VIP protection officers storm eThekwini exco meeting, demand to be heard

2016-03-23 20:00

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Durban – For the second time in a space of two months a group of VIP protection officers and members of the eThekwini Security Management Unit on Wednesday stormed into an executive committee meeting and demanded that their grievances be heard.

The men and women tasked with protecting the mayor and other executive members, first took their frustrations to their bosses in February, but their complaints about low salaries and ill-treatment seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

DA exco member Zwakele Mncwango said there was a high presence of heavily armed metro police officers around the city hall on Wednesday ahead of the exco meeting.

He said that, shortly after the meeting began, the officers demanded that exco deal with their grievances.

"I think the ANC leadership knew that they were coming because there was a huge police presence. They came into the boardroom and told us that they were unhappy with their salaries and the way they were being treated.

"I suggested that a multi-party task team be formed to find a solution to the matter and for transparency, but the ANC disagreed."

Mncwango said he was concerned that the city hall was being used as a bargaining council. He said it was ridiculous for bodyguards to hold their bosses to ransom.

The IFP's Mdu Nkosi said the bodyguards had made the point that they put their lives on the line, but were badly treated by officials.

"I think they did this purely out of frustration. Their salaries are low and they feel unappreciated. If they are unhappy, they won't be able to do their jobs properly," said Nkosi.

eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo said in a statement that the City had set up a task team which would expedite the process of reviewing the officers' salaries.

The City said the VIP protection officers first raised the matter in February and an investigation into the delay in the regrading processes was launched.

Nxumalo condemned the officer's behaviour.

"I am very concerned about the way you are handling the matter. We appreciate the work you do, but your actions are setting a bad precedent and showing other departments that they too can disrupt exco to raise concerns.

"That is not how council works and we cannot allow that, and there are serious consequences to such action."

He appealed to staff to follow proper council processes when raising concerns.

City Manager Sbu Sithole previously said a grading forum had been established and the committee needed to review job profiles as well as other outstanding grading issues across the entire municipality.

Read more on:    durban  |  protests

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