How much money car guards and private security officers earn in South Africa

The Department of Labour has announced new minimum wages for the private security sector – which will rise 6.4% with effect from next month, 1 September 2017.

South Africa has a massive private security force – with the number of private officers outstripping the number of police and active military officers combined.

According to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira), there are over 1.87 million registered security officers in South Africa – 490,000 of whom are classified as active.

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.

From 1 September 2017, this massive workforce will see their 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.  Guards 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.

Car guards

In 2009, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act was amended to include car guards under the Sectoral Determination for private security.

According to the amended act, car guards fall within the category ’employees not elsewhere specified’, which means registered car guards earn between R2,933 and R3,534 a month, depending on the area they work in.

Car guards, however, are subject to a “bay fee” – the daily cost a car guard must pay to agencies or managers of shopping malls to secure a certain space to guard at the specified location.

The industry, which is largely unregulated, has been accused of being exploitative to those who work as guards.

A Psira circular on 2017/18 admin fees also showed that individual car guards need to pay R184.00 a year to be recognised and registered by the authority. The group’s 2016 annual report listed 1,502 registered ‘car watch’ companies in the country.

Informal car guards are not covered by the regulations, and thus earn anywhere between R50 and R100 a day, while still be subject to the bay fee.

Read: New laws could mean the end of private security as we know it in SA: report

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How much money car guards and private security officers earn in South Africa