Watchmen guard entrances to factories, office complexes, and also to residences or residential streets. They are usually classified as Grade E security guards.

Day watchmen at industrial or commercial premises monitor incoming traffic and pedestrians, watching carefully for suspicious people and firearms. Watchmen keep records of people entering and leaving the premises and sign and issue security passes. Outgoing traffic and pedestrians have to return their security passes. Watchmen are constantly on the lookout for stolen equipment and motorcars.

Night watchmen at commercial and industrial premises patrol the premises, often with guard dogs, keeping a constant lookout for attempted break-ins. They also check that all windows and doors are closed and locked and watch out for occurrences such as fire, gas or water leakage and explosions.

There is a constant element of danger in the work of watchmen, particularly that of night watchmen, who may therefore carry firearms and must be trained to use them. Watchmen are usually linked by two-way radio to their employing security company.

Watchmen at private residences and in streets in residential areas keep a constant lookout for burglars and hijackers. They usually escort residents into their properties to ensure their personal safety and the safety of their vehicles.

Personal Requirements

  • good health
  • physically fit
  • alert
  • have integrity
  • responsible and dependable
  • able to act quickly and decisively when faced with an emergency

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

No specific requirements

What to Study

Certificate courses at various levels are offered by independent institutions and instructors registered with the Security Officers’ Board.

Most employers offer in-service training.


  • specialised security companies
  • large companies with a security division
  • private individuals

Further Information

Any of the above-mentioned potential employers

The Security Association of South Africa (SASA)
842 Pheasant Street
Horizon Park, Roodepoort
Tel: 086 110 0680

Institute for Security Studies
Block C, Brooklyn Court
361 Veale Street
New Muckleneuk
Pretoria, 0181
Tel: (012) 346-9500/2

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work in a security company
  • learn how to use a firearm safely and effectively
  • get a shooting licence
  • make an appointment to speak to watchmen about this type of work

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