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Guards don’t have a ‘Merry Christmas’

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Defensor Guards claim they received no or scant payment since starting to provide services at the Department of Health.

Some Defensor guards claim that they have not received their uniforms from the company putting not only themselves but the department and public at risk. Picture: Soraya Crowie

DEFENSOR security guards had a bleak Christmas after they had either received no or scant payment since they started providing services at the Department of Health in October.

Not all of the guards have been provided with uniforms at the Kimberley Hospital, which they indicated could pose a security risk and made the department vulnerable to pilfering or theft.

“Anyone can impersonate a security officer, without any form of identification or uniform. Any member of the public can walk out of the premises with equipment, claiming to be a security guard as many of us are wearing civilian clothing.

“Some of us were issued with half of our uniforms. They said the uniforms need to be tailored or are too big, although we did provide the company with our sizes.”

The guards claimed that they had not received any payment for the past three months, while others received half their salaries for November.

“They said we would receive payment for the end of year salary run on December 15. The date was changed to December 22 or 23 and again to December 27 or 28. We are still waiting but what can we do? Work is scarce.

“It is bad for us not to be able to provide for our families, especially over the festive season. We also have to plan in advance for our children when they go back to school next year.”

Some of the guards reported receiving their full payment for December on Saturday.

They stated that they were supposed to be paid R19.72, while certain guards were only receiving R16,14 per hour.

“We do not know if we will receive back pay for the outstanding amount.

“We work day shifts from 6am until 6pm, three times a week, and from 6pm until 6am during the night shift, three times a week. Some of us, including women, have to walk home when there is no public transport available after hours.”

Some of the guards pointed out that they had experienced payment problems when they were previously employed with Defensor.

They added that none of the guards from the previous service provider, Karibuni Security Services, had been absorbed by Defensor Security.

Defensor Security took over the provision of services in October after Karibuni Security Services blockaded the gates at the Kimberley Hospital and prevented ambulances from entering in protest of their contracts being terminated.

The department did not indicate if they have paid Karibuni Security Services an outstanding amount of R47 million dating back to 2011.

The Department of Health concluded a R224 million contract with Defensor over the next three years.

The company previously denied receiving a R10 million advance from the Department of Health.

Legal representative for Defensor Security, attorney Albert Hibbert, acknowledged receipt of the media enquiry, but indicated that their offices would be closed for the December holidays.

“We will revert back in the new year, if necessary.

“This office will be closed from December 15 and will re-open on January 3.”

Spokesperson for the Department of Health Lulu Mxekezo stated that all personnel stationed at security points that were managed by Defensor at the department, were wearing uniforms.

“All other issues related to matters between third parties are of legal and contractual nature and will be dealt with at that level.”