Some government security guards say that they fear for their jobs after the government started outsourcing jobs that they used to hold to private companies.
One security guard, who requested to remain anonymous, said the trend of outsourcing is going to continue. He said Segakweng Tsiane, the Administration Secretary in the Office of the President, addressed them in a meeting and told them about the impending outsourcing of posts.
“Tsiane has told us about it just in passing but we do not know the details of the whole thing,” he protested.
The security guard said they thought that as the issue is critical to their lives, Tsiane, or their immediate bosses, would take the time to explain to them in detail how this privatization would affect them.
He said, for example, employees expected to be told about retrenchment packages and if they would be employed by the outsourcing companies.
“Some have worked for the department for close to 15 years, with some having worked for more years,” he said. “We did not expect this kind of treatment from the government; we deserved better treatment.”
The security officer further alleged that the mood amongst them was very low.
“People are just dragging their feet because they are uncertain about their future,” he said.
Asked to comment on the issue, the Secretary General of the National Amalgamated Local and Central Government Employees Union, Johnson Motshwarakgole, said that their position on this issue has always been clear. He said that they are against outsourcing, as was shown in their demonstrations, the last of which was as recently as last week on May Day. Now that they have realized that the government was determined to outsource despite their complaints, he said, they are now trying to get the government to keep its word and make sure that security guards, or those whose jobs are being outsourced in general, get priority when these jobs are outsourced.
“What we are saying is that these poor people should be helped to form companies to take over and not for outside companies, which are already well established, to take over,” Motshwarakgole said.
To make this possible, he said that they had suggested that the government sets up a fund to help such people as has been the case with citizen contractors.
He said, however, that this had not been done, clearly showing that the work will go to well established companies.
“There is no doubt that outsourcing is not going to benefit the workers but those with huge incomes to set up whilst the government has been arguing that workers will be given priority when outsourcing of jobs starts. Unfortunately, it appears this was just empty talk”, he said.
On the issue of workers being transferred to other Departments, he said this was not being done in a transparent manner because, for example, security guards are being told that they were getting lateral transfers but this was not the case. He said a security guard will work as a labourer after transfer and would be getting less than what he was earning before the transfer.
“This just proves that the whole exercise is not being done in a transparent manner,” he said.
Defending the government’s stand to outsource work done by government security guards, presidential spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay, said that the outsourcing of security guard services has advantages in that it is more effective and cost efficient in the delivery of services. This, he said, would also empower citizens through the use of local security companies. Ramsay said the decision to outsource the services was in line with the government’s overall commitment to publicÔÇôprivate sector partnership for development and that private security has long been a recognized stakeholder in high Level Consultative Council process. The programme, he said, started six years ago.