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Private security regulatory body CEO has criminal record

Dianne Kohler Barnard, Shadow Minister of Police
28 October 2009

The Police Portfolio Committee heard yesterday that the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), the public body that regulates the private security industry and controls the practices of private security service providers, is in a dire state of affairs, and that the now suspended CEO has a criminal record, in spite of the fact that he would have had to have been vetted by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

The CEO was apparently suspended in May 2008 following allegations of serious misconduct and poor performance, and an acting CEO, Ntusi Mbodla, was appointed. It also emerged that the CEO had a criminal record. This is quite astonishing as PSIRA members may not have other businesses and have to be successfully vetted by the NIA. Even more astonishing is that an individual with a criminal record headed up an authority that regulates private security companies, which are charged with the task of bringing criminals to justice.

This is the second such case that the DA is aware of, of the NIA failing to properly vet an individual; either that or it is overlooking the information it uncovers in the face of political pressure. Earlier this year it emerged that Paul Ngobeni – a fugitive from justice in the United States – was appointed as a legal advisor to the Minister of Defence, also in spite of being vetted by the NIA.

In addition, PSIRA’s audit report makes for some disturbing reading. The AG gave a disclaimer of opinion in the report because of “the significance of the matters described… I have not been able to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion”. Some of the findings included:

  • PSIRA received R11.7 million in unknown direct deposits in their bank account;
  • PSIRA purchased R615 043 worth of printer cartridges that were not compatible with their printers;
  • PSIRA signed a lease to the amount of R278 598 for premises that are not utilised by them;
  • The accounting authority did not comply with 8 sections of the Public Finance Management Act, including not submitting their budget to the Treasury;
  • The accounting authority did not comply with 2 Treasury regulations, including not preparing a fraud prevention plan.

The Minister sent in an intervention team, which is due to report back on October 30th. The Democratic Alliance will be asking parliamentary questions regarding the vetting process of PSIRA council members and we will be following these events carefully to ensure that proper leadership is installed in PSIRA.