news shutterstockIn our Wednesday roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that have appeared since
midday on Tuesday, 6 December 2016.


Pan African Resources warns of serious community unrest at Barberton

BusinessLive reports that Pan African Resources is looking at all options to minimise disruptions to its Barberton mine from community unrest.  The unrest has taken on a political element, with various parties demanding a say in hiring at the mine.  CE Cobus Loots indicated:  "We lost a lot of days to community issues and safety stoppages.  There’s infighting in the communities and there are political issues between parties in the area.  We are stuck in the middle when one party comes to us, saying ‘we insist you do recruitment via us because we represent these communities’, and the next day the road will be closed by the other party."  The company intends to interdict communities that illegally stop its operations and hold individuals responsible.  The similarities between the Barberton communities and those around the platinum and chrome mines near Steelpoort are said to be striking, with various community leaders demanding recruitment preference.

Read this report by Allan Seccombe in full at BusinessLive

Strike at Vantage Goldfields’ Barbrook mine over unpaid wages continues

SABC News reports that the strike by the workers at Vantage Goldfields’ Barbrook Mine near Barberton in Mpumalanga over unpaid November salaries is still continuing.  The 400 workers have been on strike since last week demanding their outstanding salaries.  Mine management met with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Monday and made a commitment that all workers would receive their salaries on Thursday this week.  Meanwhile, former Lily Mine workers who blockaded the road to the mine will be paid on 15 December.  They were demanding their packages and compensation for the families that lost relatives in the incident in February when a shaft at the mine collapsed.  The bodies of three Lily workers are still trapped underground.

This report by Motsebi wa Monareng is at SABC News

Gold Fields executive Nico Muller moves to Implats as new CEO

Fin24 reports that Gold Fields on Wednesday announced the resignation of its executive vice-president, Nico Muller, who will be leaving the company to take up the position of chief executive officer of Impala Platinum (Implats).  He will take up his new post 3 April 2017.  The search for a replacement at Gold Fields has commenced.  Implats said:  "Mr Muller holds a BSc Mining Engineering degree and has had a 27-year mining career that has exposed him to multiple commodities, including platinum.  He has a proven track record as a successful operator, a highly rated leader and a strategic thinker.”

Read this report in full at Fin24

Other labour-related posting(s) in this news category

  • Man ‘was nie homself’ toe hy mynbestuurder skiet, at Netwerk24 (limited access)

Other general internet posting(s) on mining

  • KZN turns sod on R85bn privately owned coal power station, at Mining Weekly
  • SA’s failed system of mine closure, at IOL News


Marikana: Sikhale Sonke withdraws from Lonmin mediations

Greg Nicolson reports that Marikana women’s group Sikhale Sonke has withdrawn from a mediation process with platinum producer Lonmin that began after it lodged a complaint with World Bank investor, the International Finance Corporation.  The group wanted Lonmin to commit to community challenges, like housing, water and sanitation, but says the company engaged in bad faith and failed to meet even basic commitments.  Sikhale Sonke was formed in the months after the 2012 Marikana massacre.  Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) attorney Palesa Madi on Tuesday claimed that Lonmin only wanted to discuss minor issues, such as counselling and recycling.  Sikhale Sonke’s withdrawal from mediation means the World Bank’s IFC compliance advisor must now investigate complaints that Lonmin failed to implement the Social and Labour Plan (SLP) objectives it was financed for.

Read this report in full at Daily Maverick


Undocumented farmworkers in Limpopo still suffering abuse

The New Age reports that the abuse of undocumented farm workers is still rife in Limpopo – with workers getting paid between R60 and R80 a day instead of the gazetted R103 minimum daily wage.  Most of these workers hail from Zimbabwe and Mozambique.  Thembani Ndlovu from Zimbabwe said working conditions were bad in that they worked long hours and didn’t get proper time to rest from their labour.  Ndlovu has been working since 2008, but said it was hard to apply for a passport since he did not have the relevant papers, which made it easy for farmers to abuse him and other workers, knowing very well that they would not report them for of fear of being deported.  Last year 80 undocumented farm workers from Zimbabwe were left stranded outside a police station in Lephalale after they were fired and evicted by their employer over a demand for better pay.

Read this report in full at The New Age


Numsa backs Fawu’s campaign to save jobs in poultry industry

ANA reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) on Tuesday pledged its full support for the protest action by members of the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) against job losses in the poultry industry.  This comes as Fawu on Tuesday staged mass protest action in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature against the dumping of poultry products from the European Union (EU), arguing that about 1,250 workers had already been earmarked for retrenchments by one of the local poultry companies.  Fawu has already marched to the National Treasury and the EU Commission Embassy in Pretoria.  The union is also protesting against government plans to introduce a 1% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages from next year.  Numsa’s Irvin Jim said they fully supported Fawu’s call for parliament and all provincial legislatures to listen to the outcry for jobs to be defended.  Numsa urged its members to back the rolling mass action by joining Fawu’s protest marches.

Read this report in full at The Citizen


Zuma, DA get tongue-lashing from Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich

Daily Voice reports that Cosatu in the Western Cape has slammed President Jacob Zuma for lack of leadership and has publicly endorsed Cyril Ramaphosa as the new ANC president.  At the same, it said the Western Cape ruling party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has failed the people of the Cape Flats.  The trade union federation on Monday released its “report card” for the province, and said the DA had failed the final exams.  Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said Cosatu had done “a full evaluation” of the state of the Western Cape and found massive inequality along racial lines.  He noyed that while the “elitist white Capetonian lives in paradise with better services, provided by the DA, the Cape Flats is a horror story”.  Ehrenreich took a swipe at Zuma, saying:  “He must be held accountable and answer for his mistakes made.  The buck ultimately stops with him..."

Read this report in full at Daily Voice.  Read too, Cosatu’s Ehrenreich accuses Zuma of ‘damaging’ ANC’s image, at The New Age


Request for more airport immigration staff still pending

BusinessLive reports that the Department of Home Affairs says it is still awaiting feedback on an application to deploy additional staff to immigration terminals at international airports to process foreign tourists.  New immigration regulations, confusion over the requirements for abridged birth certificates and new biometric systems introduced to record passenger details have led to long delays at airports.  The department does not have enough staff for all the immigration counters at OR Tambo International Airport, and tourism providers and airport management are scrambling to put in place mitigating measures for the busy festive season.  Despite changes to the shift system, only 60% of immigration counters are operational at peak periods.  Treasury austerity measures aimed at reining in public expenditure include a prohibition on hiring public servants.  Only critical vacant posts can be filled.

Read this report by Karl Gernetzky in full at BusinessLive

Up to 800 senior teaching posts in KZN still vacant

The Mercury reports that the successful applicants for as many as 800 senior posts - including heads of department, deputy principals and principals - at schools around KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) have apparently yet to be announced.  As a result, the applicants and the schools are facing serious challenges in planning for next year.  A total of 2,204 posts were advertised earlier this year and appointment letters were meant to be distributed on 24 October, with appointees due to have assumed duties on 1 December.  But as of Monday, only about 1,300 successful applicants had seemingly been announced.  Leann Roos of the Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie commented that schools could not effectively plan for next year if they did not know who the successful candidates were.  A spokesman for the Department of Education placed the blame on inefficient school governing bodies.

Read this report by Bernadette Wolhuter in full at The Mercury.  Read too, Daarom het KZN-onnies nie werk nie, sê Fedsas, at Maroela Media


Monetary cap for employment tax incentive scheme abandoned

The Citizen reports that concerns about the potentially negative impact of a monetary cap on the employment tax incentive (ETI) available to employers have been heeded.  The incentive aims to stimulate employment for young people between 18 and 29 years and supported about 646,000 youth jobs in 2014/15.  In the second batch of the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, National Treasury introduced an annual cap of R20 million on the claim allowed to each employer participating in the ETI.  During the standing committee on finance’s parliamentary hearings, a “compelling case” was made that the proposed cap would come at the cost of “higher levels of potential employment”.  After a recommendation by the finance minister, the committee has reverted to the original design of the ETI and removed the cap.

Read this report by Amanda Visser in full at The Citizen

Gauteng needs to create 400‚000 jobs per year to dent unemployment

TMG Digital/The Times writes that the Gauteng economy needs to create 400,000 jobs consistently every year to put a serious dent in unemployment.  A massive influx of people has placed additional pressure on Premier David Makhura’s government to create the necessary jobs to ease the burden caused by in-migration.  Some 16‚200 people monthly have moved into Gauteng in search of economic opportunities in the last three years‚ raising the provincial population numbers by 585‚000 to 13.2 million people.  Second quarter figures (July-September) saw the provincial economy grow by 2.9%‚ up from 0.1% in the preceding three months.  Delivering his year-end political report on Tuesday in the Gauteng legislature, Makhura said:  “We are confident that the fourth quarter of 2016 will continue the positive trajectory on jobs.  It is worth remembering that in 2015‚ our provincial economy created 209‚000 jobs in the formal economy and 151‚000 jobs in the informal economy.”

Read this report in full at TimesLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Gauteng’s Tshepo 500 000 programme opening employment doors, at The New Age
  • Alarming quarterly labour market stats show rising unemployment, at BizNews


Zuma accepts proposal to freeze pay rises for the top public office bearers

BusinessLive reports that President Jacob Zuma has accepted the proposal not to give top public office bearers a pay rise in 2016-17.  The Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers recommended no adjustments in remuneration for the president, deputy president, ministers and deputy ministers.  Also not getting pay rises will be MPs and members of provincial executives and legislatures, judges, executive mayors and whips in local government and traditional leaders.  But the commission recommended 4% cost-of-living adjustments in remuneration of municipal councillors and 6% for all magistrates and some others.

A short report is at BusinessLive.  See too, Zuma approves no increase for MPs, at City Press


Gauteng community health workers not paid, says DA

ANA reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Tuesday that Gauteng community health workers were still waiting to be paid for November due to a cash crunch in the provincial health department.  DA health spokesman Jack Bloom stated:  “I have established that thousands of Gauteng community health workers have not yet been paid their R2,500 stipend for November because the Gauteng health department is facing a severe cash crunch”  The workers are paid by the SmartPurse company, which receives funds from the department.  Bloom said some community health workers had been told they would be paid on 6 December, others on 8 or 13 December.  He described this as “appalling”.

Read this report in full at eNCA


Contributions to GEMS medical scheme to rise 15%, with employees to pay 6.2%

BusinessLive reports that SA’s 1.3-million public servants have until 8 December to consider whether to change healthcare plans after it was agreed on Tuesday that contributions to the Government Employee Medical Scheme (GEMS) will rise 15% from January 2017.  The state subsidy to employees will increase 8.8%, meaning state employees will pay the additional 6.2% required to keep GEMS solvent.  Public servants and the government agreed during collective bargaining in 2015 to retain 75% state medical assistance for in-service employees, with state contributions capped at R925 per principal member and R565 per dependant.  Parties further agreed to adjust the subsidy according to the medical price index on 1 January each year.

Read this report in full at BusinessLive


Hawks boss Ntlemeza's appointment 'unlawful, irregular and irrational'

Pretoria News reports that the appointment of controversial Hawks head, Lieutenant-General Berning Ntlemeza, is being challenged in the Gauteng High Court by the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and Freedom Under Law (FUL).  The two bodies on Tuesday asked a full bench of three judges to review and set aside his appointment by police minister Nathi Nhleko.  David Unterhalter SC, argued that the appointment of Ntlemeza was unlawful, irregular and irrational in light of findings and remarks made by two judges in previous cases.  The HSF and FUL earlier this year lost their bid for an urgent order to have Ntlemeza suspended, pending the current review proceedings.  Unterhalter on Tuesday said the court should ask itself whether Ntlemeza was a fit and proper person to serve in his high office.

Read this report by Zelda Venter in full at Pretoria News.  See too, Nhleko ‘ignored’ pivotal court ruling that affected Ntlemeza’s appointment, at HeraldLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • 125 Gauteng officials in hot water over financial misconduct, at SABC News


See our listing of links to labour articles published on the internet on Tuesday, 6 December 2016 at SA Labour News


Get South African labour news reports at SA Labour News