Guard saved by the ‘grace of God’

Isaac Makaula shows Vukani the medical certificates which state the extent of his injuries.

Philippi resident, Isaac Makaula, says it is by the grace of God alone that he is still alive after he was shot nine times last year.

The Forca Suprema protection services employee came under attack when eight armed criminals attempted to rob a bakery truck he was escorting through Khayelitsha.

Mr Makaula said he and his colleague had been assigned to escort the truck.

He said when it stopped at the TR section to drop off some bread, they were accosted by heavily armed criminals who shot him several times.

But, he said, he managed to escape using the company car and when some of his peers arrived, he was rushed to hospital where he stayed for about two months.

Doctors managed to save his life, but he said one of the bullets could not be removed.

He spent a further three months at home recovering from his injuries.

Mr Makewula accused his employers of failing him, claiming he had only been paid for two months and that he had been fighting an endless battle to get some kind of compensation from the company.

“ I was shot nine times,” he said.

“I’m the first person in the company to ensure that the criminals don’t get anything during a robbery. I was in the ICU for nearly a month and the company never provided support. When I had to go to doctor’s appointments, I had to travel on my own.”

Mr Makaula accused the company of treating him differently from other staff, who he claimed received assistance when they were injured. “I was still battling to walk but the company demanded that I come to work,” he said.

“My life has never been the same after that incident. I still work there because I have no choice but to support my family,” he said. .

“When we get injured at work, the bosses would say you were sleeping, that is why you were shot. The company couldn’t care less about our well-being.”

When Vukani contacted the manager of the company, he said he was aware of the incident but refused to comment further or identify himself.

Pressed for answers, he become irritated and refused to respond, saying only that we should be speaking to the Department of Labour and CCMA. He also threatened Vukani with legal action should the story be published.

Labour law expert, Michael Bagraim, said every worker, regardless of what they do, was protected in terms of the Workmen’s Compensation legislation. He said workers were insured against accidents at work and Mr Makaula was no exception.

He added that Mr Makaula had protection in terms of his registration as a security services employee and that protection could be investigated with the Security Industry Regulatory Authority (SIRA).

“This particular attack took place whilst Isaac (an employee) was on duty and he is fully covered in terms of the legislation,” said Mr Bagraim.

He said in situations where employees got injured on duty, companies should immediately complete the Workmen’s Compensation claim forms. He said the company should then pay the employee for at least three months and then claim from the Workmen’s Compensation fund.

Mr Bagraim said if the company was not registered for Workmen’s Compensation, they were committing an offence and if they had been deducting monies for workmen’s compensation it was fraudulent.

He advised Mr Makaula to contact SIRA and the Department of Labour to find out if he was registered with them.