THE END OF A CRIME FREE CITY- UMZ
By: Neo Goba
The security guards that are identified as Urban Management Zone (UMZ) are fuming because of a “miscommunication” between Secureco Metsu, Fidelity Security Group and eThekwini Municipality that has led to their contract’s termination.
UMZ workers gathered on Monday and Tuesday mornings at Botha Park for a possible solution to their problem. They wanted to raise their concerns with the eThekwini Municipality for ending their contract with the company without giving them notice.
Smanga Mdluli who is the Secretary General of South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), said that the Municipality and the area managers that go around convincing people that they are doing something good for them are talking “absolute rubbish”.
“The Municipality and Fidelity are tramping on our feet because they are making us idiots. We want them to know that we will not sit back and let them treat us like we don’t exist. We too are prominent members of the community so we must be treated equally and not be robbed of our money,” said Mdluli.
He further said that he doesn’t understand why the contracts are being terminated because there are no more funds to pay them now, whereas their initial agreement was on three years of service.
“It’s not common sense that we were not given prior notice that our contracts have been ‘changed’ from three years to three months. The Municipality pays R40 million to guard councillors per year and how exactly are they of importance to us? There is corruption within the government and that is now affecting our work,” added Mdluli.
A security guard from Umlazi, Sandile Gwala, said that if Fidelity really terminates their contracts today, he’ll suffer.
“I opened accounts from furniture and clothing stores because I knew that I had a stable job for three years and I’ll be able to cover up all my debts by then. Now that this is happening, I don’t know how I’ll be able to take care of my family,” said Gwala.
Joseph Gumede, who is also a security guard for UMZ raised his concerns about the no- notice termination of contract by their employers.
“Our contracts started on the 31st of December 2013 where we signed a three year deal with a salary of R3100-00 per month,” said Gumede fumingly. “Now if they are terminating our contracts, they should pay us the remaining amount of the three years since they didn’t give us notice, Our very own 14% that we are taxed when we purchase groceries from retailers should be paid back to us. Fidelity and the Municipality must stop playing cat and mouse because neither of them wants to come out and state valid reasons as to why there no longer funds to be paid to us.”
Students from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and members of the community in the surrounding areas that the UMZ work in have applauded the work done by these security guards. However, it seems like their hard work and tireless efforts to keep the city free of crime will be futile since they will no longer have jobs.
Grant Mowatt who’s a student at the DUT City Campus said that he didn’t bother checking on his car whilst parked just opposite the “woonga park” because security was tight around the area.
“I’m disappointed that these security guards will no longer be posted around the parking. Now we have to deal with smash and grabs and also bag and cellphone snatchers,” said Mowatt. Urban Management is a process put
together by the City Manager and managed by the Architecture Unit, in collaboration with all line Department heads. The guards’ job was to prevent crime and act as ambassadors to the public, tourist and visitors, monitor and report activities within their zones and protect the capital assets.
The UMZ security guards were posted in the inner parts of Botanic Gardens, down Che Guevara Road, Warwick Junction, Albert Park, Margaret Mncadi Avenue, CBD, the back of beach front, Addington and Sandile Thusi Road.
EThekwini communications director Thozi Mthethwa, Secureco Metsu and Fidelity officials were not available for comments.
A memorandum has been drafted and sent by SATAWU to COSATU and eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo.