Security details storms eThekwini Exco meeting

2016-02-17 15:17

Durban – An eThekwini Metro Executive Committee member said the security officials who stormed Tuesday’s Exco meeting, showed that the lives of eThekwini’s decision-makers were at risk.

Around 25 members of the Exco security detail on Tuesday disrupted the meeting demanding their salary grievances be heard.

Security guards - many of whom are with the speaker, mayor, deputy mayor and other top tier officials on a daily basis - said they have been on a Grade 7 salary scale (R88 000 – R116 000) since 2005 and that their concerns were not being properly addressed by officials.

DA Exco member Zwakele Mncwango, who was at council during the incident, described the incident as “scary”.

“I have to say, the way they came in was very intimidating. They walked in, shut the door and walked around us all, surrounding [us in] the room. Initially I thought the mayor called them in, but it become clear he did not. The mayor was about to begin the meeting when this happened.

“The security became visibly angry and they needed to be heard. They seemed quite frustrated. The man leading the group, the mayor’s driver, demanded to be heard. The mayor wanted to begin normal proceedings and let them speak at some point', but they were insistent. He said ‘no, no, no we are not playing.’ It was scary. Then the mayor allowed them to speak.”

According to Mncwango, the security detail voiced valid concerns.

“You have to feel for them as well. Yes, the manner in which they sent their message across was aggressive, but I blame the leadership for this incident. These men are with you every day protecting your life and you are letting these types of issues go on for so long? It is not fair.”

eThekwini Municipality in a statement said relevant city officials would investigate the delay in the “regrading processes, looking specifically at the Security Unit”.

“A report finding a quick, amicable solution to the problem will be presented at the next Executive Committee meeting.”

VIP security

eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo told the security detail he was aware of the situation, which had been delegated to city officials to address.

“We know that other districts are paying their VIP security much more. This is a dangerous situation, as our well-being is at risk as safety is compromised if your security staff are unhappy. We need to find a solution,” he said.

City Manager Sibusiso Sithole said last month a new regrading system was approved for all units, not just security.

“Regrading has to follow specific processes. Only the committee who reviews the applications can approve it. It is important for us to meet with affected staff and see how far the regrading processes have come,” he said.

Sithole said a grading forum has been established and the committee needed to review job profiles as well as other outstanding grading issues in the entire municipality.

The group eventually left the meeting room after being reassured that their concerns will be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Read more on:    durban  |  politics

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