Security guards set to fight retrenchments

ANGRY security guards from the Western Cape's department of community safety will descend on Premier Helen Zille's office tomorrow in protest against looming retrenchments.

ANGRY security guards from the Western Cape's department of community safety will descend on Premier Helen Zille's office tomorrow in protest against looming retrenchments.

The 200 guards, who gathered in Cape Town at the weekend, vowed to fight for their jobs in order to support their families.

Sowetan reported last month that the guards, who earn about R4500 a month, were told just before Christmas that their contracts would not be renewed at the end of this month.

One of the guards at the protest told Sowetan that they had previous military, navy and police experience and were ready to "meet fire with fire".

"We will not give up. The government has used us like condoms. Before this province is in a shambles Helen Zille must act ... we're angry," said Mfusi Zonke, a coordinator of the march.

They are also planning to lobby President Jacob Zuma and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa. The guards have called for an investigation into how a private company - set to take over from them - got the job.

Zonke said the provincial government's procurement process "leaves much to be desired".

"It is not convincing and it's unacceptable that after working for the whole year in government we are still thrown into a rubbish bin."

Zonke warned the government that it was "playing with fire and putting the safety of the province at risk" if their complaints were not addressed.

Zonke showed the Sowetan the notification letter of retrenchment he had received, which said: "Please note that in terms of paragraph 5.1 of your contract of employment, your contract (ends) on 28 February 2010."

Another guard said: "The government is taking food out of our mouths.

"There is no peace in my house. There will be a divorce if I lose my job. I cannot live off my wife's salary."

The guards said after the letters were issued he had started to take anti-depression medication.

Western Cape community safety MEC Lennit Max was not available for comment.

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