For some years, going back to Steve Tshwete’s period as minister of police from 1999 to 2002, legislation limiting the scope of foreign-owned private security services in South Africa has been in the pipeline. It has repeatedly been withdrawn or held back because of opposition from the private security industry. Legislation may now be passed that the industry argues is unconstitutional. Assuming the legal objections can be overcome and the legislation passed, is it good or bad for the country?
The private security industry (PSI) has seen exceptional growth in South Africa over the past 30 years. State security services have for some time been outgunned and possibly outnumbered by private security services. In any democracy, that raises problems. It was Max Weber who referred to the state as the body claiming the monopoly of legitimate forceviolence in society.
But certainly one of the reasons for broadly accepting that definition is that it is important to limit those who have access to weaponry and are, in this case, licensed to use a range of forceful means to curtail the freedom – or even end the lives – of others. Consequently, in any democratic state, having a huge…
Source : Daily Maverick