South African car guards

Taking a closer look at car guards in SA

Robert Rutherford
car guards
car guards in south africa
car guards in SA

There is not one person who lives in Mzansi that doesn’t know what a 'car guard' is.

The guy who is always there, he helps you reverse your car and sometimes finds you parking, normally an extra pair of eyes for us. So, what’s the deal with car guards?


Are parking guards legal/illegal?

Car guards are legal and are even covered in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 2009. This act was amended to include car guards under the Sectoral Determination for private security.


What is the accepted average to pay a parking attendant?

The accepted rate for paying parking attendants is R2.00 an hour.


Are you obligated to pay parking attendants?

The short answer is no. However, your tip is supporting someone who is trying to earn an honest wage and as much as it could be an annoyance, you are helping someone and their family. Car guarding is not only a response to vehicle-related crime, but also a response to poverty.


How much do car guards earn in tips?

This can vary from place to place. Most malls don’t pay their car guards, so they rely 100% on tips.

Some surveys have been done and some car guards earn between R50 – R150 a day. This is however offset as most shopping malls charge a “bay fee” which is a daily cost that a car guard would pay to secure his section of the parking lot.


Does having a car guard/parking attendant reduce the risk of my car being stolen?

No. That being said, a car guard can be vital in deferring a would-be criminal, however there are a number of other things that should be done by the car owner to reduce the risk of vehicle theft. 


Car guards have become a familiar sight in South Africa. A role that was born out of poverty and a need for additional perceived security, they are a constant in day-to-day life.


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