news shutterstockIn our Friday roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that have appeared since
midday on Thursday, 1 December 2016.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Cape Town Hawks continue working in unsafe, cockroach-infested offices

News24 reports that the Western Cape Hawks will probably have to work in squalor for quite some time - even though the health department has declared the building from which they operate unsafe.  At least 250 members of the Hawks, the police’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, work in the office block in AJ West Street, in Bellville.  The building was evaluated by inspectors for a second time on 10 November and more than 20 violations were found.  There wasn’t an approved security system, emergency exits were blocked, there weren’t directions to where emergency exits were, and the building lacked the necessary firefighting equipment.  Other problems included broken floor tiles, poor water supply to urinals and signs of a cockroach infestation.  The Department of Public Works (DPW) was given until 23 December to sort out the problems.  But, DPW spokesperson Thami Mchunu said that they were still waiting for approval of financing.  He said they could only start doing maintenance work once the money was received.

Read this report by Jana Breytenbach in full at News24.  See too, Valke moet vasbyt in gebou, at Netwerk24 (limited access)

Alleged cop killer back in Cape Town court on Friday

News24 reports that a teenager who allegedly shot dead a police constable and wounded a second officer, is expected back in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court in Cape Town on Friday.  Ashwin Kennedy, 19, faces a charge of murder and another of attempted murder.  Constable Amanda Ladlokova was killed while responding to a request to assist with a domestic situation in Philippi East on Tuesday, 22 November.  She was shot three times and died.  Her colleague was shot in the neck and survived by playing dead.

Read this report by Iavan Pijoos in full at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Two off-duty KZN police officers attacked, one killed, at The Citizen
  • Security guard shot in Johannesburg CBD, at News24
  • Boer wat werker glo vermoor, kry nie borgtog, at Netwerk24 (limited access)
  • Kotze set to be sentenced in brutal sex worker murder, at Cape Argus
  • KZN man tries to kill employer after stealing money, at The Citizen


MINING LABOUR

No sign of an investor for Lily Mine, says Solidarity

Netwerk24 reports that Solidarity said on Thursday that the time had come for the Lily Mine business rescue practitioner (BRP) and mine management to put their cards on the table with regard to their workers, the trade union and the media.  According to Solidarity’s Gideon du Plessis, the BRP, since his appointment in April, and mine management “have continuously made promises with regard to an investor for the mine, but the goalposts have constantly been moved with new excuses as to why a transaction could not be concluded.”  Du Plessis also pointed out that management was constantly making commitments regarding salary payment dates for the workers, but failed to duly comply.  Meanwhile, workers are apparently now being laid-off in an inhumane manner without statutory compensation packages.  With workers also still awaiting payment of their April, May and June 2016 salaries, signs of an Aurora saga were emerging, said Solidarity. (Loosely translated from Afrikaans)

Read this report by Elvira Wood in full in Afrikaans at Netwerk24 (limited access).  Read Solidarity’s press statement at Solidarity online

Auction of hotel and spa closes Fidentia's final chapter

Philani Nombembe reports that bidders on Thursday spent R39-million on a rundown hotel and spa in the Cape Winelands in the final chapter of the Fidentia fraud case that unravelled almost a decade ago.  The property was owned by the defunct company.  The fraud was masterminded by Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown, who is now serving a 15-year prison sentence.  Thousands of widows and orphans lost more than R1-billion in the financial scandal.  Fidentia controlled the Living Hands Umbrella Trust responsible for making monthly payments to beneficiaries of the Mineworkers Provident Fund.  The trust is Fidentia’s biggest creditor‚ due 89.6% of the proceeds.  The trustees said the trust has about 400 different funds comprised of about 60‚000 beneficiaries from various Southern African countries.  Since their appointment in 2012‚ the trustees have traced and paid more than 26‚000 beneficiaries.  They have paid out more than R31-million to date.

Based on reports at TimesLive and SowetanLive.  See too, Fidentia investors who lost savings to receive some cash, at EWN

Other general mining internet posting(s)

  • Anglo slashes debt with R3bn Exxaro sale, at BusinessLive
  • Bloody diamonds entering the market now only 0.2% of global supply, at Mining Weekly


PROTESTS, MARCHES AND BOYCOTTS

Gauteng community health workers boo Ramaphosa at World Aids Day event

eNCA reports that Gauteng Community Health Workers (CHWs) used a World Aids event on Thursday to air their frustrations with authorities when they booed Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.  The complaints of the CHWs was that even after years of service they were only recognised as volunteers, while some had not been paid their stipend in months.  They held up placards which read "7 months without pay", "Voetsek to the minimum wage" and "We want our money now".  The mood of the crowd shifted after Ramaphosa started his address, when he said he and government were working towards addressing the concerns of community workers.  The crowd's boos then turned to resounding cheers as Ramaphosa explained that government was in the process of attending to the minimum wage proposal.

Based on reports at eNCA and News24.  Read too, Legislature to assist CHWs, on page 5 of The New Age of 2 December 2016.  As well as a press statement issued by the Gauteng Legislature at SA Govt online


CORPORATE TRANSFORMATION

NUM welcomes Koko’s appointment as Eskom boss

ANA reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Thursday welcomed the appointment of Matshela Koko as an acting group chief executive of Eskom.  In a statement, NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said Koko had gained a lot of experience within the company since he joined Eskom as an engineer and would be able to steer Eskom in the right direction with his experience.”  He called on Koko “to continue with an implementation of income differentials that seeks to dismantle and bury unjustified race and gender income disparities that are still prevalent 22 years after the dismantling of apartheid.”  Yet, the Democratic Alliance (DA) lashed out at the decision to appoint Koko, saying that this was recycling the same personnel after the Public Protector’s State of Capture report found that the Eskom board was “improperly appointed”.

Read this report in full at The Citizen.  Read the NUM’s press statement at Polity


RECRUITMENT / STAFFING

Sasol appoints new HR executive

Engineering News reports that Charlotte Mokoena has been appointed Sasol human resources (HR) and corporate affairs executive VP, effective from 1 February 2017.  As part of the group executive committee, she will direct and oversee Sasol’s global HR and corporate affairs functions in line with the group’s strategic aims.  Mokoena is currently HR executive at Tongaat Hulett.  “Charlotte has worked in both the private and NGO sectors covering the beverage, information and communication technology, education and agricultural industries.  We look forward to benefiting from her vast experience and expertise,” said Sasol joint president and CEO Stephen Cornell.

This short report is at Engineering News

New local liability cover for doctors may solve exodus from high-risk professions

Business Report writes that, in the face of rocketing premiums for medical liability cover, an insurer has developed SA’s first home-grown medical indemnity insurance product.  Insurance costs are driving high-risk specialists such as gynaecologists and obstetricians from their professions.  Recent media reports have highlighted the crisis facing doctors in private practice, who are paying tens of thousands of rands a month for cover against patients suing them for medical malpractice.  Obstetricians have been particularly hard hit.  Until now, few local insurers have covered doctors, and there has been no cover for those in the high-risk areas of practice.  These doctors have had to look to overseas-based insurers and international organisations.  Now, Constantia Insurance Company has launched EthiQal, which offers occurrence-based liability cover, as well as claims-based cover.

Read this report by Martin Hesse in full at Business Report.  See too, Maternity wards in danger of shutdown due to insurance costs, at Cape Argus


RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

Job losses loom in local poultry industry due to imports

Business Report writes that Rainbow Chicken Limited (RCL) on Thursday announced it was going to cut production at its Hammersdale facility by half in a move that would lead to job losses in the poultry industry.  The chicken producer blamed the existing free trade agreement between SA and the EU for its troubles and said the company could be forced to cut more jobs if the situation did not improve.  It said this would take job losses in the poultry industry to nearly 3,000 in the next three months alone as producers battled with production costs.  The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) has thrown its weight behind the local producers’ call to for a limit on poultry imports.  The union’s general secretary, Katishi Masemola on Thursday said they had already petitioned the departments of trade and industry and agriculture to ask for government intervention.  Fawu is planning more marches to EU offices and Parliament to protest the imports.

Read this report by Sandile Mchunu in full at Business Report


EDUCATION / SKILLS / TRAINING

Ekurhuleni Metro trains 200 unemployed youths as firefighters

Caxton News Service reports that Ekurhuleni Metro’s Community Safety MMC Vivien Chauke has launched the intake programme of 50 firefighters who will be trained in Boksburg for the next year.  Some R14 million has been set aside to train firefighters for the next two and half years.  Chauke said the programme was one of the many interventions to empower the youth and added:  “This programme is a continuation of the work which began at the beginning of this calendar year with 50 learners – and will result in 200 unemployed learners being trained in the area of fire and rescue operation NQF Level 4.  This qualification is accredited to the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress, thus improving the chances of employment on completion.”  The learners were selected from a pool of unemployed young people who registered on Ekurhuleni’s economic development database.  All the learners have matric and underwent a gruelling trial to determine if they met the minimum requirements.

Read this report by Maile Matsimela in full at The Citizen

Students warned against bogus colleges and unaccredited programmes

Cape Talk writes that matriculants are urged to be vigilant when considering their choice of tertiary institutions because many private colleges are operating illegally.  Dr Shaheeda Essack of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) says students need to verify the accreditation and registration of the colleges as well as the programmes they offer with the department.  She said students should not be fooled that one programme of the college is accredited, but should verify all the programmes offered.  To verify whether a private college has been registered, students can call the department's toll free number 0800-87-22-22 or visit their website.

Read this report in full at Cape Talk

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • 81 kwalifiseer by Transnet se akademie, at Netwerk24 (limited access)
  • Porsche training programme for Cape, at IOL News
  • Terry Bell’s Inside Labour: Unions must seek more than fee-free education, at Fin24
  • No certificates for unaccredited schools, at SA Govt News Agency
  • TVET students will show 'true colours' in 2017, warns EFF MP, at News24
  • Transnet accused of poor training, underpaying apprentices, at The Citizen


RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FUNDS

Probe into FSB cancellation of ‘orphan’ pension funds ‘inadequate’

BusinessLive reports that the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday that alleged irregularities surrounding the Financial Services Board’s (FSB’s) cancellations of thousands of fund registrations deserved a "better and bigger" investigation.  This was because previous FSB investigations were not well resourced and the regulator had a duty to correct its mistakes.  Counsel for former deputy pension funds registrar Rosemary Hunter pointed out to the court that the FSB had recognised that where there was any suspicion that beneficiaries of the funds had suffered any harm from the cancellations, it had a duty to investigate and undo cancellations.  "A better or bigger investigation [is] never to be done by a one-man band," said Loxton referring to an earlier investigation.  Hunter is seeking an order for a court-appointed investigator to probe the FSB’s decision to cancel the registrations of 4,600 funds that did not have a board of trustees, assets, or liabilities (so-called ‘orphan’ funds).

Read this report by Moyagabo Maake in full at BusinessLive.  See too, FSB ‘went for official who exposed errors’ over deregistration of pension funds, at BusinessLive

EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT / CORRUPTION / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Top cop Phahlane releases report showing Popcru allegations ‘untrue’

The Citizen reports that a range of allegations by police members against acting national police commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane have been found to be untrue.  The allegations ranged from procurement irregularities, that he had sexual relations with a string of women, paid scarce skills allowances irregularly and fraud, including that state money paid for his birthday party.  Phahlane released a report on the allegations on Thursday, saying:  “This matter can finally be put to rest as in the past only the allegations were made known and never the findings.”  Popcru (Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union) had made the allegations in 2012 when Phahlane was divisional commissioner of the forensic services division.  He has instituted civil litigation in regard to the allegations “as my reputation has been brought into disrepute on several occasions”.

Read this report by Virginia Keppler in full at The Citizen.  Read too, Top cop's accusers 'bent', at TimesLive.  And also, Phahlane: Allegations of corruption are efforts to tarnish my image, at EWN.  As well as, Phahlane to sue for damages over corruption allegations, at eNCA

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Senior traffic cop linked to illegal licences, at IOL News
  • Cop endured superior’s sexual assault for years, at Daily News
  • SCA reduces sentence of policeman who demanded money from suspect, at TimesLive


COMMUTING

Two-hour commute between Joburg and Pretoria on its way, warns Sanral

The Citizen reports that the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) says that unless it solves its funding problem caused by the widespread e-tolls boycott, things are going to get a whole lot worse with the commute between Johannesburg and Pretoria.  It took just 30 minutes to drive from Pretoria to Joburg during peak traffic when the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) was completed in 2011, though e-tolling was only launched in December 2013.  “Based on the growth in the number of cars on the route, we expect the commute from Pretoria to Joburg to take two hours during peak hours,” said Alex van Niekerk, Sanral’s project manager for GFIP.  The same commute currently takes about an hour in busy traffic.  The Gauteng car pool has grown by 1 million vehicles to 4.2 million since 2009.

Read this report by Ciaran Ryan in full at The Citizen


WEB LINKS TO LABOUR NEWS ARTICLES ON THURSDAY, 1 DECEMBER 2016

See our listing of links to labour articles published on the internet on Thursday, 1 December 2016 at SA Labour News

 

Get South African labour news reports at SA Labour News