Security guards at the Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape, have downed tools, citing poor working conditions and low wages.

The workers allege that their employer, Xhobani Security Company, pays salaries ranging from R1 900 to R2 200 a month after working 12 hour shifts.

The workers further allege that some supervisors force female security guards to sleep with them. Secretary of the African Security Congress, Vuyo Nqantosi, says no security officer will work in that hospital until the matter is resolved.

“What we’re going to do is we are going to prevent whatever action they are taking and we are urging securities out there not to come anywhere near Cecilia Makiwane, because if they come here we are going to stop them. We have closed operations here in Cecilia Makiwane and we are here to protect them and there’s no one who can oppress them.”

Health Department spokesperson, Lwandile Sicwetsha, says the safety of staff and patients is guaranteed.

“We have notified the security company that this matter is between the company and its employees. They must remove those employees and bring in security personnel that will be able to do their work and guard the hospital and the patients.”

Efforts to get comment from the security company have failed.