Acting head of KwaZulu-Natal education department Dr Barney Mthembu has committed to investigate the “slave” salaries paid to guards by his department. | Supplied
Acting head of KwaZulu-Natal education department Dr Barney Mthembu has committed to investigate the “slave” salaries paid to guards by his department. | Supplied

Security guards earning R2 300 from KZN Department of Education lost hope of having a Christmas “like all other families”

By Willem Phungula Time of article published Dec 8, 2021

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DURBAN - SECURITY guards stationed at public schools in KwaZulu-Natal said they were forced to turn to loan sharks every month as they battled to make ends meet with the R2 300 salary the Department Of Education was paying them.

Several guards contacted the Daily News again on Tuesday and said they had not been contacted by the department, despite promises by spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi last week to do so.

Several guards who spoke to the paper said after the story about their plight was published last week, they had hoped by this time someone from the department would have contacted them, adding that they had lost hope of having a Christmas “like all other families”.

One guard, who asked not to be named, said out of R2 300 a month he was being paid by the department, he sent R1 500 to his four children, R600 went to rent and with the R200 left he bought food and walked a long distance to work because there was no money left for transport.

Another guard said he had five children to feed and was always forced to turn to loan sharks loans to get by.

A third guard said there were workers who had not received their salaries since September, and no one had explained the reasons to them.

“Life is hell for us security guards. Every month we are being harassed by loan sharks demanding their money back, and we have been living this life since we got this job last year,” said the guard.

Acting Education head Dr Barney Mthembu committed to personally investigating the security staff’s below minimum-wage salary.

Mthembu told the Daily News on Tuesday that he would check with human resources officials “to find out what actually happened during the employment of the guards”.

Last week the Daily News reported that the guards wanted to meet with education MEC Kwazi Mshengu over their unhappiness.

The guards said they felt they were being treated like slaves by education officials, who they alleged had been ignoring them.

Last week Mahlambi requested at least one employee’s details and the name of his school in order to investigate the matter.

On Tuesday, attempts to reach Mahlambi were unsuccessful; his colleague Kwazi Mthethwa, said he was stuck in a meeting.

The unions had also promised to take up the matter with the department, however guards said no one from the unions had contacted them.

“We have created our WhatsApp group where we discuss our sufferings. All our members are telling us that no union ever called,” said the guard.

Public Servants Association provincial leader Mlungisi Ndlovu said he had been out of the province and would attend to the matter as soon as he was back.

Daily News

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