Protesters camp outside Luthuli House

Protesters camp outside Luthuli House. Picture: Jabulani Sohasha, X.

Protesters camp outside Luthuli House. Picture: Jabulani Sohasha, X.

Published May 1, 2024


WHILE the country celebrated May Day yesterday, a group which claims to have been retrenched by service providers contracted by the Gauteng Department of Health has vowed to spend the rest of the week protesting outside Luthuli House.

This is in spite of an order issued by the governing party on Tuesday directing them to leave within four hours.

These workers said their contracts had been terminated at the end of March by service providers contracted by the department .

A representative, speaking to The Star on Tuesday, said they had nowhere to go as they were unemployed due to the termination of their contracts.

Reports suggest that on Sunday, Johannesburg metropolitan police department officers tried removing some of the protesters after they had camped outside the ANC HQ since last Friday.

Andries Potsane, of the South African Cleaners Security Allied Workers Union, said they moved to Luthuli House in order to have their issues attended to after having protested for over two years to get the provincial health department to hire all cleaners and security personnel permanently instead of them being hired by service providers.

Potsane said: “We have been calling for the department to permanently employ us instead of having us contracted to service providers who have not paid our UIF and provident fund contribution for over 10 years.

“This has resulted in our members not having any benefits after their contracts were terminated at the end of March. We have been ordered by the department to leave their premises, which is why we have taken our fight to Luthuli House as we want them to intervene in our situation.”

Last year, The Star reported that scores of Expanded Public Works Programme workers affiliated to the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers vowed to continue fighting for their rights to be considered for contract extensions and full-time employment.

However, the Gauteng Department of Health indicated that it had noted misleading reports and claims being made, including videos circulated on social media from those who claim to have been employed by them.

“Firstly, it is important to clarify that the protesting security officers were never employed by the Department of Health. The Gauteng Department of Health had month-to-month contracts with private security service providers which expired at the end of March 2024.

“The protesting security officers were previously employed by these service providers, and their employment was not directly linked to the department. Therefore, the department cannot commit to absorbing employees that were previously contracted by service providers,” the department said.

A woman worker said: “We have been trying to get the department to hear our pleas but they have not been receptive to us. We are now forced to leave our homes and protest here.”

Attempts to get comment from the ANC have been unsuccessful at the time of going to print.