Currently, the private security industry in South Africa is bigger than what it has ever been. The role of private security companies is distinctively different to that of the police, they view their role as private security to really aid and support the police. The South African government claims that it is an industry that threatens national security and is determined to tighten its regulation.

The amount of registered companies has increased by 61% and the amount of registered security officers by 111%. There is also a big involvement of foreign companies investing in the South African security Industry; other multinational corporations that operated in South Africa have sold their local subsidiaries to South African companies, sometimes as part of Black Economic Empowerment deals.

What is the procedure to register a security company in South Africa?  In order to address that issue, we need to look the application for registration (1), requirements for registration (2), before drawing a conclusion (3).

1. Application for registration

The procedure of incorporation of a new company is as follows:

Section 13 (1) of the Company Act  No 77 0f 2008  (“ Company Act”) states that one or more persons  may incorporate a profit company, or three or more persons may incorporate a non–profit, by  completing, and each signing in person or by proxy, a Memorandum of Incorporation in the prescribed form or, and filling a Notice of Incorporation;

When deciding to incorporate a company, a person may reserve one or more names to be used at later time, either for a newly incorporated company or as an amendment to the name of an existing company, by filing an application together with the prescribed fee (Section 12 (1) of Company Act). If a proposed legal name is rejected, the company may still be registered and the registration number then becomes the name of the company at incorporation. An approved name may then be submitted later. 

In addition to this procedure, we note that the registration of security provider is regulated by Private Security Industry Act No. 56 of 2001 (“Security Act”). Section 21 (1) of the Security Act states that any application for registration as a service provider must be made to the Authority in the prescribed manner and must be accompanied by a clear and complete set of fingerprints taken in the prescribed manner i) of the applicant if the applicant is a natural person; ii) of every individual in charge of executive or managing duties if the application is a security business; iii) of each director if the application is a company; iv) of each member if the applicant is a close corporation; or iv) of each partner if the applicant is a partnership.

In South Africa, the Private Security sector is regulated by Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (“PSIRA”). The primary objectives of the authority are to regulate the private security industry and to exercise effective control over the practice of the occupation of security service provider in the public and national interest and the interest of the private security industry itself. The application for registration as security service provider must be made to that Authority.

2. Requirements for registration

Any natural person applying for registration in terms of section 21 (1) of the Security Act, may be registered as a security service provider on the following conditions:

  • be a citizen of or has permanent resident status in South Africa;
  • be at least 18 years of age;
  • have complied with the relevant training requirements prescribed for registration as a security service provider;
  • never been found guilty of improper conduct within a period of 5 years, or guilty of an offence specified within a period of 10 years;
  • must submit a clearance certificate , together with such other information as the Authority may reasonably require , if the applicant is a former member of any official military, security, police or intelligence force  or service in South Africa or elsewhere;

A security business applying for registration as a security service provider in terms of section 21(1) above, may be so registered only if the person performing executive or managing functions in respect of such security business comply with the above requirements and are not unrehabilitated insolvent; such security business meets the prescribed requirements in respect of the infrastructure and capacity necessary to render a security service.

In respect to the registration process, every security business must or before 15 days of each  month furnish to the board a document signed or authenticated by a responsible person acting on behalf of such security business, being a return with the full name, identity number, contact telephone and the registration number of a person registered by the board and the person of service during that month, and in which geographic area or areas of person employed , used , deployed , engaged or made available by it for the rendering of  a security service  during that month or any part of that month.

There is also an annual registration of R 4,200 and R 7.00 per month for every security employed or deployed that month.

3. Conclusion

In conclusion, we note before to register as a security service provider, the company must be incorporated according to the Company Act. The registration of security service provider is regulated by the Security. National citizen or foreigners who are contemplating investing in the South Africa by establishing a security company must follow the above procedure. Currently, there is Bill at the Parliament aiming to amend some provisions of the Act in respect of the foreign owners.