More than three hundred security guards gathered in Church Square, Pretoria before peacefully marching to the new council chambers demanding permanent positions and salary increments.
The workers claimed that the Tshwane municipality plans to retrench more than three thousand security guards and replace them with newly trained Tshwane Metro Police cadets.
They also demanded that their monthly salaries be adjusted to R10 000.
Isaac Ngwenya, a security guard and leader of the march, said they had tried to communicate with the mayor several times, but had been unsuccessful.
“What we want is the mayor to sit down with us and we come with a proper solution that will not affect the lives of people, how can three thousand people be retrenched to stay at home, we are breadwinners and have families to feed.”
The group also accused Mayor Solly Msimanga of lying and ignoring their demands despite writing him several letters.
“He is busy telling the media that we are sent by different political parties to cause distraction, we are not from ANC, EFF or representing any political party, we are here as workers.”
Themba Ncalo from General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa) said the problem which sparked the dissatisfaction amongst security guards was the negative treatment from the municipality.
“We are calling on the municipality to in source the security guards rather than dumping them on the street. If Solly and his council are not going to in source these people, we are going to disrupt the ANC national conference in December.”
The union threatened to shut down municipal centres including license departments.
“If we suffocate the money that is supposed to come to the municipality, it will be a language that they will understand,” he said.
The mayor’s office released a statement and dismissed the claims made by the security guards.
“Today’s protest action comes as a surprise. In dealing with the issue of security guards it is important to note that the city could not continue paying in excess of R200 million a year to the existing security companies, it is well-known that R200 million a year is simply unsustainable for the city when there are other, more affordable options at our disposal,” Msimanga said in a statement.