Integration On Guard

NUM Headquarters implements IP video, access control and biometric fingerprint readers

The National Union of Mineworkers is the largest recognized collective bargaining agent representing workers in the mining, construction and electrical energy industries in South Africa, and the largest affiliate of the Congress of the South African Trade Unions, where non-racialism was a founding principle. NUM has offices in all the South African Provinces and is internationally affiliated to the 20-million-strong International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions. Kgalema Motlanthe, the current president of South Africa, was also previously secretary general of the National Union of Mineworkers, whose 380,000 members are the core of the nation's economic foundation. Johannesburg was known as 'the city of gold' with an economy built on gold and mining, so the history of this country's development finds its resources here.

Today, it also is famous as a world producer of diamonds. NUM headquarters are located in a multiple-story brick building in Johannesburg, an urban area well known for its crime risks. The political nature of the union's activities and strong relationships with the African National Congress make the need for security even more intense. Best-of-breed open platform solution Camsecure has designed and implemented a total security solution with the open platform of Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video management software integrated with Paxton Access' Net2 access control, Sagem Morpho biometric fingerprint readers and 50 Axis network cameras.

Vandal-resistant dome cameras are used on a street-side, as opposed to normal cameras that can be knocked out of place. In the parking lot, day/night cameras have been installed in Videotec Verso polycarbonate housings with cable-managed brackets so no cables are exposed. The parking lot entrance camera logs all the vehicle number plates to keep track of the time each vehicle enters and exits. There are cameras in all the stairwells of the building, inside and outside every door in the building, and on the roof. The fire escape at the back also is well covered by security cameras.

"There's a security risk because it's so close to neighboring buildings where people could hop over and come down the stairwell," said Francois Malan, technical director of Camsecure. "However, each floor is a security unit on its own that has its own cameras and access control so people who are allowed in the building can move vertically up and down the central stairwell, they cannot enter the offices on each floor without assigned access to the integrated systems that allow lateral movement in the building."

Leading Edge Technology

"For higher security, there are cameras installed on both sides of each door, as well as a finger reader and an emergency button on the inside and outside of each door. There are cameras with views of the elevators as people enter each floor and the passageways. So if someone tries to sabotage equipment, knock out the glass on a door or break emergency glass, officials can see who it is.

"Also, if a door is left open for more than 1 minute, an alarm sounds with an irritating noise that forces them to close it, but at the same time it logs an alert in the Net2 access control system so we can see who left the door open through the Milestone video software link," Malan said. "Any door that is left open is a security risk and we need to know, to correct it as soon as possible."

Protecting the Union's Leadership

One floor in the building is the executive wing for the union, which is particularly sensitive.

"Our first challenge, in terms of access, is to protect the union leadership," said Thulani Tshozana, risk manager at NUM. "As part of the federation, NUM is in alliance with the ruling party—the African National Congress. All the ANC secretary generals come from this union, so if anyone wants to kill the ANC, they must first dilute this union. That's why it's so important for us to have such strict control over the access to this building, and Camsecure has helped us with this."

There were a lot of incidences when the opposition party UDM was formed and targeted NUM. Violence was instigated in the mines with the purpose to destabilize the union, for being the backbone of the ANC and COSATU.

"They wrongfully told NUM members that NUM was blocking their access to death benefit funds, which created violent incidents, including people coming to the offices to threaten the leadership and harm them physically," Thulani said.

Strict Access Control

Another security threat is the information in the offices across the country. The role of NUM is important: they control the heart of the labor that drives the nation's economy—if there is a strike, it can bring the country to its knees. NUM also is responsible for raising the working conditions for their members—protecting their health and occupations.

"The significance of adding the biometric fingerprint readers lies in the ability to ensure that the person who goes through the doors is who they say they are," Malan said. "We need to be 100 percent sure who is entering a door. That's why the video is there as well: to double-check.

"It also can be an administrative nightmare to deal with hundreds of thousands of cards. So the fingerprint integration is more efficient and effective. It promotes accountability." Thulani remembers problems with more cards being issued than the number of people who should have access.

"Being such a sensitive time in the country's political history with people changing parties, information is of very high value," Malan said. "If anyone on the site is suspected for any reason, we can type in their name to track and analyze movements.

"This is one of the highest security systems implemented. If anything happens, we can have an alarm issued—both audible and on the system. In addition to the alarms when a door is left open, if someone sets off a fire alarm, it triggers an event on the system so we get an alert immediately in the Paxton Access software, which is integrated with the Milestone so we can see the video evidence of the incidents."

"Prevention is better than a cure," said Danie Malan, CEO of Camsecure. "I believe that people will think twice before doing anything wrong now."

Out With the Old

"Previously we only had CCTV systems that were not effective," Thulani said. "It was operated from the president's office and when he was traveling on business, others did not have access to the system."

Edward Majadibodu is the head of production who deals with safety, education and women's development. He also is chairman of the procurement committee, which had to approve the purchase of the new security system.

"We have experienced challenges in the past of theft and other practices so this new security system is a major improvement, especially with the strong access control, only for those who are approved to be here," Majabibodu said.

Fingerprint biometrics are integrated with access control and video. Every employee's fingerprint is registered in the biometric enrollment unit. Thereafter, security operators and managers can go into the software to look up any employee and see their activities or look at event lists to analyze or check any alarms or incidences. They can click on the camera icon to link up to the video and see what occurred or export evidence, if needed. The software also manages the cameras, their setups and recording schedules, by groups and locations.

"The system allows flexible searching by person, by door or camera locations, and by category like 'access denied' to check a log of exceptions. The reporting capacity in Paxton Access is also very good, by person or event," Malan said.

Managers on different floors are given individual access by floor or by specific cameras groups, relevant to their responsibilities. In future, they can roll out the system by expanding the dedicated networks security solution to the regional offices throughout the country; those can be viewed locally or centrally at headquarters.

"And I've got a laptop so I can also view the system from home—even watch the traffic to find the best time to go in to the office," Malan said.

  • Environmental Protection
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Infrastructure Solutions Group
  • Spaces4Learning
  • Campus Security & Life Safety