Hundreds of security officers and cleaners working for 22 companies contracted to the City of Tshwane marched in Pretoria’s city centre on Wednesday, demanding permanent employment with the City. Against chants and banners, security guards marched in Pretoria to raise their voices and present their grievances to the mayoral committee member for community safety, Grandi Theunissen, as reported by all Africa.
Led by the South African Cleaners, Security and Allied Workers Union (SACSAWU) and the Independent Democratic Union of South Africa (IDUSA), the workers handed over a list of demands to Theunissen. Sello Matloa, a security officer and SACSAWU shop steward highlighted that security guards earned only R5,000 a month at private companies, which was insufficient to support a family. Matloa emphasised that bringing the workers onto the City’s payroll would eliminate the costs associated with intermediaries.
“We’ve been working for private companies for years, and we feel like they are manipulating us,” Matloa expressed. The unions argue that the City had previously resolved 2018 to insource 4,000 security guards in three phases, a commitment they want the City to fulfil.
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Hlengiwe Ngwenya, a security guard at a City site in Bronkhorstspruit, shared her 13-year experience working as a security guard and moving from one company to another. She currently earns R5,500 a month before deductions. Ngwenya stressed the financial burden imposed by private security companies, stating, “If the City takes us, we can also have benefits like medical aid like other employees. We can be able to give our kids decent education. We can’t even afford to buy a home from this little money.”
Joshua Mudau, the IDUSA organiser in Tshwane, called for the allocation of funds and a formal meeting with the City manager or the executive mayor. He highlighted the unfair treatment of long-serving City workers, stating, “Some of us have been in the City for many years, and we feel this is unfair to us.”
In their memorandum, the unions demanded that the City implement the 2018 resolution, ensuring security guards receive a living wage and benefits such as medical aid, pension, and leave. They provided the City with a 14-day deadline to respond to their demands.
Theunissen assured the protesters that he would ensure their demands reached the mayor’s office and the City would provide a response in due course.