Local security companies want to carry firearms

With the relocation of the much-anticipated Diamond Trading Company (DTC) from London to Gaborone, local private security companies demand special licenses to help enhance their security to international standards.The security companies are of the view that the current local security standards are unsuitable to provide tight security level, especially to international diamond traders.

With diamonds of so much value to be traded here, domestic security players feel that the move will also attract criminal syndicates from across the globe, with an array of sophisticated criminal skills. “We are likely to see even a serious increase in armed robberies, money laundering and other sophisticated crimes by thieves with experience in the international market,” remarked Gaolatlhe Mudongo, chairman of Security Association Botswana (SAB).

Currently, government does not allow any private security company to use firearms. Mudongo, also the Managing Director of Ninex Security Company, said the SAB and some security companies demand licenses to carry firearms. “We want special licenses for particular operations.

If we are to benefit from the diamond trading companies which would be dealing with valuable precious stones, we would need superior security services, including firearms to give them security to their satisfaction,” he said, adding that if they are not given special licenses for such operations, diamond traders would not risk engaging them, but would rather bring security companies from their own countries, or engage the Defence Force (BDF) or the police. “This would in turn be taking away business from us,” Mudongo said.

However Samma Tabudi, principal spokesperson in the Defence Justice and Security ministry, said government has seen no justification for security companies to use firearms.Kago Mmopi, spokesperson of the Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) said the current standards of local private security companies are unsatisfactory. “Currently, we do not have any local security company that provides security services to diamond traders, because their security still has challenges,” said Mmopi.

Only two international security companies-Malca Amit Security and Brinks Security-are currently engaged by the Diamond Technology Park (DTP) for their services.Mmopi opined that, it shows that local private security companies lack skills possessed by international security companies. He further said, with over 300 diamond trading companies expected here towards the end of next year, local private security companies need to work around the clock to strengthen their security standards or else, other security companies from South Africa and from around the world would come and enjoy business here.

Tabudi said the private security companies, with support of the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security, Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, Botswana Chamber of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) and Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) are working on the security standards and accreditation. She said when completed there should be standardised training and minimum operational standards so that companies could actually be rated as done with hotels.

“A task team has been set up to lead this initiative. The Diamond Hub Coordinator has been periodically briefing the private security companies directly through the Ministry and BOCCIM for the industry to appreciate the demand and expectations of the DTCI. It is our view therefore that private security companies should be ready to work well with DTCI,” she said.

Mojaki Mokgosana, Managing Director of Botswana’s premier security provider G4S, had previously stated that they want government to allow security companies to partner with international players, whose security standards and technologies are superior, saying it would uplift the domestic security industry which is still at its infancy stage.

Further, Mokgosana said security companies have proposed the revision of the licensing legislation, to provide opportunities for entry of other international players. The ‘Private Securities Bill’, to be presented to the National Assembly this November, aims to repeal and re-enact with amendments the Control of Security Guard Services Act.

However, Tabudi said to address the emerging issues affecting this industry a draft Bill amending the law under reference is under discussion with security companies. She said on the 1st November 2012 all the private security guard companies will converge at Maharaja Conference Centre in Gaborone in a consultative forum to make an input to the envisaged draft bill.

The proposed bill provides for the establishment of a licensing board, which shall among other things, issue licenses to operate private security services, as well as setting a code of conduct for the industry. Managing Director for Savuti Security, Louis Ditiro said under the current circumstances, security companies would not gain from the DTC relocation because of government regulations.

He however remained optimistic that with the bill to be presented to parliament, they would be in a position to enhance their security standards and also reap rewards from the DTC relocation.

Last modified on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 16:24

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