Guards are fed up

A CCID guard patrolling.

The Central City Improvement District’s (CCID’s) public safety officers say they are fed up of being mistreated by their managers and are calling for changes to their working conditions and an increase in remuneration.

The public safety officers spoke to the CapeTowner anonymously for fear of being targeted by their employers.

One officer said at the CCID, no one cared about the fact that they were doing an “extravagant job” all over the city centre.

“We work without a job description. We wrote a letter to our employer to ask what our job description is, as it is far from just a security job, but they ignored us. “Here, officers work 24 hours a day, seven days a week in extremely bad conditions with no allowances or benefits, yet the CCID is a City of Cape Town initiated project.”

Another officer said they were given equipment that was worth more than what they earn and if that equipment was damaged,the officer must take responsibility for repairs. “They charge us post desertion of R1 026 within two minutes if you are not in your post, but that amount of money we make in four days.”

The officer added: “We are treated like criminals. We have bib numbers on the back and front of the uniform, but we don’t know what they are for. Our employer does not value us. We don’t even have a proper place to rest during lunch times. We eat in an office with no furniture in it at all.”

The safety officers say they endanger their lives every day as they deal with many incidents
all over the city centre. “We are dealing with ATM fraudsters
who are the most dangerous people. We act as the police,
law enforcements and traffic cops at times as we are always the first respondents in each incident.
We do all this while improving public safety as a whole in the
Cape Town CBD. The amount of money we get paid to do this is an insult.”

The public safety officers are part of the security arm of the CCID service, which takes up the biggest portion of its budget every year.

According to the CCID website, four full-time team members – a manager, an assistant manager and two night managers – oversee a team of around 230 public safety officers. The officers are contracted via Iliso Protection Services and deployed around the clock to provide top-up services to those delivered by the City’s Law Enforcement and the Cape Town Central SAPS.

Seventy officers patrol the streets during the day and 60 at night, equipped with body-worn video units, batons and pepper spray.

The CapeTowner sent the CCID a comprehensive list of questions about the public safety officers.

Asked to respond to all the points listed, the CCID CEO, Tasso Evangelinos said the The CCID has not received any formal complaints in this regard.

“Our security service provider, Iliso, has confirmed that they have not received any formal complaints either.

“We take the well-being of our team members very seriously and we therefore encourage direct engagement with Iliso management so that any issues can be resolved. We are committed to constructive engagement with all of our team members and service providers.”

The complaints were also sent to Iliso Security Services. The managing director, Louis Rademeyer, said: “I refer you to the statement of the CCID on the same matter. We would stay with said statement.”

The City did not respond to questions, and referred the CapeTowner to the CCID for comment.

The Cape Town Central police spokesperson, Captain Ezra October, said while the CCID public safety officers had received many compliments from stakeholders and the public, the conditions they worked under were unsafe. He said on numerous occasions, the public safety officers had been attacked.

“Just last week, a CCID public safety officer was stabbed. We have many incidents on the Grand Parade as well, involving public safety officers as the suspects there are ruthless.”

He said the CCID was under a lot of pressure, but it was important to know that they were a real boost to the police. “We have made so many arrests because of them. They are an asset to the city.”

Meanwhile, the public safety officers said they would draft another letter to their employers to air their grievances.