Mpho Geoffrey Oss, a former policeman turned businessman, is said to have hitch-hiked to cover the 76 km between his home in Kuruman and the enterprise development office of Anglo American in Khathu where he ‘struck gold’.
This is after Oss had identified a security gap in Kuruman, Northern Cape, and was convinced that a person of his background can close the gap for a fee. Off he went to the Anglo American enterprise development arm Zimele which maintains an office in Khathu, also in the Northern Cape. He was looking for financial assistance to launch a security firm of a different kind.
With his 18 years of experience in the South African Police Service, Oss realised that business as usual was not the way to fight crime. Well trained and experienced security personnel will was going to better serve his community of Kuruman which was troubled by rising crime levels. He knew that intelligence is the critical tool to ensure security.
Oss captured the attention of John Seretse, Zimele manager in Khathu, to help fund his dream Kgomongwe Security Services. He secured the funding which helped in the growth of his dream into an operation employing 44 people and growing across the Northern Cape.
Oss was on the money. Private security is big business across South Africa. The industry is estimated to be worth about R30bn a year and is thought to have about a 1 million army in security guards. This reflects insecurities by many South Africans.
However service levels are unsatisfactory as captured Julie Bodnar in a briefing paper for the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. “South Africa has a large private security industry: it has more officers than the police service and is estimated to be worth R30-billion annually. But the prevalence of private security services has arguably done little to combat the insecurities it aims to address. In fact, the industry itself carries risks that could exacerbate South Africa’s crime problems, or at least perpetuate fear”.
The industry is also dominated by a few giants and a significant portion has foreign origins. Transformation levels, in the way of black economic empowerment, are unimpressive. The bottom up path followed by Oss in establishing Kgomongwe Security Services contributes towards meaningful transformation of the industry.
“Mpho Oss knew what he was talking about; he had given his idea a lot of thought and was able to articulate his vision clearly,” said Seretse. Further, he was able to show how his business would grow and be sustainable over the long run. Zimele saw it fitting to support Mpho’s small enterprise as it is perfectly aligned with one of Anglo American’s strategic goals of creating sustainable jobs.”
Anglo American has a strong presence in the Northern Cape Province and mainly through its JSE listed subsidiary Kumba Iron Ore.
“Kumba Iron Ore’s confidence in Mpho’s vision has seen the company grow from the seed of an idea to a company with 44 full time employees, with security contracts across the province”.
Oss said “We are not a company of bored boom guards waving strangers onto your property. We are the people you come to for absolute peace of mind. Thanks to Zimele, we offer a professional business that understand the needs of each client and offer tailored solutions that add business value.”
“I remind my people daily what we do is important. Our work is not just a job but a way to improve the lives of everyone they know. My goal is to make sure that we prevent crime before it even happens,” said Oss.
Kgomongwe Security Services, pinpoints vulnerabilities and designs security solutions to counter a company’s exposure. “My officers are well-trained specialists who are making inroads in a very competitive environment,” said Oss.
“I am proud to tell people I am from Kuruman, and I want to see it grow and prosper, but crime is a big problem. We needed to find a way to tackle this beast to make our town attractive to businesses and safe to live in.”