Simbithi is a 24-hour, seven days a week, 365 days a year operation. Every single day, come rain or shine, we have staff ensuring our community is well taken care of. In our final edition for 2019, we took a moment to chat to some of our team who sacrifice their Christmas and New Year’s Day to be here, for us.
BONGIWE DUNN – CONTROL ROOM OPERATOR
Though many may not have seen Bongiwe’s face, her voice would be instantly recognisable! If you have ever called our 24-hour Control Room, chances are you have spoken to her. Bongiwe joined Simbithi in 2005, as a cleaner. In 2017, she moved over to Security, as a Control Room Operator.
“This job is challenging,” Bongiwe smiles. “Yes, sometimes residents are upset and angry, or scared, when they call Control. But, it is our job to calm them down. To assure them that we care, we are listening and we are here to help. We try our best to keep them happy.”
Bongiwe, who fondly calls Simbithi her “second home”, has worked almost every Christmas and New Year since she has been with the Estate. “If not day shift, then night shift.” Asked if she misses being with her family on these special days, Bongiwe smiles, again. “Yes, I miss them. But, Simbithi is my family, too. And I’m needed, here, so I do my job with pride.”
While she does not get a chance to go to church on Christmas morning because she is either coming off, or heading to, shift, Bongiwe makes up for it. “When I have a day off, I spend time with my family.”
GCUMA SIMLINDILE – GATE OFFICER
Now, here is a face we all know and certainly love! Posted at our Main Gate, Gcuma is intriguingly always happy: he dutifully waves – with both hands – at every car that drives into the Estate. And, each resident and staff member gets a cheerful greeting by name. So proficient is Gcuma, that he has rightfully earned the nickname, “Legend” among the staff of SEEHOA; no matter how our days have started, Gcuma starts our days off with a smile.
Gcuma started as a fence patroller five years ago, and was recently moved to Main Gate. “My job is to help our residents. I enjoy it very much.”
He, too, has worked every Christmas and New Year in his time with Simbithi. “Ah, but I don’t mind. Some of our residents are so nice to us; they bring us presents and make sure to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” And, he gets to enjoy time with his family when he is off work. “Christmas is when we have fun. And, I still get some time for that.”
As a car whizzes by, Gcuma raises both his hands in his trademark greeting, and enthusiastically wishes the resident a good day. And, I just have to ask: how does he memorise the names and faces of hundreds who pass through Main Gate, daily? “Ha,” Gcuma chuckles. “Sometimes, I go to assist a resident at the biometric reader. Then, I make sure to glance at their name. Or, I go into the guardhouse to check the transaction viewer, then I see their names, too. I remember, and then when I see them again I will say good morning Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So. I like to make them feel happy.”
PROTAS DUBE – FENCE PATROLLER
I meet Protas an hour after he completed his shift, at 7am. Even after being on his feet for 12 hours, Protas is polite and attentive. The quiet, humble officer is in his third year at Simbithi. You may never see him, but he is part of our first line of protection – the team that physically walks along our boundary daily.
“Simbithi is beautiful,” Protas says, shyly. And, he would know, as he gets to see the Estate from a point not many others do. “Our job is to patrol along the fence line, and make sure we are not in danger. We do routine checks inside the boundary, and on the outside, too.”
Protas will work his second Christmas Day, this year. “I don’t mind, at all. To know I am part of a team that keeps the residents safe so they can enjoy their Christmas: that is good.”
When he is off shift, Protas looks forward to seeing his family during the festive season. “We are a big, big family. Those who do not live close by, come and spend this time here. When I am not working, I get to see my family.”
From the residents, and staff, of Simbithi; we would like to thank our Security team who keep us safe on Christmas and New Year’s Day: those in the Control Room, Access and those who stand in at the Welcome Centre. We salute you!
Every year, donations are collected, which go to our security guards who work over the festive season; to spread some cheer to their families. We are incredibly grateful to them for giving up time with their families over Christmas and New Year, to ensure we are safe with our families.