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A niche in the neighborhood

Baitshepi Sekgweng
SAFETY FIRST: Keddim Director, Morebodi

Providing protection while the people sleep

In an industry dominated by established heavyweights, Keddim Security Services continues to hold its own.

Set-up 13 years ago by Kedibonye Morebodi, the Gaborone-based security company has found a niche in Neighbourhood Watch, ensuring the residents of Blocks 5, 8 and 9 sleep easier at night.

We sit down with the 46-year-old Serowe native to find out more.

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Talk us through Keddim’s history?

This company started operations in 2011.

Mostly we provide alarm monitoring, physical guarding, patrol and bodyguards services and bouncers for our clients.

The security sector is heavily dominated by a select few major players; how do you manage to hold your own against the big boys?

In most cases we assist Batswana in Neighbourhood Watch and when there are tenders we do apply and try our luck from government.

But we are popular with Neighbourhood Watch in Block 5 since 2018 when we started these services, doing arrests and fighting crime.

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We grew with time and attracted interest in Blocks 9 and 8 as well as Phase II because they heard of our capabilities and engaged us for our services as well.

How does this Neighbourhood Watch work?

Neighbours come together and divide their areas into cells.

They contribute money and pay us for foot patrols around their homesteads.

With these cells it is easier for our officers to patrol around without covering a larger area.

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We charge differently depending on how dispersed or close together the homesteads are.

For government, we charge based on how much the minimum wage is – I can’t charge anything lower than the minimum wage!

Geographical area doesn’t matter or whether the place is crime infested; we charge based on the services we are going to provide there.

Why security, is it something you did at school?

I started this business before I could acquire any qualifications because I long developed an interest in it.

As I was already in operation, I took a course in Security Management from Speciss College in Zimbabwe.

So I hold that diploma now.

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How is the competition in the security industry?

It is quite hectic!

It’s crowded, so it is survival of the fittest.

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However, if you know what you want to achieve and do it well, the clients will keep coming.

That’s why various neighbourhoods managed to engage us after hearing of our capability and good work.

Where would you like to see the security sector improving?

This should start with us companies introspecting and uniting for a common cause because we still behind in terms of that; even our association, it’s like we are divided.

The other thing is to follow rules and see things like paying officers on time becoming the norm and giving our employees proper welfare to give this industry proper growth.

Government did away with its own security, leaving the private sector to play in that area, how has this worked for you?

Government did well with that by leaving us to compete amongst ourselves because that came with job openings from public sector side.

This has resulted in growth for many security companies in terms of revenue as well as employment creation.

What do you regard as Keddim Security Services’ major milestone to date?

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I have done tenders with government and schools which from a financial perspective they are good but the Neighborhood Watch programme with Block 5 is the best moment because through it, the company was able to grow and get recognition in places around Gaborone.

As a result I was able to hire youth in Block 5 area where I am also a resident.

Generally, what are the challenges security companies such as yours face?

Crime is high and for us who are into this arrangement of Neighborhood Watch, it seems like people are not united to work closely with security.

Some people pull out of the arrangement so it becomes difficult.

Another thing is that the police are slow in terms of responding to our reports, though they do help in patrols.

There have been issues of security companies failing to pay their employees, including a recent case which trended on social media, when the disgruntled guard, who was owed three months pay, took matters into his own hands! Your thoughts?

It’s quite bad but in most cases it’s caused by us as security companies.

It’s not widespread but it is a problem that is becoming more common; the association has made it a major priority to address this.

The safety of security guards is another point that’s often raised, with calls for officers to be armed with guns. What’s your take on that?

It is an important issue but when I’m looking at it from the perspective of us as security people, I will say government should look more into the issue and make thorough assessment.

We don’t want a situation where our employees end up not using the guns for the intended purpose.

So how many employees do you have and how much do you pay them?

Currently we have 39 officers in the field of work.

We pay according to government minimum wage, which is P7.34 an hour.

Any Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives you are engaged on currently?

I help with contributions during Independence celebrations in Block 5.

Even where we are not employed, we try by all means to provide and cover the security aspect in events in the area and make sure there is zero crime.

What are the future plans of this company?

I want this company growing to the level of huge industry players like G4S and Security Services, play a key role in the sector and increase its market share.

PERSONAL PROFILE

FULL NAMES: Kedibonye Morebodi
DOB: 03/03/1977
POB: Serowe
MARITAL STATUS: Single
FAV MEAN: Dinawa served with oxtail
FAV DRINK: Fanta Orange
HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Maun

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