Here’s how many security guards there are in South Africa – and what they earn

The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) has published its annual report for 2019/2020, showing an increase in the number of registered security officers in South Africa.

The report shows that there are now 2,495,899 registered security officers across the country, with just under a million in Gauteng alone. The country has a total of 10,298 registered security business.

This is an increase of more than 100,000 registered officers compared to the same period last year (2019: 2,395,794).

The majority of the registered security officers are male (1,682,840), however, the number of female security officers has steadily increased over the last few years, reaching a new high of 813,059 this year.

The below graphic shows where these security officers are registered across the country.

Being a registered security officer does not equate to employment, and PSIRA’s data shows that far fewer security officers are actively employed (548,642).

However, this number has also steadily increased over the past five years, with an increase also seen in the number of employed security officers (122,954).

The annual report does not indicate how much the country’s security officers are paid – likely because it differs based on the region, employer and type of security work.

However, a circular issued by the authority in 2019 serves to align the industry with changes made to the national minimum wage and provides a baseline for the minimum that security officers can be paid.

The current minimum wage ranges from R4,160 – R5,558 a month depending on their role and the geographical area they work in.  This works out to an annual salary of between R50,000 – R66,700.

However, it should be noted that this is a minimum baseline salary and that guards can earn substantially more depending on which security company they work for.

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

Pay is further separated into regional areas, with more densely populated regions typically paying higher amounts.

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 rate of pay differs across South Africa in the following brackets.

Security Officer Areas 1 & 2 Area 3
Grade A R5 558 R4 613
Grade B R4 981 R4 198
Grade C, D & E R4 377 R4 160

Read: Government paying millions of rands to South Africans for damage caused by potholes

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Here’s how many security guards there are in South Africa – and what they earn