Cape Town beaches could face a serious security crisis this festive season if the City of Cape Town and Law Enforcement officers represented by SAMWU fail to reach an agreement. The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) says that the demands of 500-600 Law Enforcement officials represented by them in Cape Town revolve around issues of abuse, overtime and the times officials are required to work. A memorandum was handed over to the City on Saturday, containing a detailed list of demands and grievances.
SAMWU’s Cape Metro organiser, Archie Hearn says that officials want to be absorbed into the formal structures of the City and not work precariously through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) on a three-year contract basis.
“What we are saying to the City is that with these Law Enforcement officers you have recruited through EPWP, look at your agenda…allow these officers to be absorbed into the structures of the City, the organogram of the City.”
“When they are done after three years, they’re let loose into society…we’re saying that the City is creating a more sophisticated criminal in Cape Town [by forcing Law Enforcement officials to exist in precarity and relieving them of duty after short three year terms simply due to a lapse of contract].
You need to work on a mechanism and engage us on how to retain these employees. Once you’ve trained them and spent money on them, it isn’t fair to let them go and cause more devastation…don’t lose these employees, retain them. Enable the public to benefit from these employees,” said Hearn addressing the City through VOC.
SAMWU wants to engage in constructive talks with the City and to work on a framework to achieve their outlined objectives cooperatively. Hearn indicated, however, that the City informed staff that they would be subjected to formal discipline procedures if they refused to work overtime on weekends – despite the fact that working overtime is largely understood by the workers to be voluntary.
Hearn says there will definitely be a significant effect on beach areas during the festive season if the City doesn’t accept the demands and members consequently refuse to work overtime. He insists their demands are reasonable and can be achieved through engagement.
The City of Cape Town said a response would be issued by the end of the week.