Private security has become a major industry and employer in South Africa. The number of private security officers has more than tripled that of police officers since 1997. The private industry has more boots on the ground than the police and the military combined. In 2014 there were 153,116 sworn police officials, versus nearly (487,058) half a million registered security officers. According to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira), there are over 1.87 million registered security officers in South Africa – 490,000 of which are classified as active.
Fidelity Security Group announced earlier this month that it intends to buy ADT, the South African security business belonging to US-based Tyco for approximately R1.9 billion ($140 million). ADT provides central monitoring services including video surveillance and dispatch, armed response, access control and other security-related services to more than 365,000 residential, small-to-medium sized enterprises and larger commercial customers. Upon completion of the merger, the expanded Fidelity group would have more than 168 points of presence across Southern Africa and support around 57,000 employees.
Police officers in South Africa earn between R105,000 and R156,000 a year – the average pay for private security officers is much lower at between R37,596 and R58,752 annually.