09 August 2017
SAMWU in Support of Protest Action by Security Staff in Phalaborwa
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) extends its full support to workers who have embarked on a protest action in Phalaborwa, Limpopo. The workers are members of our sister union the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) and are employed by a security service provider to the Ba-Phalaborwa Local Municipality, Mafoko Security Services.
Following the discovery by workers that Mafoko Security Services had been deducting money from their salaries but failed to pay it over to their pension fund, workers demanded answers and a seedy resolution to this hence they embarked on a protest action outside the Ba-phalaborwa Local Municipality Offices.
Instead of addressing workers’ legitimate demand for corrective action, Mafoko Security Services unleashed wrath on the workers instructing their paramilitary reinforcements to indiscriminately shoot at protesting workers, leaving 9 workers plus a bystander injured, including one who was critically injured.
We are disappointed that the Ba-Phalaborwa Local Municipality has not come out to condemn the behavior of their service provider which happened on municipal premises. We therefore urge the municipality to distance itself from this barbaric and inhuman behavior by Mafoko Security Services while also demanding that the employer should take full responsibility for the violence directed at workers whose only sin was to demand corrective action.
SAMWU fully support these workers’ demand that their hard-earned money to be immediately paid over to the pension fund particularly given the fact that the security contract with the municipality will be expiring at the end of this year and as such they will be cheated by the employer as they may need to cash-out their pensions when the contract expires.
We are disappointed but not shocked at the actions of the employer who instead of dealing with issues at hand, decided to unleash violence against workers. We wish these workers speedy recovery and further encourage SATAWU to lay charges of attempted murder against Mafoko Security Services as these workers had not done anything that warranted the brutality of the employer but merely demanded what is rightfully theirs.
This experience is a reflection of how workers are suffering as a result of municipalities outsourcing functions and services. We have recently also seen a similar situation at the City of Tshwane wherein security guards were left destitute following the expiry of security contracts with the City yet the City still requires security services.
As the contract nears an end, we call on the Ba-Phalaborwa municipality to absorb these workers directly and on a permanent basis as the service they are rendering to the municipality will continually be required. We also believe that this will be a way in which the municipality will save money, pay workers decent and fair wages inline with the Local Government sectoral minimum wage.
SAMWU remains opposed to the privatization and outsourcing of municipal functions and services as this does not create decent jobs but rather leaves workers in the hands of ruthless tenderpreneurs who have no interest in the welfare of workers but maximizing their profits, subjecting workers to exploitation while milking municipalities out of resources.
Issued by SAMWU Limpopo Province
076 785 9022
National Media Officer
073 710 0356