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
Thursday, 15 February 2018.


GAUTENG TRAFFIC OFFICER DEATHS

EMPD cop shot and killed on Wednesday in petrol station robbery

News24 reports that according to the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD), a 50 year-old metro police constable was shot and killed during a business robbery on Wednesday.  Ekurhuleni East Cluster spokesperson Captain Thivhulawi Tshilate indicated that the police were investigating a business robbery and murder case.  Two vehicles arrived at the Engen garage in Selcourt, pretending to fill up with petrol and an armed robbery ensued.  While the robbery was on progress, an EMPD motor vehicle entered the garage with two members.  The suspects started shooting at the EMPD members and the driver sustained multiple gunshots and was later certified dead on the scene.  His female colleague escaped unharmed.  The firearm of the EMPD member was also taken.  An estimated eight suspects sped off in two motor vehicles.

Read this report by Amanda Khoza in full at News24

Reward of R100,000 for information on killers of JMPD cop

The Star reports that the City of Johannesburg is offering a R100,000 reward to anyone with substantive information regarding the deadly shooting of an a Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officer.  He intervened when a taxi driver was being hijacked on Tuesday morning.  Mayor Herman Mashaba said:  “Ensuring the safety of our officials, and especially our JMPD officers, is my number one priority.  In the pursuit of keeping the residents of Johannesburg safe, I must first and foremost ensure my law enforcement officials are safe when conducting their work.  This is why we are offering this reward, and by doing so, I hope someone will come forward with information which will lead to the arrest of the suspect(s).”  Mashaba noted with sadness and anger that the attack followed just a week after an EMS ambulance was assaulted with a brick while tending to a maternity emergency and two weeks after two officers died when a drunk driver drove into them while they were on duty at a roadblock.  Two other officers were injured in that crash.

Read this report by Sibongile Mashaba in full at The Star. See too, Memorial service on Thursday for JMPD officer who was shot during hijacking, at Timeslive

Concern over Gauteng traffic officers killed or hurt in line of duty

The New Age reports that there is growing concern about the number of traffic officers who have been killed or injured in the line of duty in Gauteng.  On Wednesday, Constable Fanyana Makhubu of the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) was the latest traffic officer to be killed in Gauteng, bringing the number of officers killed in the province to five in just two weeks.  Three of those killed were members of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD), one was from the Tshwane Metro Police Department and the fifth from the EMPD.  Another seven were injured in the line of duty.  The SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) and Gauteng MEC for community safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, expressed shock and disgust at the senseless killing of Makhubu.  They said they were concerned by the recent spike in deaths.  Samwu noted that in the last six months 11 metro police officers have died in the line of duty in Gauteng.  "We believe that the killings have now reached proportions which warrant necessary action to ensure the safety of law enforcement officers,” Samwu’s national spokesperson Papikie Mohale said.  He called for the amendment of Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act which puts certain restrictions and limitations on how law enforcement officers may use their firearms.

Read this report by Ntombi Nkosi in full at HTSyndication (The New Age). See too, Third JMPD cop killed in three weeks, at The Citizen. Read Samwu’s press statement at Samwu online


MINING LABOUR

Solidarity calls for revised Mining Charter to be set aside

Mining Weekly reports that trade Union Solidarity on Wednesday disclosed the contents of documents it has submitted as part of a court case to have the third iteration of the Mining Charter set aside.  Speaking at a media briefing, Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) head Connie Mulder said the union would act as a friend of the court in support of the Chamber of Mines’ (CoM’s) court application to have the Charter set aside.  The revised Mining Charter was introduced by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane in June 2017 and has been strongly criticised by the mining industry.  The CoM has applied for a judicial review of the document.  “The Charter contains several clauses that raise concerns, such as the clause regarding prospecting rights, which stipulates that companies need to be 51% black-owned.  This would hinder the industry and foreign investment into the country,” Mulder said.  He added that mines were long-term investments and it could take up to 17 years for them to become profitable.  “If you want to scare off foreign investors this is a good way to do it.  There are not a lot of people who are willing to start a company where they do not have a lot of control over their own capital,” he stated.

Read this report in full at Mining Weekly. Read Solidarity’s press statement in this regard at Solidarity online. See too, Ramaphosa could scrap latest Mining Charter, says Solidarity, at Fin24. And also, Mining Charter ‘will result in a cost burden’, says Solidarity, at SA Labour News


MARIKANA MASSACRE

Remembering Marikana victims‚ Amnesty International wants post-Zuma era to bring greater justice

Timeslive reports that rights group Amnesty International has called on the new South African administration to demonstrate greater respect for justice.  “During Jacob Zuma’s presidency South Africa was blighted by serious human rights violations.  His successor must do everything within his or her power to ensure that the state redresses this as a priority‚” said Shenilla Mohamed‚ executive director of Amnesty SA.  Mohamed went on to note:  “Under Jacob Zuma’s leadership‚ we’ve seen a failure to ensure access to justice for victims of a range of human rights violations.  For example‚ almost six years after 34 striking mineworkers in Marikana were killed by police‚ there has been no justice for victims or their families.”  She also pointed out that journalists who stood up for editorial integrity at the SA Broadcasting Corporation were harassed and intimidated.  Zuma announced his resignation on Wednesday during a televised address.  Mohamed said she hoped that was the end of an era.

Read this report in full at Timeslive


FARMING LABOUR

Job growth booms in Western Cape despite drought

Timeslive reports that according to Western Cape economic opportunities MEC Alan Winde, the province is top of the employment charts.  He has pointed out that the province created the most jobs (92‚000) in the last quarter; recorded the highest year-on-year increase (106‚000) in jobs; and has the country’s lowest unemployment rate‚ at 19.5% (2.4 percentage points lower than the previous quarter).  Winde also noted that the finance sector delivered quarterly job growth of 8.3%‚ representing 35,000 jobs‚ and community and social services recorded double-digit growth of 10.2%.  Agriculture delivered quarter-on-quarter growth due to the start of harvesting season‚ but the drought had caused an annual decline of 23%‚ or 57‚000 jobs.  “We expect that this impact will worsen in the first half of this year‚ as a number of agricultural communities have now depleted their water allocations in entirety‚” Winde stated.  He added:  “We are likely to see the full impact in the months to follow.  The Western Cape government‚ working with other government spheres‚ is doing its utmost to mitigate job losses in this sector.”

Read this short report in full at Timeslive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Avian flu leads to poultry industry losses of R954m, at Fin24


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Sadtu teachers strike in Eldorado Park, parents step-in to look after learners

Sowetan reports that some parents in Eldorado Park were forced to step up to the chalk board on Wednesday after the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) withdrew its members from 29 schools in the area.  In some areas learning was totally disrupted as Sadtu boycotted classes, citing safety issues.  At Eldorado Park Secondary School, 11 teachers did not pitch up for work and parents decided to help supervise the pupils in class.  At Silver Oak Secondary School, 11 teachers also did not report for duty.  Sadtu branch member Desmond Luvhengo said they withdrew their members because of safety issues.  He indicated:  “Especially at Freedom Park Secondary School where there are allegations that the principal is abusing teachers.  There are also unresolved issues of schools selling reports to pupils who have failed, and a teacher who has been rehired after he was dismissed for sexual offences.”  Gauteng education department spokesman Steve Mabona said the department was concerned that teachers were out in the street instead of focusing on teaching.  “We always encourage the union to engage the department first before leaving pupils unattended,” he indicated.

This more of this report by Yoliswa Sobuwa at SA Labour News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Wildcat bus drivers’ strike hampers Gautrain service on Thursday, at Timeslive


LABOUR AND POLITICS

Labour federation Saftu welcomes Zuma's resignation

News24 reports that the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) on Thursday morning welcomed the resignation of former President Jacob Zuma, saying it was long overdue.  Zuma resigned late on Wednesday night.  General secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said in a statement:  "Zuma betrayed the working class of this country.  He conned many into believing that he had the working class' interests in his heart, but he proved through his actions that he is the most self-centred and self-serving leader only concerned about his self-preservation."  Vavi added that, despite Zuma's exit, the realities faced by the working class remained, with Zuma leaving office with the country's unemployment rate at 26.7%.  "This alone underlined the correctness of the Saftu position that we have an ANC problem and not necessarily a Zuma problem per se.  Zuma is a creation of the ANC, not the other way around," Vavi opined.

Read this report Iavan Pijoos in full at News24. Read Saftu’s press statement in this regard at Saftu online

South Africans will not fight one another following Jacob Zuma’s resignation, says Cosatu

BusinessLive reports that trade union federation Cosatu dismissed President Jacob Zuma’s assertion on Wednesday that violence would break out among ANC members if he resigned from office.  The labour federation’s general secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali, said that the threats mentioned by Zuma in an interview with the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) would not materialise.  "South Africans are wiser now than yesterday, they will not fight for somebody to be in a chair, they are not benefiting because of one person being a president," he stated.  Zuma told the SABC (prior to his later resignation on Wednesday) that he was worried about a possible outbreak of violence, and that he wanted to "arrest the situation" by extending his stay in office.  Ntshalintshali also added that the ANC and the country were already beyond the stage of Zuma’s resignation.

A short report by Theto Mahlakoana is at BusinessLive


ALLEGED MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION / CORRUPTION

Exclusive Books CEO ‘to defend his name’ amid disciplinary inquiry

BusinessLive reports that Exclusive Books CEO Benjamin Trisk says he plans to defend his "name and reputation", following his suspension by the board pending the outcome of a disciplinary inquiry.  Trisk said he was "astonished by the reasons advanced" in a suspension letter served on him, but he would not be drawn on what these reasons were.  According to Trisk, Exclusive Books was trading well "in a very difficult market".  Exclusive Books said chief financial officer Frank Boner would be acting CEO until the disciplinary process was concluded.  "Due to the confidential nature of the disciplinary proceedings, Exclusive Books Group is not able to share more information," the business indicated.  Exclusive Books is majority owned by Global Capital, an investment banking and private-equity firm operating in SA and Australia.  Mark Barnes, CEO of the Post Office, chairs the retailer’s three-member board.  On Monday, Business Day reported that legal counsel for Airports Company SA, Bongani Machobane, was found guilty in a disciplinary hearing of unnecessarily involving it in litigation with Exclusive Books, and withholding pertinent information on this from the board.  Trisk said that this issue was completely unrelated to his suspension.

Read this report by Hanna Ziady in full at BusinessLive (paywall access)

After a very long delay, NHLS starts suspended executives’ disciplinary hearing

BusinessLive reports that almost a year after the board of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) suspended its top executives for alleged corruption and maladministration, it has only just begun getting its teeth into the meat of the disciplinary action it brought against them.  CEO Joyce Mogale and chief financial officer Sikhumbuzo Zulu were suspended at the end of February 2017, following a forensic investigation ordered by the board after the National Health Education and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) alleged corruption and maladministration.  The board also suspended the NHLS’s head of internal audit, its supply chain manager and its facilities manager.  The latter two resigned in the face of their disciplinary charges.  NHLS board chairman Eric Buch said that after numerous technical and procedural delays, the disciplinary hearing for Mogale and Zulu had got under way in earnest on Tuesday.  Further dates for the hearing have been set for later in February and in March.  Buch declined to elaborate on the disciplinary charges brought against Mogale and Zulu, saying only that they were largely related to procurement irregularities.

Read this report by Tamar Kahn in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • How employees are rising up against state fraud, at BusinessLive
  • Two KZN traffic officers sentenced to six years for corruption, at The Citizen
  • Two police colonels in the dock in Durban, at The Mercury
  • Regional JMPD Commander suspended, at The Citizen


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT SERVICES

Prasa has no solutions to rail crisis in Cape Town, say MPs

GroundUp reports that Members of Parliament (MPs) expressed annoyance on Tuesday with the failure of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) to offer solutions to Cape Town’s rail crisis.  During a marathon hearing of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, MPs heard presentations by Prasa, the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR) and civil society coalition UniteBehind.  “Showing pictures of vandalism does not help us find a solution,” said Leonard Ramatlakane, acting chairperson of the committee.  Prasa’s presentation, by acting group CEO Cromet Molepo, addressed issues like the extent of vandalism, cable and equipment theft, and the status of accident investigations.  Short, medium and long-term plans to improve train security were also described.  These plans included the implementation of “security technology such as alarms, CCTV and night-vision drone technology”, concrete walls in “high-risk areas” and “vandal proofing of critical operating infrastructure”.  But Ramatlakane called the presentation “a cut and paste job”, and said that Prasa had not offered solutions.  The most pressing concern raised was the reopening of Metrorail’s Central Line in Cape Town, which has been closed since 9 January.  Prasa said Metrorail planned to get the Central Line re-opened by 21 February.  The committee was adjourned to next week, when the Prasa board has been told to present solutions and deadlines.

Read this report by Aidan Jones in full at GroundUp. Read too, Commuters put Prasa’s ‘atrocious’ train service under scrutiny at Parliament, at Daily Maverick

Bus and rail vandalism threatening to collapse public transport in Cape Town

ANA reports that Cape Town’s Brett Herron said on Wednesday that the latest statistics on vandalism of the city’s MyCiTi and Golden Arrow bus services and of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) Metrorail service indicated that public transport faced an onslaught.  Bus stations at Dunoon and Usasaza were damaged at the weekend when protesters attacked the infrastructure with bricks, stones, and burning tyres.  Herron, a member of the mayoral committee for transport and urban development, highlighted the following:  six Golden Arrow buses were set alight between March 2016 and September 2017 at a cost of over R12 million; a further R529,000 was spent on replacing shattered bus windows; the cost of damage to MyCiTi stations due to vandalism and protest action from July 2014 to September 2017 amounted to nearly R4 million; Metrorail reported 668 incidents of vandalism and other attacks on its rolling stock in the Western Cape in the 2016/17 financial year; and the cost to repair vandalised traffic signals across Cape Town, as well as the cost of replacing stolen road infrastructure was about R6,6 million for the period from July 2015 to September 2017.  Herron warned that vandalism could collapse the public transport system.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Call for trains on Cape Town’s central line to operate, at HTSyndication (The New Age)
  • Hammanskraal taxi drivers must take complaints over salary cuts to associations, at Pretoria News

 


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