In the midst of the annual 16 days of Activism Campaign, police statistics have shown that one South African woman is murdered every three hours. Puseletso Mbhele, Social worker turned criminologist, said the figure was staggering and the justice system in the country was not coping with the tide of violence. She realized that there was a lot of rape, child abuse, and domestic violence against women. “I realized it was too much for me, I couldn’t take the emotional strain. There was a lot happening out there but not enough help” said Mbhele.
She decided to register Lifeshield Home Security in 2015 and is fully accredited under the Private Security Industry Regulation Act and the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority, to provide training through its security academy, as well as home and commercial protection services and launched #ICantBeNext community campaign offering free self-defence training and boot camps to local women and university students. “People think self-defense is about fighting back but it’s actually about being able to get away from bad situations and having the tools and awareness to keep safe says Mbhele.
The 34-year-old mother of three said she believed that there was a lot that could be done to assist victims and this propelled her to study criminology. According to Mbhele, “It started as a response to what I saw in my community…four children were killed and a woman. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to be able to conduct investigations and make sure the victims don’t see people who are responsible for rape back out in the community.”
She also said that she plans to continue growing the business after recently completing the two-year SAB Foundation Tholoana Programme which is run by business incubator Fetola. Mbhele noted that since 2015, her company has grown to 31 staff members with five clients, operating in Randfontein, Westonaria and Krugersdorp. Her team provides guarding services, training services for security officers, access control, CCTV and electric fence installation, and retail and event security. She says that their work involves fighting against crime, creating jobs and working hand in hand with SAPS.
She said being a female CEO was extremely challenging, especially in a male-dominated industry. She says sometimes when she presents, people often say that she is not able to do protection and security work as a woman. On the other hand, she believes that women are some of the best protectors, if a child falls, a woman will be the first person to jump to the child’s aid. Mbhele said she hopes her efforts will inspire her own children, as well as other young people in the community to take action, regardless of their gender, financial resources or educational background.