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Ministry of Defence Justice and Security(MDJS)
Minister officiates at the third Private Companies Security ...
10/03/15

Minister officiates at the third Private Companies Security Pitso in Francistown

 

 

Secretary of Defence, Justice and Security and also Controller of Security Guard Services;

District Commissioner

Council Secretary, City of Francistown

Divisional Commander North, Botswana Police Service;

Chief Executive Officer of BOCCIM;

Secretary of Security Association Botswana (SAB);

Director of Ceremonies;

 

Good Morning

 

1.          It is a great honour and privilege for me to address you this morning, during our 3rd Private Security Guard Companies Pitso.   I have already addressed all the private security guard companies based in the southern part of the country in Gaborone on the 23rd February 2015.  I have also decided that we should host a similar interaction Pitso for private security guards companies based in the northern part of the country.  Kindly consider this as an opportunity for you to deliberate and exchange with my Ministry on matters concerning the private security industry in Botswana.

 

 

2.          As you may be aware, my Ministry is responsible for the control and regulation of companies engaged in the business of providing security guards and equipments to homes, businesses and institutions of government, amongst others.  This responsibility calls for my Ministry’s continued collaboration with you on challenges faced by the private security industry.

 

3.          Ladies and gentlemen, it was our hope as the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security that by the time we convened this Pitso, the Private Security Companies Regulatory Authority Bill, 2014 would have been passed and enacted into law.  Our intention was that we would have a Regulatory Authority but this has not been possible due to a moratorium on the creation of parastatals.  This moratorium was put in place by government as a result of the financial constraints caused by the economic downturn of 2008.

 

4.          Director of ceremonies,   there are three thousand eight hundred (3800) security companies registered with my Ministry with two hundred and thirty eight (238) waiting to be registered.  Of the registered companies, we have since terminated one thousand and twenty nine (1029) licences mostly for failure to renew licences and non-compliance with the provisions of the laws regulating private security companies. 

 

5.          We have also observed that some of the registered companies are brief case companies as they do not have permanent places of business where they should be operating.  This worries us in that these brief case companies are the ones who in the majority of cases do not comply with the laws and policies regulating the private security industry.

 

Director of Ceremonies,

 

6.          I have been made aware, through the Controller of Security Guard Services, of the challenges that the industry is facing, such as lack of standards and codes of conduct that should apply and regulate the provision of security services in the country. Whilst the legislation that we are developing will make provision for the setting of standards and a code of conduct for the private security companies, the Security Association of Botswana and its affiliates should start now by investing in the training of their guards and create a database of all security employees for easy management and control.

7.          Without necessarily preempting the discussions that we are going to have today, I think it is important to at least highlight a few issues that were raised by security companies based in the southern part of the country during our meeting in Gaborone.  Your colleagues in the south raised a concern that some companies or a certain group of companies are allocated tenders at the exclusion of other companies.  My only advice here is that you should benchmark with those that seem to be doing well so that you may all succeed in the tendering process.

 

8.          I am also aware that Government Departments have also indirectly contributed to the problem of non-payment of wages or bills to employees by private security companies.  Local authorities such as councils, landboards and schools in the districts have the tendency to award contracts to companies that bid at low rates and the company that has won the tender finding itself with not enough money to pay its employees or even perform the duties for which they were contracted to do satisfactorily.  This also results in employees losing their jobs, thereby swelling the numbers of the unemployed.  From here we shall communicate to these departments to sensitise them about these concerns and request them to take remedial action.

9.          I am concerned that some of the security companies are not members of any association or organisation that can speak for them.  It is important for you to realize that for as long as you are not members of any association such as Security Association of Botswana, many of the problems you face may not be easily resolved.  The SAB is an affiliate of BOCCIM and by virtue of that they are able to participate in high consultative forums which enable them to put forward concerns of their members and lobby the relevant authorities for support. 

 

10.      Having said that, allow me, ladies and gentlemen, to now raise other issues of mutual concern.  The private security industry was established primarily to protect people and property and assist law enforcement agencies in the prevention of crime.  Bagaetsho, crime is growing, and disturbingly in the areas where you are deployed.   From 2012 to date, the police have dealt with a total of three hundred and forty-five cases (345) involving employees of private security companies.  

 

11.      A sample of these cases are as follows: rape - 6, burglary and theft - 3, stealing by servant - 12, stealing from a dwelling house - 3, theft common – 37, possession of suspected stolen property - 5, house breaking - 3, malicious damage to property - 12, working in Botswana without permit - 2, unlawful possession of Government trophy – 6 and possession of drugs - 6., including suspected cases of armed robbery.

 

12.      There is never a satisfactory explanation on where the guards were when some of these crimes were taking place.  The result is that the Police find themselves chasing reports that have no leads which also compromises the investigations of the cases.  What worries us most is that some of the guards are relegated to trolley recovery in shopping malls while others are engaged in stock taking in the shops instead of guarding the premises.  This does not relate to what the guards are employed for or what their security companies are contracted for.

 

Ladies and gentlemen;

 

13.      It is high time that whenever we develop shopping malls, the owners of these shops should be required to make provision for security such as putting up CCTVs and other security equipments and systems to enhance the security of their business premises. 

 

14.      We should come up with a Crime Prevention Master Plan and engage the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Lands and Housing and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in consultations about the possibilities of a requirement that businesses should make provision of security as a standard that should be complied with when constructing shopping malls.

  

 

 

 

  

Director of Ceremonies;

15. My office has been receiving quite a significant number of complaints from employees of private security companies for non-payment of wages and terminal benefits by their employers. What worries me is that when we inquire from the clients of some of the security companies we find that the security company would have been paid according to their contract but instead of paying employees some would choose to go on expensive holidays or buying expensive vehicles and neglecting to pay their employees.

16. This has resulted in guards going for months without wages.

The only option left for my Ministry in this situation is for punitive action to be taken against such companies, even through termination of their licences.

17. We have observed that some companies have no permanent business locations and this is a clear violation of the Control of Private Security Guard Services Act. These companies have also employed people without even checking on their backgrounds. This has led to the hiring of undesirable elements who eventually assist thieves to break into premises that they are supposed to be guarding. This needs to change so that we put our house in order. You should always be cognizant of the fact that the role of security companies is to assist in the fight against crime and as such, we should not be found to be perpetrators of the same.

18. It has also come to our attention that guards are hired without signing employment contracts. This, we believe, is perpetrated by those who want to abuse employees by hiring and firing them as and when they wish. Our advice is that where employees are hired on long or short term basis, such should be spelt out in a contract that specifies duration of employment and the remuneration thereof. Failure to do so is a clear violation of the labour laws of this country.

Director of ceremonies;

19. Allow me to reiterate that the private security sector has a critical role in the national development agenda and also in line with 2016 Vision pillar of a Safe and Secure Nation. Government is committed to working with the private security industry in the attainment of Vision 2016 goal of Prosperity for all. You must see and appreciate your contribution in broader national strategic terms beyond your individual business interests. Crime prevention should always be at the back of your minds and not just the maximization of profits. To this end, my Ministry is forever at your disposal to assist where possible in improving the conditions under which you operate.

20. In conclusion, may I wish you good deliberations and successful Pitso.

21. I wish to thank you all for making time to attend this very important PITSO.

22. PULA!

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