The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security (MDJS), Shaw Kgathi has expressed concern over incidents of crime involving security guards, as new data reveals 345 cases from 2012 to date.
Addressing security companies at a Pitso yesterday, the minister said instead of protecting people and their property, some guards opted to steal from the same people they were engaged to protect.
The ministry is in the process of establishing a database of all security employees in order to weed out the bad apples.
“The private security industry was established primarily to protect people, property and assist law enforcement agencies in the prevention of crime. Crime is growing and disturbingly in the areas where you are deployed,” he said.
He explained that from 2012 to date the police dealt with a total of 345 cases of crimes involving employees of private security companies.
He said they had six cases of rape, three burglary and theft, 12 stealing by servant, three stealing from a dwelling house, 37 theft common, five possession of suspected stolen property, three house breaking, 12 malicious damage to property, two working in Botswana without permit, six unlawful possession of government trophy and six possession of drugs including suspected cases of armed robbery cases.
He added that when some crime is taking place, there is never a satisfactory explanation on where the guards would be. Kgathi said this had resulted in police chasing reports that had no leads, thus compromising the investigations of the cases.
“What worries the most is that some of the guards are deployed as trolley recovery staff in shopping malls while others take stock in the shops instead of guarding these premises. This does not relate to what the guards are
Kgathi said it was high time that whenever shopping malls are developed, shop owners are required to make provision for security infrastructure such as CCTV.
The minister revealed that a Crime Prevention Master Plan had been developed with security companies and part of its proposals was that shopping malls under development be required to make provisions for security.
The long-running issue of low wages within the private security sector also came up during the Pitso, with Kgathi saying many complaints had been received in this regard.
“My office has been receiving quite significant numbers of complaints from employees of private security companies over non-payment of wages and terminal benefits by their employers,” he said.
“When we inquire from the clients of some of the security companies, we find that the security company would have been paid according to the contract but instead of paying employees, some chose to go on expensive holidays or buy expensive vehicles.
“This has resulted in some employees going for months without pay or losing their jobs and thus swelling unemployment numbers.”
In response, representatives of security firms called on the minister to draft a law that would regulate salaries, working conditions and other related matters.
Others, however, attributed the wage problems to late payments by government institutions.
Security firms also applauded government’s plan to create a database of security sector employees, saying this would make it easy to identify rogue security guards who transfer from one company to another.