‘Hire us or end the programme’

2019-06-19 06:02
PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaVolunteer workers march to the Department of Community Safety.

PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaVolunteer workers march to the Department of Community Safety.

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COMMUNITY Safety and Liaison volunteers have accused the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Community Safety and Liaison of undermining and disrespecting them. This after they were informed that their monthly stipend will be reduced from R2 100 to R1 600

The volunteers fall under the department’s social crime prevention programme.

The angry volunteers marched to the Department of Community Safety and Liaison offices on Jabu Ndlovu Street last Thursday where they submitted their memorandum of demands.

Their demands included:

• Stop cutting their stipend and working hours

• Volunteers to be given job opportunities within the department

• Department to stop the training of the newly recruited volunteers until their issues are resolved

• Payslips to be supplied every month

• Police minister to absorb those who qualify for the South African Police Service

• Department to honour them for their role

• Assistant District Directors to stop firing volunteers

The volunteers say they have been working for the department for 11 years but that when they apply for jobs that are advertised in the department they do not even get called in for an interview.

They have accused the department of using them and making them do all the hard work while paying them “peanuts”.

One volunteer who spoke to Echo but did not want to named said they are not recognised for the work that they do, saying: “We submit our portfolio of the things that we have done every month but still we are told that we are not doing the job.

“We have enemies in our communities because we are the ones who point out the criminals and report them to the police while the department staff is sitting in the offices with air-conditioners and earning big bucks for doing nothing.

“How can they expect us to live with this little money? It is not even a minimum wage that they are giving us. We have families to feed. Most of us here are married with children, we can not survive with this money,” she said.

The volunteers say they have now been told that they only need to work 15 days a month and that is why their stipend is being decreased.

Sam Ntombela, who was leading the march, said the department does not respect them. He said that if the department is not happy about the level of work that they [volunteers] do then it must close down the programme instead of mistreating them.

“We work all the time despite weather conditions or the time of the day.

“We enter everywhere, even where we have been told that it is a no-go area, but we enter because we want to fight crime and we love what we are doing.

“Crime is a challenge and we want to fight it. We are tired of being treated like objects in this department by the officials who have never been at a crime scene. We are the ones who are being snitches and exposed to criminals.

“If the department does not respond to our demands we are going to take this far. This is just the beginning.

“We are tired of this department. If the department is saying that they do not have money then why do they continue recruiting volunteers who are their siblings and relatives?” he said.

The memorandum was accepted by head of department Themba Mavundla. He promised that the department will respond to the demands and that they will visit the volunteers.

“Some volunteers on other government programmes were not even getting a stipend. You should be happy that the department has kept you for 11 years. Programmes like this you only stay [in] for two years.

“We don’t hate you and we appreciate you. The department has a budget of R33 million for volunteers. We know that is not enough.

“We will look at all the grievances in the memorandum,” said Mavundla.


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