Today's Labour News

newsThis news aggregator site highlights South African labour news from a wide range of internet and print sources. Each posting has a synopsis of the source article, together with a link or reference to the original. Postings cover the range of labour related matters from industrial relations to generalist human resources.

news shutterstockIn our Wednesday roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that have appeared since
midday on Tuesday, 16 May 2017.


TOP STORY - REINSTATEMENT OF BRIAN MOLEFE AT ESKOM

Now Eskom says Brian Molefe was retrenched as CEO

BusinessLive reports that Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF) CE Sibusiso Luthuli has justified the fund’s decision to grant Eskom CE Brian Molefe a R30m ‘early retirement’ pension payout on the basis of a rule pertaining to retrenchment.  The decision, which has since been revoked, would have equated to paying out Molefe for the remainder of his five-year contract, of which only 18 months had been worked when he announced his voluntary resignation.  Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said last week she disapproved of the early retirement payment and decided that returning Molefe to his post at Eskom would be cheaper for the fiscus than the pension payment.  However, controversy has raged over whether Molefe’s subsequent "reinstatement" was legal, with the DA on Monday asking a court to set it aside.  There has also been murkiness around the legality of the pension payment as the fund’s rules state that to qualify for early retirement, a person must be at least 55 years old.  Molefe is 50.  After numerous inquiries, Luthuli responded on Tuesday, saying Molefe’s case was, in fact, dealt with as a retrenchment.  Luthuli did not explain how Molefe, who voluntarily resigned, would qualify for retrenchment.

Read this report by Carol Paton in full at BusinessLive.  See too, Governance board suggested ten year pension for Molefe, says Ngubane, at Fin24.  And also, Molefe ‘retired’ to protect new wife from media frenzy, claims Eskom chair, at Fin24

ANC agrees that state will resolve Eskom’s Molefe reinstatement issue‚ says Brown

TMG Digital/BusinessLive reports that according to Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, a meeting held with ANC officials about the reappointment of Eskom CEO Brian Molefe agreed that government would resolve the matter.  This was despite ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe telling News24 that the ANC had called on Brown to rescind Molefe’s reappointment.  The minister was "in discussion with President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa on the matter"‚ Brown’s spokesman said.  Molefe returned to his position at the state-owned power utility on Monday morning after leaving amid controversy in 2016 following the release of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s ‘State of Capture’ report.  Following the announcement of his return last week‚ the ANC said the move was reckless and fed into the perception that the government was not serious about tackling corruption.  Brown’s decision to endorse the Eskom board’s move to return Molefe to the post has been widely criticised and is now the subject of court action by the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Read this report by Genenieve Quintal in full at TimesLive.  Read too, ANC orders Brown to rescind Molefe's return to Eskom, at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • ANC wants Molefe's reinstatement at Eskom revoked, at SABC News
  • Public Protector shocked by Molefe’s reinstatement as Eskom CEO, at SABC News


MINING LABOUR

Amplats CEO says more mining jobs at stake because of policy uncertainty

Reuters reports that Chris Griffith, CEO of Anglo American Platinum, said on Tuesday that policy uncertainty in SA and low commodity prices were hurting investment in the mining sector and would lead to further job cuts.  The embattled industry is waiting for the latest version of the Mining Charter, which contains regulations meant to redress imbalances of the nation's past apartheid rule and stipulates rules for miners to perpetually keep black ownership levels at 26%.  Griffith commented:  "Uncertainty is dreadful for investment.  It puts pressure on jobs and some mines that are already loss-making... there will be further rationalisation of the mines and it's going to lead to further job losses in South Africa."  In addition to policy uncertainty, SA’s platinum miners are battling low commodity prices, high costs and social unrest which has triggered thousands of job losses.  Griffith said 60% of the industry was loss-making and that more jobs were at risk.

Read this report in full at eNCA.  See too, Mining Charter to be gazetted ‘in a matter of weeks’, at SA Govt News Agency.  And also, Zwane vows new Mining Charter will be most revolutionary, at Fin24

Central Rand Gold ends 11-day strike after agreeing to pay workers 13th cheque

ANA reports that Central Rand Gold (CRG) said on Wednesday it has reached agreement with union representatives to end the 11-day industrial action following "robust negotiations".  This comes after workers embarked on a strike at CRG on 6 May after wage negotiations collapsed.  CRG on Wednesday said it has agreed that workers would be paid a bonus payment in the form of a "13th cheque" in December.  This payment would be equivalent to 50% of each employee's basic pay.  Union representatives have since notified their members of the settlement and all employees have apparently returned to work.  CRG lost up to 11 days' production to date as a direct result of the strike and was forced to run with a skeleton staff.

Read this report by Siphelele Dludla in full at Business Report.  CRG’s short press statement is at Sharenet

Lonmin’s survival is in the interest of the whole community, says Solidarity

Mining Review reports that trade union Solidarity has pointed out that platinum producer Lonmin’s continued existence and success are important to communities and the local economy.  Solidarity made this statement following Lonmin’s harassment by some members of the the Bapo Bo Mogale community through violent protests that have taken place since 2 May.  The community, which has also been involved in trying to intimidate Lonmin employees, wants Lonmin to immediately make 1,000 permanent jobs available and a further 500 cadet posts for community members.  According to Solidarity’s Connie Prinsloo, such an arrangement would endanger the survival of the company, which will consequently have a negative economic impact on the whole region.

Read this report in full at Mining Review.  Read Solidarity’s press statement in this regard at Solidarity online

Platinum paramount chief dies amid protests and missing millions in royalties

City Press reports that it is believed that the Bapo ba Mogale youth who have been demanding jobs from Lonmin may have decided to halt their protest following the death of the paramount chief in the area.  The protests forced the platinum producer to close two operations last week.  Kgosi of the Bapo ba Mogale for three decades, Bob Edward Mogale, died on Monday evening after having been ill for about a month.  Mogale had been living in a palatial mansion that served as a royal palace, costs in respect of which had ballooned from the initial R20-million budget to a whopping R80 million.  It has also been reported that about R68 million was paid to consultants alone and R2.8 million was spent on decor.  Meanwhile, a pending report by the Public Protector is expected to shed light on what happened to the missing millions of rands in mining royalties that were paid in the name of the Bapo ba Mogale.  The former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, previously told the community that its account had had R617 million in 1994, but that this had dropped to just more than R495,000 by 2014.

Read this report by Poloko Tau in full at City Press.  See too, Traditional chief of platinum-rich Bapo Ba Mogale dies, at TimesLive

Families of deceased Lily Mine workers and other miners paid promised cash

TMG Digital reports that lump sum compensation payouts have been made to the families of mineworkers Pretty Nkambule‚ Solomon Nyerende and Yvonne Mnisi who were killed in a sinkhole tragedy at Lily Mine in Mpumalanga in February last year.  Confirmation of the payouts was made by Cosatu on Wednesday.  The labour federation said it was "encouraged and delighted to see some positive developments taking place regarding the resolution of challenges facing workers at Lily Mine".  The families of the deceased miners have been paid R200‚000.  The mine has on a monthly basis since the accident been paying the salaries of the three deceased miners to the families.  They are also receiving grants from government.  An amount of R10‚000 each has been paid so far to the 75 injured miners that were promised a payment of R50‚000.  Cosatu said it would "work to support the fundraising efforts to raise money so that workers can receive the additional R40‚000".  

Read this report in full at TimesLive

Death toll of suspected Free State illegal miners following explosion rises to 24

EWN reports that another 13 bodies have been retrieved from the Eland gold mine shaft, bringing to 24 the number of fatalities following a explosion at the Welkom operation.  The bodies have yet to be identified, but police suspect they are illegal miners.  It is still unclear what triggered last Thursday's blast, but mine owner Harmony Gold said it was saddened by the deaths.  None of those retrieved had been formally identified and their state of decomposition will make this process challenging.  Harmony spokesperson Marian van der Walt said:  “We call on the public to advise us should they know of anyone involved in illegal mining activities and report that to the company.”

This short report by Tendani Mulaudzi is at EWN.  Read too, Twenty-four bodies retrieved from Free State mine, at eNCA

Other general internet posting(s) on mining

  • Stonewall complete scoping study for second South Africa gold mine, at Mining Weekly
  • Platinum Group Metals assesses options for Waterberg PGM projects, at Mining Review
  • PWC report reveals how Tegeta’s Brakfontein coal agreement with Eskom was stillborn, at The Citizen
  • Eskom rejects allegations of helping Gupta family ‘hijack a coal mine’, at BusinessLive
  • Ramatlhodi stands firm on Gupta claims, at IOL News


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Samwu workers at Mangaung Metro down tools

TimesLive reports that workers affiliated to the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) in the Mangaung Metro in the Free State have downed tools‚ making a variety of demands to the municipality.  The union’s provincial chairperson‚ Congo Matshepe‚ commented:  "We have given them seven days to respond on the issues we have raised.  But we must also note that over and above the seven working days‚ we will look at their response and then resolve on the way forward.  Our strike has been approved by the bargaining council and we will definitely go on a full blown strike until our demands are met."  He added that the union had been sent from pillar to post in respect of resolving its issues, which have been ignored.  Among the long list of demands are problems with illegal termination of employment contracts of temporary workers; temporary workers not being paid; non-provision of personnel protective equipment; non-implementation of equal pay for workers in the law enforcement division and other departments; and political interference of councillors.

Read this report by Neo Goba in full at TimesLive.  Read Samwu’s press statement, which details the union’s demands, at Cosatu Today


PROTESTS / MARCHES / BOYCOTTS

Medics protest as KZN health care system collapses

GroundUp reports that the SA Medical Association (SAMA) and public interest law firm Section 27 have warned that the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) health system is in dire straits.  On May 5, over a thousand health workers marched in Durban to highlight the crisis.  A memo, addressed to MEC for Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo, listed many problems, such as a shortage of staff caused by “unfunded, frozen and abolished posts”, an overtime policy that SAMA and unions have not agreed to, failures with equipment procurement, shortages of supplies, problems with medical records, and poor management.  On Monday, Section 27 said it had “received reports that Inkosi Albert Luthuli and Addington Hospitals are no longer able to effectively treat cancer patients due to equipment breakdowns and a shortage of specialists.  Air-conditioning machines are not being repaired resulting in surgeries being cancelled or hospital infections.”  The Health Professions Council of SA has apparently warned several departments that they will lose their accreditation to train specialists in the current situation.  The Department of Health said the concerns raised by SAMA were being discussed, with a solution still underway.

Read this report in full at News24


LABOUR AND POLITICS

Free State official challenges suspension for attending anti-Zuma protest

Netwerk24 reports that the state official who was suspended after he participated in a protest march against President Jacob Zuma has approached the labour court to get his suspension lifted.  Teboho Loate, chief director of sport, arts and culture in the Free State, has also requested that his suspension be declared unlawful and unconstitutional.  In a statement to the court, Loate says that on 12 April he took leave and attended a protest march of opposition parties and community organisations at the Union Buildings in Pretoria that called for the resignation of Zuma.  At the protest, he gave a comment to the press.  Loate is a member of the national executive committee of Cope.  Op 24 April, he received a letter from his head of department in which he was requested to provide reasons why he should not be suspended.  According to the letter, he had made dishonourable statements against Zuma, which could have been a contravention of the code of conduct.  After Loate answered, he was suspended on 2 May.  At no time was he told what his unacceptable statements had been.  One of the points made by Loate is that the provincial government and not Zuma is his employer.  The hearing will apparently be at the end of the month. (Loosely translated from Afrikaans)

Read this report by Mike Van Rooyen in full in Afrikaans at Netwerk24


THE ECONOMY / NDP / PRICES / PRODUCTIVITY

Fitch ‘very concerned’ situation in SA not improving, says Fedusa

Reuters reports that the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) said on Tuesday after participation in talks with Fitch that the ratings agency was very concerned that SA’s economic and political situation was not improving.  In April, Fitch cut SA’s debt to sub-investment, citing the recent cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma.  Fedusa general secretary Dennis George commented:  “They wanted to know how we see the future and what we see happening at the ANC elective conference in December.”  He went on to say:  “Fitch are very concerned about what is happening in the country and the fact that things are not getting better, they’re getting worse.  They also agreed with us that we can’t keep bailing out the state-owned companies.”  Government guarantees to state firms are set to increase to nearly R500 billion in 2017.  Fitch was not immediately available for comment.

Read this report by Mfuneko Toyana in full at Moneyweb.  Read Fedusa’s press statement issued prior to the talks at SA Labour News


EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT / CORRUPTION / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

SABC advertises Hlaudi’s old job as disciplinary hearings are set to begin

Fin24 reports that the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Sunday advertised the role of chief operating officer (COO), following Hlaudi Motsoeneng's removal from the acting role in 2016.  Motsoeneng was removed as COO after the Supreme Court of Appeal in September rejected his bid to appeal the Western Cape High Court’s November 2015 ruling declaring his appointment irrational and setting it aside.  Meantime, Motsoeneng is set to face two disciplinary hearings, which are set to start on Wednesday.  The first hearing regards the personal media conference he held on 19 April, while the second hearing relates to string of findings against him made by the Public Protector.  Following his removal as COO, Motsoeneng was appointed group executive for corporate affairs, but this was set aside in December by a court, which ruled he could not go to work in any capacity at the SABC.  This ruling will be in force until the a new disciplinary inquiry makes a finding or a court reviews the Public Protector’s findings that Motsoeneng lied about his qualifications, purged the SABC of staff and promoted people and raised salaries without following the correct procedures.

Read this report by Matthew le Cordeur and Jan Gerber in full at Fin24.  See too, Hlaudi disciplinary hearing set to get underway, at The New Age.  And also, 'We will fight for Motsoeneng's rights', says his lawyer, at Business Report

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Former senior Wits official pleads guilty to stealing grant funds, at TimesLive
  • Tshwane city manager to review metro police director’s ‘fraudulent’ qualifications, at The Citizen
  • DA official notified of employee’s sexual harassment complaint against him, at EWN


WEB LINKS TO LABOUR NEWS ARTICLES ON TUESDAY, 16 MAY 2017

See our listing of links to labour articles published on the internet on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at SA Labour News

 

Get South African labour news reports at SA Labour News