Industry & Real Estate

Thursday, 22 March 2012 12:59

The Private Security Industry in South Africa

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Reaching an annual turnover of R50 billion in 2011, from which the largest sector of the security industry - the security guarding segment, has contributed R18 billion, the Private Security Industry in South Africa is believed to be the largest in the world. The growth of the private security industry was also driven by the South African Police Service, who spent roughly R161.5 million in 2009/2010 on private security services (Sapa, 2011).  

Both the number of private security officers and private security companies has increased by 111.30% and 66.7% respectively, since 2001, where a total number of 8 828 active Private Security Companies are registered with PSIRA (Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority). Moreover, the amount of security guards outnumbers SAPS officers by 2:1. “The reason for this growing gap is because citizens do not perceive the police as adequate for their safety needs,” says Lebone, South African Institute of Race Relations.

Thus, by analyzing the above statistics of a growing private security industry, it is of significance to analyze the main factors that have led to the growth of the Private Security Industry in South Africa. Firstly, changes in property associations have taken place, due to the growth of mass private property i.e. urbanization, environmental factors and new building demands related to social controls, and the need to secure these properties, where new uncertainties have been identified in the proclaimed ‘risk society’ of South Africa.  Secondly, growing trends towards the commodification of security have led to individuals purchasing their own security such as physical security, use of armed response companies and counter surveillance, and businesses acquiring security services from security companies, such as security guarding, equipment, surveillance and armed response reaction, as result of the state’s inability to guarantee security. Furthermore, the widespread presence of cooperative systems are on the uprise, whereby a community is secured not only by the police, but also by private security patrols, metro police and neighbourhood-watch organizations working to secure the same area.

What goes without saying is that violent crime has been the larger precursor in the growth of the Private Security Industry. While South Africa’s murder rate has decreased, statistics show that almost 16 000 murders took place within the last year, which is considerably higher than that in most other parts of the globe. House and business robberies are also a major concern for the public. In addition, the role of the media in widely broadcasting violent crime has influenced the growth of insecurity and fear of crime in the public eye.

The growth of the industry has also been an avenue of employment. The Security Sectoral Education and Training Authority states that the Private Security Industry is seen as the largest employer, above Policing, Corrections, Justice, Defence, Intelligence, Legal Service industries. Relating to employment is the enrollment in private security training programmes by aspiring security guards.

According to the Private Security Chamber Chairperson, the ratio is 95%:5% in favour of private institutions, whereby employers believe that a greater achievement can be achieved through on-the-job training.  “As security officers are at the core of the security guarding service provided, it is of great importance to provide them with the necessary security training in order for them to leverage their capabilities to the utmost of their potential, whilst focusing on excellent service delivery,” says Herman Mulder, CEO of Elite SA Security Solutions.

To conclude, a broadening of the security market has taken place, in which the means to counteract risks or threats to individual or business security constantly progresses and becomes more specialized. Mulder articulates that “indirectly, the presence of security equipment, security guards,  and/or vehicles have an influence on the establishment concerned not only in terms of ensuring safety and averting crime, but also are a visible guarantee that spaces and individuals are being safeguarded by means of security guarding and patrolling duties.”

Elite SA Security Solutions is a private security services provider in South Africa, specializing in providing guarding operations, special investigations, undercover operations, security training, and risk management to its industrial and corporate clients. For more information, visit:

Elite SA Security Solutions

(2) Website (URL):

(3) Author: Nicole Maritz

Elite SA Security Solutions is a private security services provider in South Africa. With 15 years of expertise in the security industry, Elite SA specializes in providing guarding operations, special investigations, undercover operations, security training, and risk management to its industrial and corporate clients.


(6) Category: Private Security

(7) Company Name: Elite SA Security Solutions

(8) Full Contact Details: Address: Unit 7A, Cnr Estcourt & Stanger, Wierdapark x 2, Centurion, South Africa.  Contact no: +27 (0) 12 751 3374 / +27 (0) 82 688 3005, email: [email protected]


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