Hundreds of jobs in the local security sector could be lost in the city if the Passenger Rail Authority of South Africa (Prasa) does not pay over R11 millions it allegedly owes to service providers.
Three security service companies contracted by Prasa, who have a combined workforce of 1500 security guards are in danger of closing and this week sought relief from the Western Cape High Court, claiming Prasa has not paid them for six months.
The issue was set to be heard on Wednesday but was postponed to next week Monday.
Applicants Chuma Security Services, Iliso Protection Services and Sechana Protection Services filed a Notice of Motion against Prasa and its subsidiary Intersite Property Management Services, which Manson Tobin Attorneys, acting for the respondents, are opposing.
In court papers Chuma Security Services states it had submitted twelve invoices over the last six months amounting to R6 253 048 which they claim has not been paid.
Similarly, Iliso Protection Services say they are owed R2 141 020 and Sechana Protection Services claim eight invoices amounting to R3 112 200 have not been paid.
Copies of email correspondence in the papers suggest that Prasa acknowledged liability and had promised to pay, but had not done so.
Prasa spokesperson Moffet Mofokeng declined to comment on the matter, saying they would only do so once the issue was concluded in court.
One of the affected service providers who declined to be named due to his contractual agreement with Prasa, said he employed 700 security guards in his company.
He said 220 of them were working on the Prasa contract and his inability to pay them had led to their sending him threatening messages.
He said he now feared for his life and that of his family.
At one point his personal assistant had been locked in her office by angry employee and had to be rescued by police.
The worried businessman said his company was “going down and going down with me”.
He said he was scared to go to his office as some of the employees were “camping” there, waiting to be paid.
His employees had an average of five dependents each but with no money forthcoming from Prasa, he could not pay them any more.
This was despite his having provided security services to Prasa for the last ten years.
Affected security guard Mali Thobile, 35, from Paarl complained that he had not been paid for six months.
He said he had a wife and three children whom he could no longer support them.
“My kids can’t go to school, we are hungry and suffering at home,” said Thobile.
Though he continued to go to work, he said some of his colleagues had quit and were now jobless. –Francis Hweshe