Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Refugees, local SMMEs competition unfair

The Minister of Defence Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi last week told parliament that he recently warned the Dukwi community about the dangers of business fronting, refugees leasing or handing over their licenses as well as appointing refugees as agents, shareholders and directors of companies contrary to the Refugees
(Recognition and Control) Act (CAP 25:01).

“I am concerned that such business arrangements as well as unlawful employment of refugees have led some refugees to believe that they have the legitimacy to reside outside the camp, which is wrong and unlawful. The situation also causes disgruntlement among law abiding refugees who do not have any money to buy business licenses or any financial resources to partner with citizens,” said Kgathi.

He said responses by some members of the community during the kgotla meeting indicated growing concerns among the local community relating to increased number of businesses being run or taken over by refugees around Dukwi.

“The most worrying factor, in their view, was the obvious unfair competition with local SMMEs because of the evident financial capability displayed by some refugees. This House would agree that this emerging situation needs a delicate, but effective control, lest it spirals out of hand with dire consequences,” he said.

Kgathi further informed the House that to date there are 3806 licensed security companies spread across the country. That almost all of them have obtained multiple service licenses covering guarding services, cash-in-transit services, dog services, horse services and CCTV.

“Others have ventured into emerging areas like high value asset protection; technology and cyber crime detection and intervention; and security auditing. While the growth in security services is commendable, particularly in view of the impending outsourcing of security and guarding services by Central Government and Local Authorities, there are serious challenges relating to the quality and efficiency of the sector which cannot be ignored,” he said.

Kgathi said the identified challenges realte to disregard by the directors of private security companies of the employee welfare, conditions of service, industrial relations as provided in the Employment Act.It is also a matter of concern, he said that some of the employees are implicated in criminal activities. For instance, 345 of them were investigated for various crimes like house breaking and theft, rape and armed robberies.

He said in view of these problems he highlighted during ‘Pitso’ that he called and was attended by 200 industry directors, the importance of professionalism, the need for them to provide quality and value for money service irrespective of who contracted such service; be it individuals, private companies, local authorities or government.
Kgathi was presenting to the Committee of supply, concluding his re-current and budget proposal for head 2500 for the amount; P5, 035,001,710 and the sum of P1, 317, 516, 020.

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