The name of G4S is something of a byword for security across the globe, but in South Africa, it means a lot more than that. Having gotten to know G4S’ Guam branch a few months ago, we took a closer look at the South African arm to see what this company is capable of when presented with a meatier scale of operations.
As one of South Africa’s largest private sector employers, G4S is currently reaping the benefits of years of investment in the country, having recently been named a Top Employer for the country whilst its parent company, G4S Global, has been awarded the same honour for the entire African continent for 2018.
G4S South Africa employs more than 120,000 people across a broad variety of sectors, from cash and securities management to the day-to-day management and running of private correctional facilities. The company is separated into three broad divisions, each representing one of the core sectors of their business within the country: G4S Care and Justice, G4S Cash Solutions, and G4S Secure Solutions.
G4S Cash Solutions is a broad umbrella covering the practical and secure management of almost every kind of everyday financial transaction across much of South Africa. Under this umbrella, G4S ATM Solutions and Engineering not only handles the supply and installation of up-to-date machines, but refurbishes older models for sustainable use, as well as providing maintenance and upkeep contracts supporting a wide range of major cash access and dispensing device brands. G4S South Africa have more than 100 fully-trained dedicated technicians on-call across the country, so that rapid maintenance needs can be dealt with swiftly and efficiently. In addition, using the services of more than 60 highly-trained technical specialists, G4S installs, runs and maintains individualised electronic specialised systems for a large number of companies and institutions from small businesses to schools and high-security government facilities, managing not only security but CCTV, attendance and timekeeping management, PA systems, fire suppression and even evacuation systems.
Through Cash Solutions, G4S South Africa manages and runs regional and shared cash distribution centres for nine South African commercial banks, allowing them to minimise risk and maximise compliance to regulatory standards, and operates one of the country’s most sought-after cash processing services, with a wide and secure network that allow businesses of all sizes to manage and process their cash with maximum efficiency and safety. The high level of business and consumer confidence in G4S’ services – particularly their locally-developed software package, which allows customers to realise the same-day value of their cash – is demonstrated by the fact that this network now handles a substantial fraction of South Africa’s day-to-day cash supplies.
Much of the confidence in G4S South Africa comes from their robust reputation in cash-in-transit and the transport of other valuables. Using a fleet of sophisticated armoured vehicles equipped with electro-mechanical interlocking and e-Viper surveillance software to track the individual secured carriers, each vehicle is constantly monitored by the company’s centralised National Control Centre. The carriers themselves each bear an individual barcode to aid in tracking, and ink-and-dye technology to stain banknotes if a container is forced open, marking them as stolen property and therefore useless to criminals. Each vehicle is manned by security personnel trained to international industry standards.
Similarly, their High Value Logistics Service offers protection for valuable cargoes from diamonds to objets d’art, pharmaceuticals to high value electronics. Their private charter service arranges for such goods to be picked up from a specified location via an armoured vehicle and transported to their destination on a G4S aircraft, accompanied by a custodian; alternatively, their airline freight service allows for the transport of valuable goods to a secure facility at an airport, followed by transport aboard a specified flight. heir ground haulage service arranges for bulk haulage of valuable goods via truck accompanied by G4S armoured vehicles, with additional security provided by air surveillance and air support if the customer desires. Alternatively, customers can choose G4S’ Tactical Support Escort Services, where highly-trained G4S Tactical Support Unit personnel escort a shipment personally from pickup to destination, overseen by the South Africa National Control Centre.
At this point, the services on offer are beginning to move out from the Cash Solutions umbrella under that of G4S Security Solutions. Alongside it can be found the G4S Manned Security Services, where G4S provides a wide range of specialist security personnel to meet the needs of a broad variety of businesses and organisations. This division deploys more than 9,000 trained and screened security guards, alongside local management teams to provide services ranging from security patrols to reception services in a wide variety of locations across South Africa. For customers with needs of a larger scale but shorter duration, this division also uses more than a quarter of a century of experience in events management to provide event stewards and security personnel for large scale sporting events, conferences, concerts, exhibitions and summits.
G4S Africa Risk Solutions is described by the company itself as “a trusted provider of risk management services, secure mobility and close protection to governments, international agencies and multinational corporations throughout the African continent.” South Africa is one of the countries in which the Risk Solutions division operates, with specific local management units who are able to give South African knowledge and insight to operations taking place within the country, all from the regional management base in Praetoria. This division specialises in Close Protection of VIPs, with agents trained to a world class standard in bodyguarding techniques from first aid provision to tactical management in situations of threat; Secure Mobility services, including the provision of armoured vehicles and vetted drivers, airport meet-and-greets and tracking of VIPs; and Risk Consultancy, where G4S consultants are able to put their holistic knowledge of the political, social and economic landscape across more than 30 African countries to assist the clients from civil authorities, NGOs and corporations to effectively plan risk management for their personnel and operations in South Africa.
The National Control Centre in Centurion is the hub where all of G4S South Africa’s services meet. This is where personnel use G4S’ innovative software to monitor the company’s concerns in real time; tracking the transport of cash and the movement of teams protecting VIP clients, monitoring CCTV surveillance feeds, centralising logistics for event management, and sharing and analysing intelligence and information. This is also where the Secure Monitoring and Response team are based, with a network of regional response teams throughout the country ready to dispatch professional reaction officers, who are highly trained in providing tactical support and emergency response, to customers as well as other G4S staff. If the NCC is the eyes and the brain, these teams function as the hands, providing not only reactive responses to incidents and alarms, but backup patrol services that many client organisations use to supplement their own security, particularly outside of working hours.
It takes several ingredients to create a reliable and effective security provider: you need highly trained, passionate and committed personnel; state-of-the-art equipment; streamlined communication and an effective control centre; and a broad range of services that can plan and prepare for any eventuality. G4S has all of these, showing there’s no wonder why this company has become synonymous with security across the continent, and for South Africa in particular. Whatever the threat, G4S are a strong contender for South African’s security needs, offering peace of mind to anyone who to be in safe hands.