Finding the delicate balance between human rights and property protection

Human Rights Day was celebrated in South Africa on 21 March. This public holiday stems from the atrocities which occurred at Sharpeville in the 1960 but is also a celebration of the progressive constitution of South Africa – and, in particular the Bill of Rights.

As an organisation which sits on the precipice between human safety and property safety, M Secure needs to be particularly cognisant and understanding of the fine balance between human rights and property protection. We are frequently called on to managed and diffuse protests, as with the recent incidents at East Cape Midlands College and Walter Sisulu University.

M Secure assisting in protest action
M Secure assisting with strike action at East Cape Midlands College

Unfortunately, our officers are often caught in the middle of protest action and police action, however they are skilled and trained to diffuse such situations using minimal force. M Secure is also often called on as a neutral third party which can mediate between protestors and management, thus further preventing peaceful pickets from becoming full-blown riots.

Our priority is always our clients and the mandate by which we serve them, however during such protests, our officers need to be very mindful of the protestors’ right to peaceful pickets, their right to safety and security, their right to dignity, freedom of speech, and their right to move freely.

In situations where protestors become unruly and potentially violent, our officers are trained to diffuse these situations in an orderly manner and to only utilize force as an absolute last port of call. Human dignity, the right to protest and the right to safety are always top of mind in these situations.

Our officers are skilled at communicating with the relevant authorities, such as the SAPS, should a situation become violent and beyond what they are trained to control.

We’ve seen several recent successes where protest actions arose, and our officers were able to manage the situation calmly, orderly and without the use of force.

Unfortunately, the security industry is constantly faced with the dilemma of criminal activity vs protection of property vs basic human rights. This is something that M Secure always strives to keep in a delicate balance, so that all parties – client, protestors, and officers alike, are unharmed, free to fulfill their rights and can walk away from the scene satisfied that the security of all involved was provided in a professional manner.

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