The civil rights organisation AfriForum submitted comments on the concept amendments to the Private Security Industry Regulations Act, 2001 (Act No 56 of 2001) on 28 June 2019. These amendments were published in the Government Gazette om 31 May 2019.
The planned amendments have far-reaching consequences for the security industry and, among other, limit the class of firearm that may be issued to security guards in the execution of their duties. In terms of the concept amendments, semi-automatic firearms may only be used during transit services. AfriForum agrees with the majority of security companies that, under these circumstances, the industry cannot render proper services if criminals are armed with automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles.
Security firms attended a meeting at the Burgers Park Hotel in Pretoria on 18 June 2019 to submit their inputs to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA). Representatives, among whom representatives from AfriForum, voiced their dissatisfaction; they especially emphasised that security firms had not been consulted properly or given the opportunity to give inputs before the concept amendments were drawn up or published.
“As a result of the SAPS en SANDF’s neclegence, many automatic and semi-automatic rifles end up in the hands of criminals. It is preposterous and absurd to divest security firms of their authority and to limit the use of semi-automatic rifles to the execution of certain services. How on earth are security guards, who mostly arrive before the SAPS at crime scenes, supposed to protect their clients and the public against attackers who are armed significantly heavier?” asks Marnus Kamfer, AfriForum’s Legal and Risk Manager for Community Safety.