Karibuni security staff embarked on a go-slow at Kimberley Hospital Complex on Tuesday. Picture: Soraya Crowie
Kimberley - The Northern Cape Department of Health obtained an urgent interim interdict against Karibuni Security Services on Tuesday night, to prevent any security guards from entering state health facilities in the Province and from threatening violence or assaulting anyone.

There had been complaints last month guards demanding a meeting with the HOD for Health in order to discuss the new contract that was concluded with Defensor Security as from November 1, for the next three years.

The Department of Health warned that Karibuni Security Services would be held liable for any damages, including costs incurred due to guards participating in strike or protest action.

Karibuni Security was urged to “rein in” security guards who were “endangering the lives of employees and patients seeking treatment at the hospital”.

The court order also prohibits the obstruction of the entrance or exits from state health facilities in the Province.

The sheriff of the court and the police will be ordered and directed to enforce the order.

Karibuni employees will only be permitted to enter state health facilities if they are in need of medical treatment.

Karibuni security guards earlier this week vowed to prevent the new security service provider from taking over the site, after they were informed that their contracts would expire today.

The security guards temporarily blockaded the entrance to the Kimberley Hospital Complex on Monday morning and no vehicles, including ambulances, were permitted onto the premises.

In court papers, the HOD for Health, Steven Jonkers, indicated that Karibuni Security “did not need to be given any notice as the contract would have automatically been terminated at the end of October”.

The contract was entered into in 2011 and was extended on a month-to-month basis until September this year, when a new three-year security contract to the value of R224 million was entered into with Defensor Electronic Security Services (Pty) Ltd.

Jonkers added that Karibuni had been informed that its contract would come to an end on October 27.

A statement attached to the court documents showed outstanding monies owed to Karibuni Security totalling R47 million dating back to 2011.

Jonkers pointed out that should someone in need of medical assistance be prevented from accessing the facilities of Kimberley Hospital it could result in a serious health risk or even loss of life.

He explained that he had refused to meet with security staff on October 20 regarding the possibility of permanent employment as it was a matter that they should have taken up with their employer.

“On Monday, Karibuni employees gathered at my offices. As a result my personnel locked the offices after which the employees locked the gates to the Kimberley Hospital Complex and the administration offices and denied members of the public access to the hospital. All vehicles, including ambulances, were denied access to the hospital.”

Jonkers blamed security guards for spraying teargas in the administration offices and criticised the police for not doing anything to stop their “violent tactics”.

He added that employees were incited to leave their posts, where no guards were on duty on October 24 from 10am and the rights of the department were being infringed upon.

“This poses a severe threat to the safety of department personnel and members of the public as well as the premises and goods belonging to the department.”

Jonkers stated that the department had a “clear right” to prevent people from entering the premises if they were acting in an unlawful manner.

He indicated that Karibuni staff would receive payment until October 31. Adrian B Horwitz and Associates, in legal letters, had advised that the department had bypassed the labour relations regulations in not providing three-months’ notice of the retrenchments of Karibuni staff, which, it indicated, had been executed without consultation.

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