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Unscrupulous SA security companies abusing Zimbabweans

by Busisani Ncube in Johannesburg
31 Jan 2020 at 09:38hrs | Views
The Association of Private Security Owners of South Africa (TAPSOSA) has called on authorities to look into the plight of Zimbabwean security officers being abused by some unscrupulous companies in the neighbouring countries.

The issue came to light this week when a company owned by Walter Stander, who was convicted for murdering his wife in 1999, was exposed for hiring untrained and unregistered 16-year-olds.

TAPSOSA secretary general Moses Malada said hundreds of fly-by-night companies were hiring untrained, undocumented and unregistered officers from Zimbabwe to take advantage of them.

"In the case of Zimbabweans it's worse because these employers take advantage of them knowing they can't report since some are undocumented in South Africa. Many of them aren't paid the national minimum wage and, in some cases, they don't even receive their salaries," Malada explained.

He said TAPSOSA was engaging the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) to investigate unlawful business practices and shut down non-compliant companies.

"The reason these companies get away with unlawful business practices is because most of their contracts are in the private sector where there's no tendering system. For companies doing business with government, they are under the microscope as they go through rigorous tendering processes," he added.

In the case of Stander's company, Sniper Protection Services, he is under investigation for hiring 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds. The law is clear that only persons who are over the age of 18 can be registered as security officers.

"16-year-olds must be in school, PSIRA must take stern action against companies doing this," Malada said.

Some employees at the company have confirmed they were paid between R2500-R3000. According to the national minimum wage, the lowest paid security officer should be earning R3 643.

A Zimbabwean security officer guarding a complex south of Johannesburg confirmed the abuse

"We've no choice but to take these jobs because things are tough back home and we have families to take care of. Sometimes our salaries aren't paid, but we can't take it up with the department of labour because we don't have documents to live and work in South Africa," he said.

PSIRA have said they will engage the department of labour to investigate the matter.

Source - Busisani Ncube in Johannesburg

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