As a proudly African company rooted in South Africa, Tsebo understands the security needs of the country and how to address them. With over 50 years of experience behind the Tsebo brand, partnering with such a company is reaffirming for customers looking to invest in a business that supports both the country’s economy and the various industries within it.
Thorburn Security Solutions is a division of Tsebo that delivers integrated, intelligence-driven safety and security solutions to its customers, one of them being Val de Vie Estate. Thorburn currently provides the estate with guarding, technical maintenance and specialised security solutions, including the use of sniffer dogs. Val de Vie is one of the largest estates in Africa, coming in at around 1000 hectares with over 1600 units and counting. The estate is home to an array of world-class amenities, including entertainment venues, restaurants, a signature golf course, equestrian facilities, a retirement village, a preschool and 300 hectares of parks, fynbos and wildlife reserves.
Renier Swart, Director of the Val de Vie group of companies, believes that by partnering with Thorburn Security Solutions, and thereby Tsebo, they are joining forces with a truly South African company that intricately understands what risks, and labour-related as well as other challenges we face as a country.
While Renier has only been with Val de Vie since 2010, Thorburn had been with the estate long before. Since his time at the estate, he has put the security contract out on tender twice, and Thorburn won it both times. He says this is because Thorburn always comes out on top in terms of deliverables.
The estate has a detailed security risk matrix that is continuously updated and adjusted as the risk landscape evolves. Val de Vie is looking to rely more on technology-driven security solutions and less on human protection. With this in mind, Renier comments that Thorburn is one of the most impactful businesses in this realm of security.
Part of the estate’s security strategy is stress testing their systems. This involves having guards picking a random spot along the 18-kilometre perimeter fence to try to breach and have the security teams stop them. This tests the team’s reaction time as well as how long it would take someone to break in.
Always looking for new technology
Val de Vie is always looking for new and innovative solutions to add to its security processes. One of the estate’s milestone achievements is being voted safest estate in Africa and home to the safest house in Africa. To date, the estate has not had any major security breaches. “We fully intend to keep it that way. I think that’s why we’ve got the reputation of being the safest residential estate in Africa,” says Renier.
Thornburn has helped by providing technical advice and backup, testing different solutions and changing the offering to meet the changing needs of the estate. Of course, Renier could go into a lot of detail about their security processes. “We cannot share all our secrets; it’s an important part of ensuring the safety of the estate. We do give our residents an indication of what we are doing to ensure their safety,” says Renier.
An example of how technology has changed within the estate is that they have made the move from only using fingerprint biometrics to being able to read an entire hand. This solution works better for older residents because as you age, your fingerprints tend to become less prominent, making it difficult to scan. The Thorburn technology team actively looks for ways to improve the security within the estate, and whenever new technologies come to light, they research them to see if they will work or not.
It’s about more than just security
Highly-trained and visible security staff create a friendly and efficient first point of contact when entering the estate, and security guards patrol the interior and exterior of Val de Vie. “First impressions last and the effect that those impressions have on the customer’s perception of our brand, should not be underestimated,” says Renier. “We have worked closely with Thorburn and their HR Department to ensure that the guards at our entrance gates receive ongoing concierge-level training to provide the best customer experiences.”
In addition to managing human threats, the Thornburn team have also had to undergo snake handling training as the estate is located alongside a mountain. This means that snakes, along with other animals, can and do make their way into the estate.
“If there is a snake in the estate, security is called, and they go to catch the snake. Once we have the snake, it’s taken to the Cape Nature Reserve to be safely released,” Renier proudly adds.
Celebrating Tsebo’s 50th anniversary “For us, it is important to know that we’re dealing with a credible, truly South African company – a company that’s been around the block and is familiar with the needs of South Africans. Together, we can grow alongside one another, learn alongside one another and build a better future for our country,” Renier concludes.