In the dark

If there's one thing we've been reminded of in 2014, it’s that no amount of public opinion, emotional outcry or outrage will have any impact on the outcome of a situation.

As Shrien Dewani stepped down from the dock, just in time for the holidays, his slain wife’s family could only look on helplessly in the face of the news that the man they believe killed their daughter, has been acquitted on all charges. One could be forgiven for feeling a little bit helpless in these situations. After all the effort it’s taken to get this individual to finally stand trial, you have to ask how could this happen?

The Eskom chief executive officer says that South Africans will need to accept load shedding as a way of life, probably for the next five years, while we wait for those new power stations to finally become operational.

Possibly the most honest statement we’ve heard from this disgraceful parastatal in years. Not that we didn’t already know that. While we’ve heard a laundry list of creative reasons for the status quo, we’ve not heard any form of accountability taken.

Once again, it’s a case of adapt or die, as businesses scramble to accommodate this incompetence and families reschedule their meals, homework time and household chores around the highly unreliable schedules so kindly provided to us.  

In this month’s issue, we highlight some good news for the industry as the Security Industry Alliance, after two years in court, has announced that the PSIRA fee increase is finally at an end, in favour of the industry.  

In our Uniforms, Body Armour and Protective Clothing feature, we’ve showcased some of the industry’s most well-respected suppliers. Uniforms and protective clothing do, of course, serve a highly practical purpose, but industry trends over recent years have proven that a growing number of guarding companies are becoming more aware of the importance of branding.

The way that security officers represent themselves to customers and the public, provides a perception about the company, their levels of competence and dedication.

Speaking of industry image, the private security industry has yet again made mainstream headlines this year. Unfortunately, it’s not always for the right reasons. However, industry bodies, including SASA, are coming out to make a stand against some of the complaints levelled in the industry’s direction. We’ve seen the industry bodies sticking by their zero-tolerance approach to non-compliance, while not forgetting to remind end-users and customers that they too hold some responsibility in this equation.

According to a statement released earlier this year by SASA, we are living in a country where many consumers still view private security services as a grudge purchase, or a token necessity at work site. We’re seeing a significant and alarming number of individuals and companies still selecting those security companies who have submitted tenders at the lowest price. What these individuals don’t see, are all the costs associated with this unlawful practice, including a significant security threat, and the fact that they are engaging in unlawful behaviour.

As the regulatory authority for the private security industry, PSIRA is responsible for putting in place statutory minimums and enforcing legislative requirements. According to a section of the PSIRA Act of 2001, any person who contracts a security service that goes against the provisions of the Act – is guilty of an offence.

Finally I would like to thank all or our advertisers, contributors and readers for their outstanding support over the past year. On behalf of the entire team at Security Focus, I would like to wish you a safe, happy and restful festive season, as well as an exciting and prosperous new year.

Reference:  Andrea Müller, Security Focus, vol 32 no 11 2014