How to Become a Private Investigator In South Africa
To become a Private Investigator in South Africa means to be a PI registered with the South African government agency that supervises the investigation and security industry: "Private Security Industry Regulation Authority." Before this happens, you need to meet basic requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual requirements of this nature. To become a PI in South Africa, you also need to take a PSiRA approved Private Investigator licensing course/ program. Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and completion of the mandatory course/ program, PSiRA will register you as a Private Investigator. This is where your struggle will begin.
Your Private Investigator beginner’s license in South Africa is just being a registered PI with PSiRA. This will allow you to work for a PI agency, but you will not be able to work for yourself (your own PI company). This PI registration means you must work under the supervision of a fully licensed South Africa PI agency. However, the term “under supervision” will be in namesake only. You will not be supervised or guided by an experienced SA Private Investigator. In fact, PI agencies are not economically structured to have mentor/ student surveillance teams. Furthermore, a background in policing/ military and criminal justice will give you some transferable knowledge but it will not set you up to become a successful Private Investigator. New Private Investigators still need to know how to be successful working operations. This is why practical Private Investigator education and training specifically for Private Investigators is necessary.
It is recommended to contact PSiRA for PI applications and a list of approved Private Investigator licensing courses.
This lack of guidance is why so many rookie South African Private Investigators burn out and quit and why many experienced Private Investigators are jaded. On top of this, Private Investigator clients with small budgets typically get the new unqualified Private Investigators, nobody wins in this situation. It is also not fair to small PI clients to use their files to haphazardly train new Private Investigators.
So, the time comes for you to work investigations with no experience or education. A background in policing/ military or criminal justice will offer little to no real practical Private Investigator knowledge. You will always be told by South African PI employers that “soon you will get some training,” which never happens. It took me over five years to figure out the industry and get good at a few specialized fields. During that time, I struggled and probably lost several hundred thousand dollars due to losing work opportunities from a lack of Private Investigator skill and education. What is sad is that this is a common story in the SA Private Investigator industry. If you make it through this meat grinder of an industry, you can qualify to work for yourself (run your own PI agency). You will need to be a registered SA Private Investigator business for this. Hopefully, when you are hiring new Private Investigators, you will appreciate the importance of proper PI education.
South Africa Private Investigator Registration Requirements
You must be 18yo or older
You must be a citizen of South Africa
You must have a clean criminal record
You must complete an SA government approved PI licensing program
You must not be a member of any national security/ police agency
You must pay a small PI registration fee
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