First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We write for you

It’s a public service and we refuse to erect a paywall and force you to pay for truth. Instead, we ask (nicely and often) that those of you who can afford to, become a Maverick Insider and help with whatever you can. In order for truth not to become a thing of the past, we need to keep going.

Currently, 18,000 (or less than 0.3%) of our brave and generous readers are members; which says a lot about their characters and commitment to our country. These people are paying for a free service in order to keep it free for everyone.

They are the true South AfriCANs.(Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.)

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Staff at Eastern Cape clinics fear for their safety whi...

South Africa


Staff at Eastern Cape clinics fear for their safety while security guards strike over late pay

Health workers turned patients away from Nelson Mandela Bay clinics, citing security concerns because of a security guard strike. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti)

The situation has arisen because the provincial health department has only paid Silver Solutions Security until October last year.

Hundreds of security guards at clinics in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro went on strike on Wednesday, demanding their salaries for January. They also want the health department to hire them.

The guards work for Silver Solutions Security. They accuse the company of frequently paying them late, but Silver Solutions has put the blame squarely on the provincial health department.

Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Mkhululi Ndamase said the government had only paid Silver Solutions and other service providers up to October “as a result of cash flow challenges”.

“The department’s security services unit is engaging with the company to understand their challenges and how they will fulfil their contractual obligations,” he said.

GroundUp could not reach a company spokesperson — apparently company officials were meeting with the health department — but a memo seen by GroundUp informed workers on 21 January that the department had not paid the company.

“The [provincial health department] has not yet paid Silver Solutions Security Services… This non-payment has resulted in the company facing dire financial constraints. [And] the company is not in a position to pay its employees their monthly salaries,” the memo said.

A security guard who spoke anonymously said: “We will only go back to work when the company has paid us. I have children who can’t go to school at present because I don’t have money for stationery, food and uniforms.

“The same situation happened in October 2021. We were paid October’s salary in November while November was paid in December. I have stop orders and accounts that I have to pay.”

Silver Solutions urged its workers to continue working while negotiations were in progress.

Ndamase said the department has no money to absorb the striking guards into its workforce.

Meanwhile, a nurse at a Motherwell clinic said she feared for her safety if the clinic was forced to operate without guards. 

“There have been previous cases at some clinics in the metro where staff and patients were attacked and robbed by criminals because there were no guards at the gates. 

“I don’t want to risk my life by working when there are no guards to protect us.” DM

First published by GroundUp.


Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted