MEET: Zanele Radebe, Security Officer on Hatfield Campus

Posted on June 05, 2020

Security Officer, Zanele Radebe tells Tukkievaria more about her role on campus and how we can all make UP safer.

Why did you decide to work in security services?

I have worked in various industries, such as food supply, specifically in the customer services department. I was also a backing vocalist for a while. Over time, I began exploring a change of career. Growing up, security was known to me as the bouncers outside a nightclub, the security guards patrolling a local warehouse or the in-store security guards at the supermarket. This confirmed my conviction that these officers are frontline workers assigned to be the first line of defence. This role is further confirmed by the responsibilities assigned to security officers during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the industry is much broader and more complex, encompassing every aspect of corporate security services.

What attracted you to UP?

I was interested in being part of UP because it accommodates people from various cultural and racial backgrounds. I also learnt that UP’s Department of Security Services operates according to a well-structured set of protocols, including innovative access control to its campuses and residences, 24-hour emergency reaction and alarm monitoring, investigating crime, and providing counselling to victims. Working in such a structured environment helps me to know exactly what is required of me. The fixed schedules help me to plan my days and encourage discipline. This contrasts with the music industry, where there are sometimes periods with no bookings. The lack of performance opportunities that artists are experiencing during the lockdown is very different to the situation now, where security guards are frontline workers.

What do you enjoy most about your job and why?

I enjoy being part of the first line of defence for the university premises, personnel and assets, and an essential worker who ensures that staff and students are safe.

What is your least favourite part of the job?

I don’t like dealing with people who think they are better than everyone. Some insist on visiting the campus without formal appointments. When asked if they have an appointment, they say, ‘Do you know who I am?’ Also, some staff and students park their vehicles with the doors unlocked and laptops, phones or other expensive items in plain view. When items are stolen, security is expected to recover the stolen items. This makes our work very difficult at times. We try our best to keep the environment safe, but we can do so only with the assistance of the UP community. I appeal to everyone to play a role in security, and to our senior staff to update us with lists of invited guests in good time so we can grant them access without delays.

Do you have suggestions for making UP a safer place to work?

I recommend a strong visitor management programme, strict regulation of all entrances, leveraging technology to screen visitors and control access, improving the UP community’s situational awareness of the ‘Green Route’, and working with stakeholders such as the City of Tshwane municipality.

What are your future plans?

UP is committed to effective, efficient, caring and innovative approaches to teaching, research and community service. This implies that it is important in creating the future of the community in various spheres. Having been given this opportunity as a female, I’m planning to mould my future career to become an expert in security services and other related fields within the institution.

What do you do in your free time?

I go to church, I assist children with their homework and I enjoy rehearsing my favourite gospel musical lyrics.

Zanele’s favourites:

Sport: Rugby and cricket

Food: Fish and chips

Travel destinations: My focus is on top-rated tourist attractions in South Africa. Due to budgetary constraints, the decision is not yet taken. In future I plan to visit my favourite tourist destinations below:

  • Kruger National Park
  • Cape Town
  • Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  • Stellenbosch
  • The Drakensberg
  • The Garden Route
  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Movie: Tsotsi

Sitcom: Sister, Sister

Actor: Rapulana Seiphemo

Music: The music label Jesus Culture Ministry, which features the worship of the Jesus Culture Sacramento Church performing a mix of original and cover songs

All-time hero: Nelson Mandela – his leadership and ability to forgive has had an impact on my personal life. He said, ‘Forgiveness liberates the soul; it removes fear. That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.’ He also said, ‘When a deep injury is done to us, we never heal until we forgive.’ I emulate him by not holding grudges.


- Author Jimmy Masombuka

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences