Our armed response company has roof lights that lens bar or lamps emit an intermittently-flashing diffused white light. We however have certain traffic officials that claim this is illegal. We have been to the metro offices and are advised that their is nothing wrong. Our problem is however that my officers are continually harassed whilst opposition companies are not. Can I draw  a copy of the act somewhere and place it on the cars or get an approval letter somewhere so as to resolve this matter?


The correct provision is reg 176. See subreg (6). Please note it is illegal to have your direction indicators fitted higher than roof height. Some security companies fit such lights and put the hazards on when responding. That is not legal.

Please note that security companies are not considered by legislation to be an emergency service and may not exceed the speed limit or disobey road signs. Section 58 and 60 of the Act apply.

Identification lamps

Reg 176.     (1)        A bus or a goods vehicle, the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms, and which is not a motor vehicle referred to in subregulation (2), (3) or (5), may be fitted above the windscreen with two or more identification lamps and each such lamp shall—

(a)        not exceed a capacity of 21 Watts;

(b)        be visible from directly in front of the motor vehicle to which it is fitted; and

(c)        emit a green or amber light.

(2)        An ambulance, fire-fighting or rescue vehicle may be fitted with a lamp or lamps emitting an intermittently-flashing red light in any direction.

(3)        (a)        Subject to paragraph (b), no person shall operate a motor vehicle fitted with, or in or on which is displayed, a lamp or lamps emitting a blue light or capable of emitting a blue light.

(b)        The provisions of paragraph (a) does not apply to a motor vehicle operated by a member of the Service or a member of a municipal police service, both as defined in section 1 of the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No. 68 of 1995), or a traffic officer, or a member of the South African Defence Force authorised in terms of section 87(1)(g) of the Defence Act, 1957 (Act No. 44 of 1957) to perform police functions, in the execution of his or her duties.

(c)        A motor vehicle referred to in paragraph (b) may be fitted with a lamp or lamps emitting an intermittently-flashing—

(i)         blue light;

(ii)        blue and amber light;

(iii)       blue and red light; or

(iv)       blue, amber and red light,

in any direction which may, at the will of the driver, display the word “stop”.

(4)        A motor vehicle which is—

(a)        a vehicle employed in connection with the maintenance of public road;

(b)        engaged in the distribution and supply of electricity;

(c)        engaged in the supply of other essential public services;

(d)        operated in terms of the authority granted by the MEC in terms of section 81 of the Act;

(e)        a breakdown vehicle;

(f)         a refuse compactor vehicle;

(g)        a vehicle carrying an abnormal load and the vehicle escorting it if any,

may, but a breakdown vehicle shall, be fitted with a lamp or lamps capable of emitting an intermittently-flashing amber light in any direction: Provided that such lamp shall only be used at the place where the breakdown occurred, where the maintenance or other work or an inspection is being carried out, when such breakdown vehicle is towing a motor vehicle, or in the event of a vehicle carrying an abnormal load.

(5)        A motor vehicle used by a medical practitioner may be fitted above the windscreen with one lamp emitting an intermittently flashing red light in any direction: Provided that such light may only be used by such medical practitioner in the bona fide exercise of his or her profession.

(6)        A vehicle driven by a person while he or she is engaged in civil protection as contemplated in section 3 of the Civil Protection Act, 1977 (Act No. 67 of 1977), may be fitted with a lamp or lamps emitting an intermittently-flashing green light in any direction.

(7)        A vehicle—

(a)        owned by a body or person registered as a security officer in terms of the Security Officers Act, 1987 (Act No. 92 of 1987); and

(b)        driven by a security officer as defined in section 1 of the said Act in the course of rendering a security service, also defined in section 1 of the said Act,

may be fitted with a white lens bar containing a lamp or lamps emitting an intermittently- flashing diffused white light in any direction, and containing a notice illuminated by a white light containing the word “security” and the name of the owner of the vehicle in black letters:  Provided that the said lamp or lamps shall not be capable of emitting a rotating or strobe light.




Alta Swanepoel and Associates

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6 thoughts on “Is it legal to have roof lights on armed response cars of private security companies?

  1. robert

    I am a reaction officer with a leading alarm company in East London (Buffalo City Metro) and we hold the monopoly of the private alarm requirements of the region. Our clientele include numerous municipal facilities (including the two traffic department depots in the city) and we also provide monitoring of the mayoral service and residence. I am certain that Her Worship would not be pleased should we pitch up ten minutes late to her panic-button alarm activation just because we were pulled-over and fined by her traffic officers. Due to our national police service being undermanned and the housebreaking statistics being so high, the vast majority of our citizens living in cities, towns and farms as well as all businesses are compelled to rely on private alarm response as means to an end. This is, I understand, also insurance requirement. We hence find that we more than often attend to situations which are in fact police matters. Since we are usually the first-on-the-scene and indirectly an asset to the general policing of the country, I seriously believe the national government (or local governments for that matter) should re-evaluate and reconsider the ’emergency status’ of alarm reaction companies.

  2. JJ

    If you so much long to be a peace officer and want to break traffic rules and use sirens and flashing lamps, do it legally and join the police force or traffic department.

    Eddie Britz: I were a member of the national road traffic legislation technical committee as well as a member of the sub committee dealing with vehicle and equipment specifications for more than 25 years. I served on the work group that dealt with the application by the security board to have “identification lamps for private security armed response vehicles” approved. The motivation and justification for such a lamp was: “private security armed response guards often arrive at trespass/theft/robbery/attack scenes on private property during the night and run the risk of being shot by the property owner/police who mistakes them for the perpetrators because they couldn’t recognize them as the “good guys” hence the need for identification lamps”. The permission for the lamps were never intended to and never gave any powers or privileges to a private security guard in any public places or public roads!

  3. We have to know the difference between two.I think that act no:92 of 1987 is right.pls people i want wher i can i get normal roof light i stay in pretoria west.

  4. Hi, we are a community policing forum and would also like to apply for our patrollers for white lights. No, we do not respond, no armed response and no breaking speed limit. The reason we want the white lighhts is to be visible should we assist at an accident scene before emergency services arrive and also whilst patrolling (at less than 20km/h) to advise the community that it is in actual fact, the CPF patrolling and not a potential highjacker / house robber or suspicious vehicle. Who can I approach for this authorisation if it is indeed possible? Many thanks

  5. Sorry, I forgot to mention, the white lights we would like to use are dashboard mounted which are removable and not visible while we are not patrolling.

  6. Good Day,

    My name is Joseph and owns a small Security Company in the Northern Cape. We are about to expand and do Reaction Services as well as patrolling with vehicles. In short – I understand the white rooflight is acceptable with visible words “SECURITY” on it. The owner of the cars name, where on the car must it be printed and is it acceptable to fit white / clear flashing lights on each corner of such reaction / patrol vehicle with a white / clear strobe light inside of the front gril? Lastly, build in speaker also inside of the front grill with a mic inside to use during crowd control, etc…. Is it allowed for Private Security Companies?

    Best Regards,


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