Campus Control officers are frustrated about being denied promotion despite years of long service to the university.

The officers whom Vuvuzela interviewed had between 15 and 21 years of experience. They did not wish to be named, for fear of victimisation.

“If you use our names, we are gonna be targeted, you see. They don’t like us to talk to Vuvuzela. They are suppressing us,” said one officer.

Another officer also said they are afraid to express their grievances.

“Most people are afraid to speak out, even though it might be good for them,” he said.

The officers complained they had not been promoted despite serving the department for many years.

“I have more than 20 years in Campus Control. After six months they can give someone promotion, but they say you don’t deserve. They say we need young people,” said an officer who was patrolling outside Northwest Engineering Building.

He alleged that favouritism exists in the department and that officers who are related to Campus Control managers, and who are from certain provinces and ethnic backgrounds, are promoted.

“Meanwhile you are suited for the job,” he said. “Most of the people are worried, but there is nothing we can do.”

An officer posted at the Station Street gate gave the date when he started working for the department, almost 20 years ago.

“Several occasions I have applied. They said nothing. They can’t tell you what went wrong. You just see the new faces which are promoted,” he said.

He expressed discouragement at being repeatedly denied a promotion.

“I end up giving up already. I don’t think I will apply again.”

He was particularly frustrated because he believes he has performed his duties very well.

“I made a lot of arrests since I joined this university … But I have never been considered.”

He listed some of the arrests he had made, giving the locations and exact dates, going as far back as 1995. The officer also gave the models of the cars which the thieves had stolen or tried to steal.

An officer who has been working for Campus Control since the early 90s said he had groomed some of the current assistant managers.

“I showed them how to do the work and after that they were promoted, but not me.”

“Right now, there is a young boy who was promoted, and he doesn’t even have 10 years [of service]. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Like other officers, he lamented what he perceived as a lack of transparency in promotions.

“I applied to be promoted but I didn’t succeed. They don’t give you reasons.”

“We don’t know the criteria they are using. If someone can find out about the criteria they use …” he trailed off.

When asked what he felt about working at Wits he said: “It’s not the best. Wits is not the best.”

“I’m fed up. I’m just working to get my pension. Just doing it for the remaining years,” the officer said.

The officer said he thought he had about 10 years to go before he would be eligible to receive a pension.

Rob Kemp, head of Campus Control, said allegations of nepotism and favouritism were unfounded. He also said Campus Control follows the procedure as set down by the Human Resources Policy. Kemp said selection criteria were published with the job advertisement and were also available from the Campus Control or Human Resources offices.

Published in Vuvuzela Print Edition, 13 April 2012