Security company scrutinised following child exploitation allegations

JOHANNESBURG - Tales of child exploitation, assault and abuse at a security company in Mpumalanga are emerging.

South Africa has over 9,000 security companies that employ over half a million guards and the actions of these companies, who run them, and who they employ, warrants greater scrutiny.

One such company, Sniper Protection Services, has been accused of allowing untrained and unregistered security guards to operate, some of them underage.

The owner of the company, Walter Stander, is alleged to regularly assault his staff.

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A former employee stated he was 17 years old and worked for the company for five months.

He said Stander insisted on being called “the General” by the security staff and worked twelve-hour shifts, sometimes multiple shifts in a row.

He and many others say they are never paid overtime.

He was sent to guard a location without any equipment or training. 

But they were issued with swords.

Another former employee, Adriaan Keyser, said Stander spoke daily about the consequences for sleeping on duty.

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Stander would either "taze or beat us", Keyser said.

Keyser said this treatment wasn't isolated.

Yet another former employee, DJ van Straaten, said Stander demands you work permanently without any leave allowed. If you take a day off, it's deducted from your pay.

Stander doesn't deny employing a 17-year-old, but says he was helping a family.

As for the tazering video, he said he "gave the guy a fright."

The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) has done an inspection at Sniper Protection Services and will comment in the coming days.