Security guards closed off entry points to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley on Monday due to the non-payment of salaries. Defensor Security confirmed that security workers have not received their salaries for the month of August.
DEFENSOR Security has confirmed that security workers in Kimberley have not received their salaries for the month of August.
The security company said, however, that the delay was caused by their clients failing to pay for services timeously.
This follows after security workers closed off entry points at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley on Monday morning due to their unhappiness over the non-payment of salaries.
The workers also claim that the company has failed to pay their full salaries for seven months.
“We have not received any salaries for August and a new month has already started. We are under tremendous financial strain and we are constantly forced to make excuses for our failure to honour our financial obligations,” said the workers.
“For the past seven months, we have failed to meet our financial responsibilities or have been forced to pay our creditors late. Our debit orders are also in a chaotic state. Most months, the company would only pay a portion of our salaries. We then had to wait for the balance of our salaries. In other months they would pay our salaries late. This process has given us a bad credit record and gives the impression to our creditors that we are irresponsible.
“The company is blaming the Department of Health, but the department has said that they have paid the company. We do not know who is to blame, but we as workers are suffering.”
Defensor’s operations manager, Winton Leharby, admitted that the workers had not been paid for August, but added that previous months’ payments were up to date.
“It is only for the month of August that workers have not yet received their salaries. Workers have been fully paid for all other months,” said Leharby.
“There were times that we had to pay workers a portion of their salaries or times when payments were delayed, but that was as a result of clients not meeting their financial responsibility to the company.
“We have been in communication with workers and informed them when payments would be delayed. The company has always ensured that it paid all workers. There is no worker that can claim that there is outstanding money owed to them, besides for the delay we are currently facing with regards to the payments that should have been made by the end of August.”
Leharby added that they fully understand the workers’ frustrations.
“We know and understand our workers have responsibilities that they need to meet. The company also has a financial responsibility towards the workers. It is, however, the clients that are putting the company in this position. If our clients fail to meet their financial obligation to the company, then it puts strain on the company. We have been placed under strain by some of our clients for the past seven months, but we have always communicated the outcome with the workers in advance.”
Leharby did not want to name the client who is alleged to be the cause of the problem.
“There is not one client we can blame for this because there has been more than one client who has failed to pay the company. However, we do not want to point out our clients,” he said.
The provincial secretary of the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa), Dion Olivier, said the union is meeting with the Department of Health and worker representatives to find a solution to the problem.
“We are meeting with the department and the workers 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,” said Olivier.
He added that Hospersa has in the past requested the department to in-source the security guard services.
“The problem of non-payment of security workers has been dragging on for the past months. We have made the proposal to the department to rather in-source the service in order to avoid the continuation of this problem.
“We have to take into account that this is a public health facility that is giving free medical services to the people. The people who are in need of medical care and services cannot be left to suffer because of the in-fighting of private companies,” Olivier said.
Northern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Lulu Mxekezo said the department does not owe Defensor Security any money.
“The department does not owe the security company any payment. The security personnel are employed by the security company and they should communicate with the company in relation to outstanding salaries,” said Mxekezo.
“The department has contracted the security company’s services. Engagements on a regular basis would assist to resolve any challenges that may arise instead of inconveniencing stakeholders.”