You’re about to attend the BRICS Summit in South Africa. The world’s leading, emerging economies are coming together as one to discuss political and socio-economic factors in their countries. Whether you’re coming from Brazil, Russia, India, China, or right here in South Africa, this milestone event is set to be an informative experience for all. You’ll be geared with a pen, notebook and possibly, an armed security driver.
It is no secret that safety is a concern in South Africa. High crime rates pose a threat to safety in many different ways, especially in the case of high-profile individuals. If you are visiting South Africa for the first time – or haven’t visited often, you may be unaware of some of the risks. It is vital to do advance planning before your trip, and gain the necessary information to stay safe. Here is an overview of some things to look out for when attending the BRICS Summit, or during future business or leisure trips to South Africa.
Staying Safe in South Africa
Travel can actually be relatively easy if you understand some general rules. For the most part, using common sense will help you stay safe during your stay, but here are some more tips:
- Be aware of your surroundings and look out for suspicious behaviour
- Don’t flash money or valuables around – this will make you more of a target
- Don’t walk around alone and keep to public areas
- Keep doors locked, and windows closed whether in the car or your accommodation
- Research every area you visit and check the safety of this area
- Take advice from official sources about avoiding specific areas
These tips cover general safety, but special consideration should be given to safety when travelling, as South African roads put you at risk of hijacking and other dangers.
Secure Travel Tips
Travelling in South Africa, especially to and from the airport, exposes you to high risks. Ensuring secure travel entails all the efforts put into each and every trip, and that it is well-planned and safe. This includes:
- Extensive planning before each trip
- A clear understanding of the route
- Knowledge of key locations like your embassy, police stations and hospitals
- Avoidance of travelling alone, especially at night
- An understanding of local traffic rules
These tips can help ensure your personal security, but are they really enough? When you are a high profile individual, your risk increases dramatically. The question you should be asking yourself is how much does your safety mean to you?
Safety at the BRICS Summit: Why You Should Use Protection Services
In the case of the BRICS Summit, there will be an influx of high profile individuals entering the country. This makes everyone involved in the event a much bigger target. Extra safety should be ensured during this time. If you think you require a protection service during the BRICS Summit, do you know what type of protection you need? There is a difference between the type of protection a diplomat or government official will need, versus a business executive or VIP.
If someone mentioned diplomatic protection, the first thing that might come to your mind is the United States Secret Service. This well-known organisation represents the image the public has of government or presidential protection. Some even confuse what the Secret Service does with the service of executive protection – putting these terms under the same umbrella. However, both topics are complex and entail more than the average person understands – they couldn’t be more different when it comes to the service offering. For a clearer understanding, we’ve defined each term in detail and discussed the similarities and differences to each protection approach.
Government Diplomatic Protection
Government Diplomatic protection is the service certain government officials use for their own personal protection, the protection of their families and any other persons they may wish to protect. In South Africa, this role primary falls to PPS or Presidential Protection Security. The PPS provides in-transit and static protection to the President, the Deputy President, former Presidents, former Deputy Presidents, their spouses, identified VIPs, including foreign Heads of State/Government and former Heads of State/Government and their spouses and at strategic government installations.
This unit, – along with other official diplomatic and VIP protection units around the world – has its focus solely on the protection of official persons who are designated by the specific country due to official title or status. There are however many who are excluded from this type of protection even those that do in fact required close protection.
Private Executive Protection
Are government officials the only people who need protection? Absolutely not. Private Executive protection involves the holistic approach to close protection services of executives or high profile individuals. The level of protection required by these principals is dependent on their individual risk profiles as well as the environment they are in. While the above-mentioned government officials expect the large-scale protection, this is seldom the case with executives. Private executive protection is a far more tailor-made approach that is geared towards the needs of the principal based on a risk analysis and considerate to budgetary constraints. Executive protection caters to the corporate environment and the private market.
The main difference is that government officials protected by official dignitary protection units have all resources required such as large-scale manpower. Executive protection, however, requires a more subtle approach which needs to be dynamic and executed in such a way as to maximise every resource available.
Do you know if you’ve ensured the right protection for your business executives or high profile individuals, or even your own protection during this time?