How much money security guards get paid in South Africa – and why government is keeping tabs on them

The Department of Employment and Labour will host a Private Security Sector Seminar next week (26 June), as it has identified the sector as ‘high risk’ when it comes to compliance with labour laws.

The department noted that the industry has seen ‘unprecedented growth’ in recent years due to the high levels of crime. As a result,  it said that ahead of the seminar, it will also conduct a blitz inspection of the sector in Gauteng.

The department aims to address some of the following issues at the seminar:

  • The NMW and Basic Conditions of Employment Act amendments;
  • Compensation for Occupational Injuries Diseases Act in the sector;
  • Unemployment Insurance Act as amended; Provident Fund;
  • General issues plaguing the industry.

How many security guards are there in South Africa?

The private security sector includes employers and employees associated for the purpose of guarding or protecting: fixed property, premises, goods, persons or employees, including monitoring & responding to alarms at premises which are guarded by electronic means.

According to the latest 2018/2019 report by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), as many as 2.36 million security officers are registered in South Africa – with 498,435 currently employed by just over 9,000 registered and active security businesses.

This means that there are close to five security officers to every police officer in South Africa.

Most of these security businesses and security officers are operating and employed in Gauteng followed by KwaZulu-Natal (42% and 39% respectively), and the Western Cape.

How much they are paid 

New prescribed minimum wages came into effect in South Africa in November 2018 – and included the private security sector. It also included wages for clerical staff, artisans, control centre operators, drivers, and general workers.

Private security officers in South Africa are paid according to the roles and responsibilities they have. Guards are therefore graded between A and E based on 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.

While the department lists Area 1 and Area 2 regions together, previous releases list the following as Area 2: Bloemfontein, East London, Kimberley, Klerksdorp, Pietermaritzburg, Somerset West, Stellenbosch and Strand.

Area Covers
Areas 1 & Area 2 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 3 All other areas

The bracketed figures indicate how much salaries increased as at the end of January according to Satawu:

Security Officer Areas 1 & 2 Area 3
Grade A R5 558 R4 613 (R5 130)
Grade B R4 981 R4 198 (R4 715)
Grade C R4 377 R3 643 (R4 160)
Grade D & E R4 377 R3 643 (R4 160)

Read: Government is shaking up the rules around security guards in South Africa – here’s what you need to know

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How much money security guards get paid in South Africa – and why government is keeping tabs on them