Wits University patrollers claim that Wits rules do not apply to them despite being insourced since January this year.
The patrollers say they have not been remunerated for working extra hours, have not received job descriptions and Wits branded uniforms and there is no communication with them.
Patrollers form part of the Wits security system responsible for escorting students and patrolling the campus precinct.
Enoch Phahlane told Wits Vuvuzela that he was working as a patroller, however, management decided to give him a motorbike, which he is qualified to drive, but has never signed a new contract for driving it. “When I consulted my manager and supervisor I was told that it was sorted, when I asked how and how much they would pay me for it, I was told to be grateful for whatever I was going [to] receive,” he said.
Phahlane also indicated that he took the matter to the human resources department, where he was told that a contract was signed on his behalf, although he never saw it, and this information was never communicated to him. “This bike is dangerous. Imagine if something was to happen to me, I don’t even know if Wits would cover me, because I was never given a contract,” he said.
One of the patrollers, *Mzwanele Motha, who is placed at Education Campus, said that, “Our contract indicates that we are supposed to work Monday to Friday between 08h00-16h00, but this has never been the case. We have been working 12-hour shifts, weekends and holidays. When we were insourced, we were asked [verbally] to continue working as we were prior to insourcing, untilFidelity securities were also insourced. But this has never changed and we were never asked to work extra hours for free.”
Another patroller, *Duma Ndlovu, who is located at main campus, shared similar sentiments. He said, “There are a lot of things we are not happy about, including management. When we raise our concerns we are often told that we must be patient, these things take time which I understand, but it’s been eight months already. We have also been told that we must not compare ourselves with campus control officers because they were interviewed for insourcing and we were not, which seems like they were doing us a favour.”
Henderson Mphuthi, the patrollers’ manager, said he was not part of the Insourcing Task Team that discussed the logistics of insourcing, and nothing was communicated to him. He, however, raised concerns that the patrollers were not doing their job properly. He also showed Wits Vuvuzelarecords of absenteeism to substantiate this claim.
“If Wits rules were to apply to them, most of them would be fired,” Mphuthi said.
The patrollers’ supervisor, Robert Ndou, told Wits Vuvuzela that he was unhappy with the performance of the majority of the patrollers. He said this was due to various criminal activities that have taken place while patrollers were not situated in their allocated areas and because of absenteeism.
“It’s bad my sister. Someone’s car was stolen recently just here [Jorissen Street area] while one of the guards was sleeping in his own car,” Ndou said.
On the concern of the Wits uniform, Mphuthi said the patrollers were given uniforms, but they were not branded as there were issues with the previous suppliers.
Mphuthi, however, disputed allegations that there was no communication between them and the patrollers, saying, “We have meetings monthly, but they don’t attend, yet they are able to talk to Wits Vuvuzela and their union during working hours.”
*Tumisang Sekgobela, a patroller, told Wits Vuvuzela that management schedules meetings but they always postpone, and at times they are during working hours. “Why would we contact Wits Vuzuzela if there were meetings with us or for us…can you believe that some of my colleagues were told that Wits Vuvuzela would not help us with anything, we should rather go to SABC 2’s Speak Out?”
Wits human resources management could not be reached for comment despite several attempts to contact them.
*Patrollers asked for their names to be changed for fear of victimisation.
Wits Vuvuzela August 25, 2017. Wits rules don’t apply to us – patrollers