Tuesday, 21 May, 2024
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Security guards block hospital entry over salary backlog

Entrances to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley were closed off on Monday by security staff who claimed they had not been paid their August salaries, nor received their full salaries for the past seven months.

Defensor Security confirmed employees had not been paid for last month, but blamed the delay on clients failing to pay for services timeously.

DFA reports one worker as saying Defensor was blaming the Department of Health, “but the department said it has paid the company”.

“We do not know who is to blame, but we are suffering…we are under tremendous financial strain. Most months, the company pays only a portion of our salaries, in other months it pays late.”

Defensor’s operations manager, Winton Leharby, admitted staff had not been paid for August, but added that previous months’ payments were up to date.

“There were times that we had to pay them a portion of their salaries or times when payments were delayed, but that was because of clients not meeting their financial responsibility.”

Provincial secretary of the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) Dion Olivier said the union would hold a meeting with the Department of Health and worker representatives to find a solution.

“We want to find out who is not telling the truth, as the one party is blaming the other. The department claims it has paid the company,” he said, adding that in the past, Hospersa had asked the department to in-source security services.

“The problem of non-payment of security workers has been dragging on for months. We have made the proposal to rather in-source the service to avoid continuation of this problem.

“This is a public health facility providing free medical services to people needing medical care and services … they cannot be left to suffer because of the in-fighting of private companies.”

Northern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Lulu Mxekezo said the department does not owe Defensor Security any money.

“Security personnel are employed by the security company and should communicate with the company for outstanding salaries,” she said.

In June, Defensor security guards stationed at the Kimberley Mental Health Hospital had embarked on a go-slow, also because of salary problems.

They had been notified on 30 May that they would be paid a portion of their salaries on 31 May and the balance by 9 June, as the company was in the same “unfortunate situation as last month”.

At the time, Hospersa provincial chairperson Dennis Segano said that their members employed at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital were worried as their salaries would also be paid in two instalments.

“They are struggling to survive. However, they are at their posts and are not involved in any strike action.“

Employees were notified a day before pay day that their salary payments will be split.


DFA article – Security guards block entry to city hospital over non-payment (Open access)


DFA article – Security guards on go-slow over salaries (Open access)


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