‘Dept looking out for ANC cadres’

2011-02-22 00:00

WHILE the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department insists that the termination of its contracts with six security companies with immediate effect on Friday was due to the fight against incompetence, the companies involved have linked the decision to favouritism and cronyism to benefit ANC activists who were in exile during the liberation struggle.

This is despite the department saying that the monthly-renewal contracts were terminated for safety reasons at its facilities.

The companies received faxes signed by L. Naidoo, the department’s general manager for supply chain management, informing them to vacate all sites within 24 hours.

In a press statement yesterday, the department said: “This was because all the said companies had month-to-month contracts with the department and, because of investigations currently underway into their operations, the department felt it proper that they are asked to leave the sites.

“It was also to ensure that the department does not suffer in any way if they are allowed to serve the month’s notice. We have advised them that we would pay them for the month’s notice.”

The companies are Mvimbeni Security, Labalela Security, Gcinensa Security, Titan Security, Madlula Protection Services and Mahona Security. They were guarding 17 public hospitals and 77 clinics, government offices and mortuaries.

Aggrieved owners of the companies alleged that their contracts were terminated to replace them with ANC members and members of companies operated by Mkhonto Wesizwe veterans.

Health Department spokesperson Chris Maxon declined to comment on the allegations of cronyism.

Employees of the sacked companies have been employed by the new companies.

“Our jobs have been given to former exiled people and they took our people and gave them new uniforms without informing us, yet we are still required to pay provident funds,” said Mvimbeni Security manager Thomas Getsemana.

He said he had about 700 guards at about 50 sites, including Edendale Hospital and Caluza Clinic in Pietermaritzburg.

“[The department’s] people, who are responsible for security at my sites, never made any complaint against us,” said Getsemana.

Also infuriated by the decision is Steve Cloete, head of legal section at the Titan Security, who said in August last year the department wrote a letter to his company expressing its satisfaction with their performance.

He admitted that one of his guards was fired for failing to perform his job after a laptop was stolen from Northdale Hospital’s E Wards between June and July last year.

Maxon said the department started investigating the companies in November last year.

“These companies are using people who do not have firearm licences. Remember that three security guards were fired after they were caught carrying unlicensed firearms

“They also claim payments for duties they never performed. Bodies have been stolen from government mortuaries,” he said.

He said the nine companies were appointed on a temporary basis on Friday and that the process of issuing new tenders is under way.

 

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