The Private Security Regulation Act, No. 56 of 2001 gives the Minister of Safety and Security extremely wide powers, after consultation with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (“PSIRA”) and on notice in the Gazette, under s1(2) of the Act to exempt anyone from any provision of the Act, and under s20(5) of the Act to exempt any security service provider (or category of) from the operation of any provision of the Act .
However, the Act does not require that the Minister give reasons for granting such exemptions in the Gazette notice, and it would appear that Minister does not intend to give reasons. For example, the Minister recently issued a notice published in the Gazette (Notice 684 in Gazette 31172 dated 2008/06/27), granting a Ms. R.M. Motanyane a 5 year exemption from the requirement in s23(1)(c) of the Act that a natural person applying for registration under s20(1) must have complied with relevant training requirements prescribed for registration as a security service provider, and the notice makes these exemptions conditional on her remaining employed by G4S Security Services (Pty) Ltd as a non-executive director responsible for administration, governance and finance and not participating or influencing day-to-day security services which the company provides. No reasons for the exemptions were given.
Perhaps the exemptions were given because Ms Motanyane intends to perform executive or managing functions for G4S but is not registered as a security service provider, and therefore G4S would be in non-compliance with section 20(2)(a) of the Act. Section 20(2)(a) provides that a security business (G4S?) can only register as a security service provider if all the persons performing executive or managing functions in respect of such security business (Ms Motanyane?), are registered as a security service provider. Or, perhaps Ms Motanyane has already been performing executive or managing functions for G4S, and G4S’s registration as a security service provider is invalid because she is not properly registered in terms of the Act. Or, perhaps the reason for granting Ms Motanyane (or is it G4S?) the exemptions is entirely different from the above postulated reasons. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…
Whatever the reason was, we don’t know if it was an adequate reason for the Minister to dispense with the requirements of s23(1)(c) of the Act in relation to Ms Motanyane. We don’t know if the exemption in fact also amounts to an exemption of G4S from the requirements of s23(1)(c) of the Act, or whether the exemption amounts to an exemption which is a lot wider than just an exemption of s23(1)(c) of the Act.
The Minister really should ensure that exemption notices in terms of the Act contain sufficient detail for the public to decide whether or not the requirements of the Act regarding exemptions were satisfied. To this end, such notices should contain a statement that the Minister consulted with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (“PSIRA”) before granting such an exemption. The notice should also set out the Minister’s reasons for granting each exemption referred to in the notice in sufficient detail for the public to evaluate whether or not the effect of the exemption will prejudice the achievement of the objects of the Act.
Anything less would leave the public so in the dark and the Minister with so much power in his or her hands, as to make the Act a nullity in the eyes of the public.