Open Letter: Insourcing of SASSA Cleaners & Security Personnel

Hon. Lindiwe Zulu

Minister of Social Development


Ms Zingiswa Losi

President – Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)

Dear Minister


I write this open letter to you with a heavy heart. This afternoon I had a deeply unsettling engagement with a group of cleaners and security personnel employed to service SASSA offices countrywide.

These good, hard-working South Africans are suffering the worst kind of exploitation at the hands of tenderpreneurs that are more interested in lining their pockets than empowering their fellow South Africans.

In our meeting today, they expressed that some of them have still not been paid for their services rendered in November, which I was told it is a normal practice with their employers. Furthermore, despite some of them working indirectly for the Department of Social Development for the past 15 years, they have not been permanently employed.

I have always believed that a job provides more than just an income, it provides purpose and dignity. But this dignity is undermined when people are employed without employment letters, without contracts, without payslips, and without the benefits of permanent employment. This kind of treatment – the treatment experienced by the group I met with today – cannot stand.

I must confess that I find it difficult to understand how a department allegedly committed to ‘Social Development’ allows its staff to be treated in such a despicable manner. Even more disconcerting is how COSATU – allegedly the vanguard of the working class – has failed to raise this concern.

Even as a self-proclaimed ‘Capitalist Crusader,’ I was the first to admit that when this kind of exploitation at the hands of tenderpreneurs was brought to my attention in the City of Johannesburg, it needed to change. Indeed, thousands of workers in the City encountered similar exploitation that saw tenderpreneurs profiting from lucrative contracts while the rights of the employees themselves were ignored.

I took a stand against this because the dignity of our fellow South Africans should always be our first priority.

In response, we insourced over 6,000 security guards and cleaners, increasing their take home salaries by a minimum of 50%, and providing them with the benefits of full-time employment, while incurring no additional costs to the City. This was accomplished by cutting out the politically connected tenderpreneurs and employing our people directly.

I am now writing to you, and your partners in the Tripartite Alliance, to extend this program of insourcing to your Department.

I am urging you to end the exploitation of our people under your employ and provide them with the dignity of permanent employment and the benefits it provides.

We cannot sit idly by while our fellow South Africans suffer at the hands of the greedy and the corrupt.

Please, let us end these exploitative practices today and give our people the dignity they deserve.

Yours sincerely,

Herman Mashaba

President: ActionSA