Guards ‘the victims’

2019-05-28 16:41

Msunduzi's contractual battle with Khuselani Security & Risk Management (KSA) spilled over to the streets on Monday when KSA guards marched to the City Hall demanding protection from looming retrenchments.

KSA and Msunduzi have been in and out of court since last February when the City terminated their 2009 and 2013 contracts following the release of damning findings by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on allegations of fraud and non-compliance related to security tenders.

The City kept the company on a month-to-month contract due to the then pending court proceedings as well as delays in the appointment of a new service provider. The parties finally reached a settlement last month and agreed to cut ties this Friday.

On Monday Mayor Themba Njilo confirmed that the City had not yet finalised the awarding of the tender for security. In the meantime the municipality has appointed Durban’s Royal Security and Pietermaritzburg’s Thabzo Security Services on three-month contracts to take over from KSA.

He was speaking to The Witness on the sidelines of a march to City Hall by over 200 KSA guards who alleged that Msunduzi exposed them to abuse by Thabzo.

The workers alleged Thabzo told them there are only 200 positions for the 730 KSA guards already on Msunduzi sites and guarding politicians.

“Thabzo asked us to abandon our posts on Sunday to come and do interviews to fight over the jobs some of us have been in for more than 10 years.

“Why didn’t Msunduzi negotiate for us to be absorbed by a service provider because we are already working on site?” said Spha Nxele.

Johan Mkhize said at his age of 54 years, he doubted he could outperform the younger guards if they had to compete for jobs although he’d been a security guard for 15 years.

“What the acting city manager [Neli Ngcobo] and Njilo are doing is pitting us against each other and that’s going to create tension. You might even see bloodshed because people are desperate — no one wants to be jobless,” he said.

The group said even if Thabzo absorbed them there would still be compliance issues because the company would not make contributions towards the unemployment insurance and provident funds.

“We are not here to fight KSA’s battles with Msunduzi but we feel we have become victims of a fight between these two elephants. Why is the municipality rushing to remove KSA when it hasn’t finalised the tender for a period of at least three years?” said Nxele.

Nathi Zwane said by awarding a three-month contract, the City contravened Ngcobo’s November affidavit in a related high court matter, against Alpha Security, where she committed that KSA would be retained as a security provider until the tender was finalised.

“Thabzo and Royal Security were appointed using section 36 because of a self-created emergency … If Msunduzi can’t make up its mind about who must get the tender then they should insource security services,” he said.

KSA’s director Mahomed Yacoob said he has not received an indication from temporary service providers if they would take any of the guards.

“The likelihood is that most of the guards will be left without jobs because they are over the age of 50. I’ve said over and over again that we will beat any of the quotes the municipality received for the security tender because we want to keep our guards employed. Sadly we were not even told about this emergency contract,” he said.

On the pending SIU matter, Yacoob said KSA has not been found guilty of any crime so the guards should not have to suffer because of allegations which he said would be proven baseless when the matter comes to court.

Attempts to get comment from Thabzo were unsuccessful.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  ksa security

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