The biggest types of private security businesses in South Africa

It is widely known that South Africa is one of the unsafest and most dangerous countries, which has given rise to one of the biggest private security force in the world.

The latest numbers from the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira) show that the country currently has 500,000 active security officers, with over 1.5 million registered officers.

This is far higher than the South African Police force and the military, combined.

The South African police force, meanwhile, has around 153,000 sworn in police officers, while the South African army has only 89,000 active personnel – about half as many people as the private security force.

The private security sector is a multi-billion rand industry, with citizens paying up to R45 billion a year for private protection.

However, despite the growth of the industry, and an increase in the number of active security officers between 2016 and 2017 (472,097 to 498,435) – not all categories of security are equal.

The number of security providers in South Africa has increased from 8,830 in 2016 to 8,995 in 2017 – an addition of 165 new SPs.

In terms of registered security businesses, however, there has been a marked decreased – moving down from 35,150 in 2016 to 31,470 in 2017. This decline of 3,680 registered businesses is across the board, with all but four business categories showing a drop.

The only increases were seen in cash-in-transit guards, reaction services, alarm installers, and dog trainers.

Here are the biggest types of security businesses in the country:

Security Business No. of businesses 2016 No. of businesses 2017 Change
Security Guards 6 847 6 482 -365
Reaction Services 3 433 3 604 +171
Security Guards: Cash-in-transit 2 474 2 717 +243
Special Events 2 648 2 178 -470
Entertainment / Venue Control 2 588 2 119 -469
Body Guards 2 465 2 062 -403
Security Consultant 2 308 1 911 -397
Security Control Room 2 187 1 824 -363
Security Equipment Installer 1 868 1 572 -296
Rendering of Security Services 1 846 1 528 -318
Training 1 683 1 401 -282
Private Investigator 1 509 1 278 -231
Car Watch 1 502 1 245 -257
Manufacture Security Equipment 876 747 -129
Locksmith / Key Cutter 542 461 -81
Insurance 99 86 -13
Security and Loss Control 101 86 -15
Alarm Installer 71 77 +6
Fire Prevention and Detection 55 47 -8
Consulting Engineer 25 22 -3
Dog Training 15 16 +1
Anti-Poaching 8 7 -1

What security guards get paid

From 1 September 2017, SA’s massive security workforce saw salaries increase by an average of 6.4%, based on the latest sectoral determination for 2017/18.

Private officers are paid according to the roles and responsibilities they have and the areas they work in. They are therefore graded between A and E based on the the type of duty they perform.

Grade Function
Grade A Primary function would normally be a site manager or commander. Controlling and managing a number of functions. Managing the security workforce. Conducting risk assessments and evaluations on site daily. Basic investigative skills. Problem solving. Designing security solutions.
Grade B Primary function is access control in high-risk areas where documentation and basic computer skills might be required. A site or shift commander. Managing of lower grade security officers. Possible inspector doing site visits.
Grade C Primary function is access control of a higher risk area and supervision of lower grade security officers
Grade D & E Primary function is access control, or patrol officers

The rate of pay differs across South Africa in the following brackets:

Area Covers
Area 1 Alberton, Bellville, Benoni, Boksburg, Bloemfontein, Brakpan, Camperdown, Chatsworth, Durban, East London, Germiston, Goodwood, Inanda, Johannesburg, Kempton Park, Kimberley, Klerksdorp, Krugersdorp, Kuils River, Mitchell’s Plain, Nigel, Oberholzer, Paarl, Pietermaritzburg, Pinetown, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, Randburg, Randfontein, Roodepoort, Sasolburg, Simon’s Town, Somerset West, Springs, Stellenbosch, Strand, The Cape, Uitenhage, Vanderbijlpark, Vereeniging, Westonaria, Wonderboom and Wynberg
Area 2 All other areas

The monthly revised pay is as follows:

Security Officer Area 1 Area 2
Grade A R5 209 R4 474
Grade B R4 668 R3 934
Grade C, D & E R4 102 R3 414
Unspecified R3 534 R2 933

As part of the three year determination, grade D and E officers will earn the same as grade C in the third year, and area 2 and 3 (2016) will simply become area 2, as presented above.


Read: 5 serious issues with government’s plan to shake-up private security in SA

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The biggest types of private security businesses in South Africa