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 afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Tuesday, 13 February 2018.


JMPD officer shot in the head on Tuesday during mini taxi bus hijacking

Timeslive reports that a Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officer is in hospital after being shot in the head by hijackers.  JMPD chief of police David Tembe tweeted on Tuesday morning that the 47-year-old officer was shot while trying to intervene when a mini bus taxi was being hijacked in Booysens early on Tuesday morning.  "The suspects shot at the officer about five times and one bullet hit the side of his head‚ no arrests have been made as yet.  I strongly condemn the shooting and every effort will (be) made to apprehend the suspects‚" Tembe tweeted.

This short report by Nomahlubi Jordaan is at Timeslive


Another worker killed at a Sibanye-Stillwater mine

ANA reports that according to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), another mineworker has died at a Sibanye-Stillwater mine, less than a week after two workers were killed at one of the company’s shafts.  The union said a worker was killed at the Driefontein No. 1 shaft on Monday while trying to blast an ore pass box that was blocked by big rocks.  When the rock was crushed, a rush of mud overwhelmed the worker, who suffocated to death.  A rockfall at the company's Kloof mine killed two people on Wednesday.  Mbuyiseli Hibana, NUM Carletonville regional secretary, said:  “We are very much concerned about the loss of lives happening at Sibanye-Stillwater.  The company must be made to account on all of these incidents and those found responsible must be made to take the blame."  In another incident in January, some 1,000 miners were trapped underground at the company’s Beatrix gold mine after a power outage at the mine caused by a severe storm in the area.  No one was injured.

This report is at eNCA. See too, Sibanye-Stillwater reports fatality at Driefontein mine, at Mining Weekly

Case postponed after former Amcu members in court on Monday for platinum belt killings

ANA reports that six former members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) appeared briefly amid tight security at the Brits Magistrates’ Court on Monday.  They were arrested on Saturday night in what Police Minister Fikile Mbalula described as a major breakthrough in killing incidents in Marikana.  The prosecutor applied that the accused should be added to the charge sheet of three other accused, who were previously arrested and have already appeared in court.  The case was postponed to 21 February for the accused to appoint attorneys.  The state is expected to oppose their bail application.  The former Amcu members allegedly resigned from the union last year, and are alleged to have been part of plans to eliminate Amcu members.  A number of Amcu members were killed in September last year, with at least 11 cases of murder and attempted murder reported in the North West platinum belt between May and October last year.  Nine people were killed and two others were targeted and almost killed.  The majority of the victims were reported to have been members of Amcu.  The killings in the platinum belt have been suspected by some to have been orchestrated by trade unions fighting for control

Read this report in full at The Citizen. Read too, North West premier welcomes arrests linked to union killings, at The Citizen

Gold mines report progress in preventing deadly silicosis

GroundUp reports data presented at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town suggest that gold mines might at last be making progress with the prevention of silicosis among miners.  Silicosis is a progressive, deadly lung disease caused by silica dust, while affected workers are much more likely to contract TB.  Graham Briggs, retired CEO of Harmony Gold and convenor of the Occupational Lung Diseases Working Group (a collaboration between the six largest mining groups in the industry), said silicosis diagnoses had dropped 24% from 853 cases in 2015 to 635 cases in 2016 on the four gold mines in the group.  These are Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony Gold.  Over the same period, cases of pulmonary TB had dropped almost 14% (from 1,666 to 1,436 cases).  Briggs also reported significant progress with the “Ku-Riha” project, which is aimed at dealing with the enormous backlog of unclaimed compensation and unprocessed claims.  From 2015 to 2016, settled claims leaped from 1,628 to 7,756, and total payouts to sick workers climbed from R79m to R226m.  But Briggs was much less forthcoming on progress with dust monitoring.  He said sampling frequencies and dust analysis methods had improved in recent years, but he did not give any detail.

Read this report by Pete Lewis in full at News24

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Illegal miner buried alive, body retrieved outside Burgersfort, at The Citizen


Call by Saftu for Marikana massacre to be revisited following new revelations

City Press writes that following its report on Sunday on explosive testimony given by three police officers who were involved in the Marikana massacre, the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) and others have called for fresh investigations.  City Press reported that a constable from the police’s K9 unit said that two of his fellow officers and at least one of their colleagues and others from the police’s special task force shot striking mine workers in Marikana, who appeared to be non-threatening and were in fact begging for their lives.  “Saftu demands that the (Farlam) commission of inquiry be reconvened to hear this evidence from these new witnesses and, we hope, from others who will now be prepared to come forward,” the union federation said on Monday.  It called for the “immediate arrest of all those in government, Lonmin and police management who planned, organised and approved this murder”.  The Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) spokesperson on police, Zakhele Mbhele, reacted:  “The public deserves to know if new evidence from the South African Police Service members who confessed to shooting striking mineworkers in Marikana will be included in the NPA’s prosecution flowing from Ipid’s investigation.”

Read this report in full at City Press


DUT lectures start on Tuesday despite wage strike

The Mercury reports that the Durban University of Technology (DUT) strike has entered its fifth week, after wage talks deadlocked and mediation failed.  University management met with the National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) at the CCMA for mediation, but the parties failed to reach an agreement.  Milton Estrice, spokesperson for the Crisis Committee appointed to facilitate talks between the parties, said the university was not budging on the offer it had been presenting to the workers for the last three weeks.  “Management keeps coming with a fixed offer and telling us it’s their final offer, meaning there is no room for negotiation, whereas the staff has been willing to negotiate.  Talks collapsed because of this lack of cooperation from the side of DUT,” Estrice stated.  In anticipation of a repeat of clashes that occurred last week, there was a heavy police presents outside the university on Monday.  However staff marched from campus to campus peacefully.  Meantime, DUT management was adamant that the university’s academic year would start on Tuesday, despite the wage dispute not having been resolved.

Read this report by Khumbuzile Mbuqe in full at The Mercury. Read too, DUT lecturers to start on Tuesday, on page 6 of The New Age of 13 February 2018


Fourth quarter 2017 unemployment drops to 26.7% from 27.7% in third quarter

BusinessLive reports that SA’s unemployment rate improved in the 2017 fourth quarter from the third, as might be expected for a quarter that usually brings a temporary hiring boost thanks to the holiday season.  Unemployment from September to December was estimated at 26.7%, Statistics SA said in its quarterly labour force survey on Tuesday.  That was a whole percentage point better than the 27.7% seen in the July-September quarter.  Unemployment in the fourth quarter of 2016 was 26.5%.  The number of unemployed people fell to 5.88-million, from 6.21-million in the third quarter, and compared with 5.78-million in the final quarter of 2016.  Looking at various economic sectors' performance during the quarter, jobs were lost in the following sectors: Finance and other business services (92,000); Mining (39,000); Trade (25,000); Transport (5,000); and Utilities (4,000).  Manufacturing added 13,000 jobs, the highest number added.  Construction, and community and social services, added 7,000 jobs each.

Read this report by Tammy Foyn and Sunita Menon in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Unemployment rate drops to 26.7%, at Business Report


Joburg security firms up in arms over City’s decision to insource guards

The Star reports that security companies set to lose millions of rand in business from the City of Johannesburg have vowed to challenge the metro’s decision to insource the service.  The legal threat comes after the metro last week announced plans to hire 4,000 privately employed security guards stationed at its various properties.  Currently, the City said, it outsourced security services through over 150 contracts.  On average Joburg paid R14,000 per guard and claimed that, nonetheless, the firms paid the guards salaries of about R4,500 per month.  Jones Maphalaphathwa of the Association of African Private Security Owners of SA said they objected to the move and he accused the City of politicising the matter.   “We are objecting to this.  We are intending to write to the City to try to see if we can meet with them and convince them against this decision.  It is going to have a serious impact on our industry,” he said.  The organisation bemoaned that there had been no consultation with the stakeholders prior to Joburg announcing its decision.  Maphalaphathwa disputed that the companies poorly paid guards, saying that this would be difficult to get away with as the industry was heavily regulated.  City spokesperson Luyanda Mfeka said the metro was not willing to respond to an organisation that did it not have any relations with.  But he said Joburg was determined to proceed with its plans and would individually consult the affected security companies.

This more of this report by Sihle Manda at SA Labour News


Parliament's women's caucus to host sex work summit on 5 March

News24 reports that Parliament's Multi-Party Women's Caucus (MPWC) said last week that it planned to host a summit on sex work in light of the ANC's resolution to have the practice decriminalised.  The summit will be hosted on 5 March in Parliament and it will hear views from stakeholders on the South African Law Reform Commission's (SALRC) report on adult prostitution, which was released in May 2017.  Sex work is currently a criminal offence in SA and the country has some of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world – particularly in the sex work industry.  Following the release of the SALRC report, which indicated a preferred option of retaining a totally criminalised legal framework, the MPWC said the full decriminalisation of sex work was the only way to protect the rights of sex workers and address the country's HIV/Aids crisis.  At the time, caucus chairperson Masefele Morutoa said the authors of the SALRC report were oblivious to the fact that legalising sex work would allow sex workers to access the criminal justice system.  "This has been pivotal to the calls made by many sex workers calling for full decriminalisation," she pointed out.  In a statement on Thursday, Morutoa said the caucus had received "huge" interest from the public who wished to comment on the matter.

Read this report by Jeanette Chabalala in full at News24. Read the MPWC’s press statement at Parliament online


Parents laud Reiger Park High sex scandal principal

The Star reports that the Reiger Park Secondary School ex-principal whose videos and pictures of himself having sex with pupils and staff went viral has been described as a “nobleman” and a “pillar in the community”.  The former principal is still a free man, because none of the victims have laid a complaint with the police.  Instead, a parent with a child at the school, as well as a former pupil, had nothing but praise for the principal on Monday.  The parent said the principal did not force anyone into sex and that he was someone who instilled morals and values in pupils.  “With (regard to) the sex incidents, he did not force anyone to do anything.  It was all consensual and it is just a pity that all of this took place on the school’s premises,” said the mother of a Grade 8 pupil.  Boksburg police station spokesperson Nomsa Sekele said they would only be able to assist if a case number was supplied.  The police previously said no complaint had been lodged against the principal.  Gauteng Education Department spokesperson Steve Mabona on Monday reiterated that the principal had resigned and that an investigation was under way.

Read this report by Siphumelele Khumalo in full at The Star


Metrorail’s Cape Town central line service to be restored by next week

EWN reports that the Metrorail central line in Cape Town, which has been out of operation for five weeks, will be up and running by next week.  The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) has reiterated that safety and security plans are being beefed up.  Technology will be brought on track to help combat rail crime.  Prasa executive Cromet Molepo indicated:  “We’ll have armoured vehicles which will protect the area 24/7.  We will also have drones at night.  To thieves we say, ‘Your days are numbered.’”

This short report by Regan Thaw is at EWN

Activists tell MPs that Prasa employees are threatening them to keep quiet about commuter services

ANA reports that activist group #UniteBehind on Tuesday told MPs its members were being intimidated and threatened by Passenger Rail Services of SA (Prasa) employees to keep quiet about the state of commuter rail services in the country.  "Prasa security is going to houses and speaking to their [members'] families and say we need to stop speaking about Prasa or raise any issues about Prasa," #UniteBehind's Zukiswa Vuka told a meeting of Parliament's portfolio committee on transport which was interrogating the failing state of passenger rail services in urban SA.  MPs were left flabbergasted and told civil society groups that they would be protected.  Deputy Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said she was concerned about Vuka's claims and challenged her to name those guilty of intimidation.

Read this report by Chantall Presence in full at IOL News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • MyCiTi commuters to bear brunt of attacks on bus stations, at News24


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page