Security guards protest at Parliament

Guards demand to be better armed

photo of marchers at magistrates court

Security guards and cleaners marched to Parliament on Wednesday, demanding better working conditions. Photo: Bernard Chiguvare

By Bernard Chiguvare

28 November 2018

About 40 members of the Masibonisane Security and Cleaners’ Forum marched to Parliament on Wednesday to try to hand over a memorandum about working conditions to President Cyril Ramaphosa and to the Economic Freedom Fighters Party.

Masibonisane was formed by employees of security companies throughout the country in 2016.

Joseph Lesetla, one of the organisers, said attempts to have their concerns addressed by the Department of Labour had not been successful.

They want the president to intervene on minimum wages for security guards and cleaners and on working conditions. They also claim the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) is failing to address issues concerning security guards.

Velisile Bukula, PSIRA Media and Communications officer, told GroundUp the complaints seemed to be about violation of the basic conditions of employment and should be referred to the Department of Labour. Bukula said PSIRA could not investigate without details of specific complaints.

The protesters marched from Keizersgracht Street to Parliament singing songs.

On arrival at Parliament they were joined by guards and cleaners from MyCiTi buses.

Lilly Cphelele Bambiso, Masibonisane spokesperson, said guards worked in dangerous places without arms and were expected not to run away but to call for backup. “When armed robbers approach us, usually we do not have time to call. It is better to give us guns for protection.”

She said some of the security companies did not give workers bonuses.

There was no one from the President’s office to accept the memorandum.

Makoti Sibongile Khawula from the EFF accepted the memorandum and promised to take the guards’ grievances to the Department of Labour.