving away our sovereignty," he said in an apparent subtle reference to the ongoing saga involving Paul O'Sullivan, former Acsa chief who has compiled a "dossier" on Selebi.

Selebi said that in order for proper security to be provided to all South Africans, businesses and crucial facilities there had to be a co-ordinated effort by all in the security industry.

He said the industry needed to invest if South Africa was to be protected properly.

He added that the GSSC would stand as a bulwark against those who thought South Africa was a "banana republic" which could be destroyed.

Selebi said the GSSC was desperately needed because "anyone who penetrates our important facilities such as the Union Buildings or our ports or nuclear facilities penetrates our 'heart'."

"This council will create systems and standards which will ensure that our country cannot be penetrated by those intent on destroying us," he said, adding that the council had a lot of work ahead of it when it came to reducing crime in the country.