Promoting Partnerships for Crime Prevention between State and Private Security Providers in Southern Africa

Since the 1990s, private security companies (PSCs) have expanded their presence. In many parts of Africa and across the developing world, PSCs provide police-type security services at a scale far surpassing that of many national police forces. For policymakers, this poses the challenge of assessing the extent to which the proliferation of private security forces is undermining the notion of the state's legitimate monopoly over the use of force.

At the core of this policy dilemma are two key considerations: (1) PSCs provide their services for a fee and do not act in the name of promoting public security; and (2) PSCs currently operate in a regulatory vacuum. Because this trend toward the privatization of security services is unlikely to be reversed, national governments (and regional and international organizations) must find ways to manage and regulate the reality of a mixed state-private security domain.

This study will explore crime prevention partnerships between the state and the private security actors in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. Drawing on a literature review and interviews, it will provide the first in-depth analysis of crime prevention partnerships between the state and non-state actors in these countries. Its aim is to develop an evidence base of which measures are effective or ineffective in shaping policy processes that improve crime prevention initiatives and enhance citizen security. Findings will be shared through workshops and conferences, publications, monographs and online databases.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

End Date

Friday, November 6, 2015


36 months

IDRC Officer

Thioune, Ramata Aw

Total funding

CA$ 608,800


South of Sahara, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa


Governance and Justice

Project Leader

Sabelo Gumedze


Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority

Institution Country

South Africa

Institution Website