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 roundup of weekend news, see summaries of our
selection of South African labour-related stories
that appeared since Friday, 16 February 2018.


Jobs summit to be held, youth employment service to be launched, Ramaphosa says in Sona

BusinessLive reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his state of the nation address (Sona) on Friday that a jobs summit would be held within the next few months to harness the energies of business, labour and government behind a major job creation initiative.  The summit would look at what is needed to ensure that the economy grows and becomes more productive, and to ensure greater investment.  Ramaphosa emphasised in his speech that the most grave and pressing challenge facing the country was youth unemployment.  Youth would be moved to the centre of the government's economic agenda and in March, a youth employment service would be launched, which would place unemployed youth in paid internships in companies.  "Together with our partners in business we have agreed to create 1-million such internships in the next three years," Ramaphosa indicated. A youth working group would be established to represent the youth and ensure that policies and programmes represented their interests.  Ramaphosa also said agriculture presented one of the greatest opportunities to significantly grow the economy and create jobs.  The decline in the manufacturing sector would have to be addressed, with the aim of achieving a reindustrialisation "on a scale and a pace that draws millions of job seekers into the economy.

Read this informative report by Linda Ensor and Khulekani Magubane in full at BusinessLive. See too, Jobs summit announced as Ramaphosa delivers message of ‘hope and renewal’, at Engineering News

National Health Insurance will finally see light of day, Ramaphosa promises in Sona

BusinessLive reports that, reaffirming the government’s commitment to universal healthcare, President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated in his state of the nation address (Sona) on Friday that the long-awaited National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill would be submitted to Parliament within the next few weeks.  NHI is a set of health financing reforms that will aim at providing everyone with healthcare services that are free at the point of delivery.  The government began piloting NHI in 2011, but has yet to drive through any significant reforms to breathe the policy into life.  “The time has now arrived to finally implement universal health coverage through NHI,” Ramaphosa said, adding that key NHI projects targeting society’s most vulnerable people would begin in April.  He also announced that the government would launch a major cancer campaign within the next three months and emphasised its commitment to combating SA’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, promising to provide treatment to another two-million people by 2020.

Read this report by Tamar Kahn in full at BusinessLive

Saftu sees both pros and cons in Ramaphosa's Sona

ANA reports that the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) said on Sunday that certain aspects of President Cyril Ramaphosa's state-of-the-nation address (Sona) were to be welcomed, but the rest was mainly "business as usual".  "We welcome his commitment to decisively deal with corruption, inefficiencies, and the backward culture of the government, which is not geared towards servicing the people," Saftu said in a statement.  In particular, Saftu was very pleased by certain steps announced by Ramaphosa relating to compliance with decisions of the Constitutional Court and lower courts – said to be an essential part of the hard won constitutional order that would help fight against a predatory state.  But the federation was not pleased at all about the economic programme Ramaphosa articulated.  "In fact the Sona represents the old wine in new bottles.  It’s the old neoliberal programme that has spectacularly failed to deliver a better life for all for 24 years now," Saftu stated.

Read this report in full at eNCA. Read Saftu’s press statement at Saftu online

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Government will start phasing in free higher education in 2018, Ramaphosa says in Sona, at BusinessLive


Fourth Joburg metro cop killed in less than a month

Timeslive reports that another Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officer has been killed – the fourth in less than a month.  The officer was gunned down while confronting three armed robbers In Ivory Park on Friday night.  MMC for public safety, Michael Sun, said on Saturday that the 47-year old part-time traffic warden‚ who was off-duty and dressed in civilian clothing‚ was shot dead after witnessing an armed robbery near Busy Corner in Ivory Park.  “When he tried to intervene‚ the three armed robbers opened fire on him‚ shooting him in the arm and chest.  He sadly passed away on the scene,” Sun said.  No arrests have been made.  Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba expressed his anger and dismay about the incident.  He has asked Chief of JMPD, David Tembe, to set up a task team consisting of all JMPD Directors and to call an urgent meeting with the SAPS “to find a solution to the crisis the Department is currently facing.”

Read this report in full at Timeslive

Another Gauteng metro police officer killed

ANA reports that another Gauteng metro police officer has been killed, this time in the City of Tshwane.  The Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) said the officer was shot dead in his home on Saturday morning.  The 29-year-old constable was found by a colleague in a pool of blood with a bullet wound at his flat in the Hercules area in Pretoria after he did not report for on Saturday.  Police have opened an inquest docket, while the possibility that no foul play was involved is being investigated.  This was the second TMPD officer to die this week as another constable was shot and killed during a business robbery earlier in the week.  At the same time, an off-duty Joburg Metro Police officer was shot dead when he tried to intervene in a business robbery, the fourth JMPD officer killed in less than a month.

This short report is at eNCA

Paramedics robbed in Port Elizabeth while attending to patient

News24 reports that two paramedics had their belongings stolen while attending to a patient in Port Elizabeth, an emergency services spokesperson said on Sunday.  EMS spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said that two paramedics were attending to an emergency on Hope Street in Central Port Elizabeth.  "They had attended a call out of a patient with a severe head pain.  They were treating the patient in the back of the ambulance when around eight men opened the front door of the ambulance.  One of the paramedics asked them what they were doing and they scattered in different directions."  Kupelo said the paramedics finished treating the patient and then realized a number of their belongings such as cell phones and other items were missing.  “It is unacceptable that this happens.  If it continues, we will have to wait for police escorts before we sent out paramedics.  And if we have to wait for police, who knows how long it would take to go out," Kupelo said

A short report by Kaveel Singh is at News24


Chamber of Mines postpones court fight against Mining Charter III to give negotiations a chance

BusinessLive reports that the Chamber of Mines of SA agreed on Sunday after talks with the new Presidency to suspend its court case to review the controversial third iteration of the Mining Charter.   New President Cyril Ramaphosa extended an olive branch to the Chamber during his maiden state of the nation address (Sona) on Friday to open talks around the Charter to end an impasse that has been in place between the industry body and Department of Mineral Resources since the Charter was gazetted in June 2017 and then suspended by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.  The Chamber’s court application was due to be heard in the High Court on 19 to 21 February.  The Chamber's CEO Roger Baxter has said the industry body would not withdraw its court case as long as the third version of the Charter was not withdrawn and scrapped by Zwane.  He has also said the Chamber would not engage in bilateral talks with Zwane.  The Presidency and the Chamber have approached the seven other applicants, as well as two amici curiae (the National Union of Mineworkers and Solidarity), to advise them of this development, and have encouraged them similarly to postpone their applications.

Read this report by Allan Seccombe in full at BusinessLive. And also, Mining Charter impasse will be resolved very soon, Ramahosa assures in Sona, at BusinessLive

Zwane fires Mpuma regional manager allegedly for trying to issue non-compliance notice to Gupta-linked mine

BusinessLive reports that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has dismissed its Mpumalanga regional manager, Aubrey Tshivhandekano, at the gates of the Koornfontein colliery, owned by the Gupta-linked Tegeta Resources, as he was about to issue the mine a notice for non-compliance with its mining rights.  National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said the union was furious at Tshivhandekano’s dismissal on Thursday for standing up for workers’ rights at the mine where salaries were either late or partially paid.  The letter of dismissal handed to Tshivhandekano by department officials was signed by the department’s director-general, Thabo Mokoena, on the instruction of Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, and was designed to stop the issuance of the notice, which could close the colliery, Mammburu said.  It is understood that Tshivhandekano had also recently visited the controversial Optimum colliery owned by Tegeta, where a similar notice was being prepared for non-compliance.  The DMR denied any suggestions of impropriety in Tshivhandekano’s dismissal, but did concede there were problems at the Koornfontein colliery.  “It is unfortunate that he has chosen to link his dismissal with an unrelated, and falsified matter,” the DMR said.  The NUM labelled Tshivhandekano’s dismissal as part of a process of harassment and efforts to remove "progressive" department officials who worked to improve employees’ conditions and "especially those dealing with Gupta companies for not adhering to the labour and mining laws of the country".

Read this report by Allan Seccombe in full at BusinessLive. Read too, NUM joins calls for Zwane’s head after DMR dismisses official, at Miningmx

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Guptas’ Optimum mine sucks Hendrina dry, at City Press


DUT classes suspended until further notice due to ongoing five-week staff strike

ANA reports that the Durban University of Technology (DUT) has suspended all academic programmes until further notice after an ongoing staff strike over wages reached its fifth week.  DUT’s executive committee of senate made the announcement on Friday.  The university will next week announce the revised 2018 academic calendar.  Although the academic programme has been suspended, the institution apparently remains operational.  The institution has urged staff and students to keep checking the DUT website, Pinboard and their emails for any official announcements and communiques.  The Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) said on Thursday that it had written an urgent letter to Higher Education and Training Minister, Hlengiwe Mkhize, asking her to intervene in the five-week wage negotiations impasse.

Read this report in full at The Citizen. Read Fedusa’s press statement in this regard at SA Labour News

DUT strike leaves students angry that lecturers haven’t started

Daily News reports that with a staff strike at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) raging for more than five weeks, students are angry that lectures have not started.  The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) are locked in a battle with DUT over salary increases and housing allowances.  On Wednesday, a group of about 60 students held a meeting on campus and expressed their frustrations.  A second-year industrial engineering student said he had to constantly travel from KwaDukuza by train to Durban to see if lectures had started.  “It makes me very angry.  At home they don’t understand why we haven’t started studying.  They are thinking I am coming to university to just waste money,” he said.  Snoxolo Mahlatshana of the SA Students Congress (Sasco) at DUT said the strike had caused a delay in the registration process.  Alan Khan, senior director of corporate affairs at DUT, said orientation sessions and a large number of programmes began on Tuesday.  “However, the strike is affecting a number of courses and in those programmes, where staff are still on strike, there were no lectures.  In these affected programmes, lectures can only commence once the staff return to work,” Khan indicated.

Read this report by Mphathi Nxumaloin full at Daily News


Isuzu makes debut in Port Elizabeth, taking over GM’s facilities and 1,000 employees

BusinessLive reports that Japan’s Isuzu Motors made its official debut in Port Elizabeth on Friday after taking over General Motors SA’s (GMSA) facilities around the country and 1,000 of its employees.  Trading as Isuzu Motors SA (IMSA) since the start of 2018‚ Isuzu stepped into the breach created by the exit of GMSA‚ which had been manufacturing and retailing Isuzu vehicles under licence up until the American car maker’s official departure from the country at the end of last year.  IMSA‚ which joins more than 140 fully Japanese-owned companies operating in SA‚ bought the balance of its shareholding in GMSA’s Isuzu operations and took over GMSA’s extensive facilities‚ simultaneously preventing a job-loss bloodbath by absorbing 1,000 former GMSA employees.  The president and representative director of Isuzu Motors of Japan‚ Masanori Katayama‚ said Isuzu was committed to expanding its business in SA.  IMSA CEO Michael Sacke said the company’s initial focus would be to consolidate its operations while laying the foundation for the company’s future success.  

Read this report by Shaun Gillham in full at BusinessLive


Solidarity calls for suspension of Denel top brass to prevent hundreds of possible job losses

ANA reports that trade union Solidarity has requested Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown to urgently suspend Denel’s top officials to prevent hundreds of possible job losses.  In the run-up to Denel’s board meeting on 22 February, at which the group’s management would be submitting its proposed restructuring plan, Solidarity sent an urgent letter to Brown.  Solidarity’s Deon Reyneke said on Sunday that Brown should suspend group CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe, group CFO Odwa Mhlwana, and board chairman Daniel Mantsha, pending a probe into various allegations of financial mismanagement against them.  It has been estimated that between 600 and 700 employers could lose their jobs should the restructuring go ahead.  Ntshepe, Mhlwana, and Mantsha face “various incriminating allegations, including allegations of misrepresentation of financial information and financial mismanagement leading to a loss of around R600 million.  Moreover, the board granted performance bonuses of more than R8 million to its executive committee, having earlier increased the number of its members at a cost of between R16 and R33 million,” Reyneke pointed out.  Criminal charges have already been laid against Ntshepe and Mhlwana after they had instructed, at the end of last year, that workers’ 13th cheques, which form part of their cost package, be withheld.

Read this report in full at The Citizen. Read too, Bankrupt Independent Development Trust (IDT) set to hire and fire to stay afloat, at City Press

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Lack of investment keep unemployment levels astoundingly high, at BusinessLive
  • Opinion: SA requires a paradigm shift to solve employment challenge, at BusinessLive


Cosatu calls for end to cadre deployment

BusinessLive reports that trade union federation Cosatu on Sunday welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s promise of a more efficient government, but said any cuts should be made to the bloated Cabinet and senior administrative jobs rather than frontline positions.  It also called for an end to the culture of cadre deployment, in which plum jobs were landed by political loyalists, saying it wanted to see senior government positions going to people who had proved themselves lower down the ranks.  Cosatu’s comments were days before the budget presentation on Wednesday.  During his state-of-the-nation address (Sona) on Friday, Ramaphosa signalled a leaner government was on the cards.  Cosatu spokesman Sizwe Pamla commented:  "It’s not frontline staff who are the problem.  It is higher-paid civil servants.  They should be tightening their belts.  We need more police on the streets, rather than generals sitting in offices."  The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) agreed with their federation.  Nehawu said understaffing posed a danger to service delivery and workers from collapsed departments should be integrated into existing departments.  Sadtu sounded a note of caution over the job security of rank-and-file public servants, saying austerity measures were already making it hard for frontline staff to do their jobs properly.

Read this report by Tamar Kahn in full at BusinessLive


SA history teacher named finalist for R12 million global teacher prize

ANA reports that a South African teacher, Marjorie Brown who teaches history at Roedean School, Johannesburg, was on Wednesday named a top 10 finalist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2018.  The prize, which is a one million dollar (almost R12 million) award for a super-special teacher, was announced by business leader and philanthropist Bill Gates.  Brown and the other finalists have been selected from over 30,000 nominations and applications from 173 countries around the world.  The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.  The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on Sunday 18 March 2018.

A short report is at Saturday Star. Read too, Teacher short-listed for prize is part of SA history, at The Citizen

'Sex-for-marks' scandal rocks Eastern Cape school

City Press reports that angry parents have shut down a school in the Eastern Cape in the wake of a scandal in which schoolgirls were extorted for sex in exchange for passing the year, and which has left one schoolgirl pregnant.  Six teachers at the Flagstaff Comprehensive High School in Esiginqini have been accused of demanding sex from schoolgirls.  Those who did not give in to their demands were failed.  The Eastern Cape education department confirmed that it was aware of the matter and that an investigation was under way.  A matric pupil told City Press that it was common knowledge that some of the teachers were having sex with their pupils.  Provincial education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said the preliminary investigation had found that, out of the six implicated teachers, at least two had had sex with pupils.  “Three pupils have been affected.  Of the three, one left the school after allegedly being impregnated by a teacher,” he indicated.  Mtima added that they were also “contemplating” suspending the implicated teachers so that they did not interfere with the investigation.  He said that the suspended principal was not implicated in the sex for marks scandal, but for manipulating the results.

Read this report by Lubabalo Ngcukana in full at News24


Gautrain station manager reinstated after dismissal over ‘assault’ of commuter

ANA reports that the United National Transport Union (Untu) on Sunday welcomed a recent Labour Court judgment ordering the immediate reinstatement by Bombela, the operator of the Gautrain, of a member with retrospective effect.  Back-pay totalling R191,354.52 also has to be paid to Clifford Morake .  Untu’s Steve Harris said it was no longer acceptable to fire employees if they defended themselves against commuters who misbehaved and physically and verbally abused them.  The court dismissed Bombela’s appeal against a CCMA ruling that Morake’s dismissal was procedurally and substantively unfair and replaced dismissal with a written final warning to be placed on Morake’s employment record.  Morake was on duty as station manager of the Gautrain Midrand Station on 13 October 2012 when he was called to assist with a difficult customer at the ticket office.  It was at that point that Morake had made physical contact with the commuter’s boyfriend by touching him on the shoulder, neck area and back, to remove him from the station.  The judge said the two commuters were clearly under the influence of alcohol, were vulgar, obstinate, abusive, and generally un-cooperative with Bombela’s staff present trying to help them or to contain the situation.

Read this report in full at The Citizen


Eskom’s Matshela Koko resigns with immediate effect

BusinessLive reports that Eskom’s chief generation officer, Matshela Koko‚ has resigned with immediate effect.  He was implicated in awarding contracts to a company linked to his stepdaughter‚ and was facing a new disciplinary inquiry on Friday.  Koko had returned to the power utility after being acquitted in an previous internal disciplinary hearing, which found him not guilty on all charges but which was widely seen as a “sham”.  Koko was later presented with an ultimatum to resign or be fired by the new board — which he flatly rejected.  The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomed Koko's "long overdue" resignation but said this did not absolve him from facing criminal charges and allegations brought against him.  In his letter to Eskom, Koko indicated that his resignation was done without any admission of wrongdoing.

Read this report in full at BusinessLive

Outa wants Koko to face the music notwithstanding his resignation from Eskom

Timeslive reports that the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has stated that the resignation of Eskom’s chief generation officer Matshela Koko was a “breath of fresh air”.  Koko tendered his resignation on Friday‚ marking the end of a controversial period for the embattled executive, who was accused of awarding tenders worth close to R1-billion to a company linked to his stepdaughter.  In a statement‚ Outa chief operating officer Ben Theron described Koko as a “technical delinquent”.  He went on to say:  “[He] is beyond redemption as he is unable to acknowledge his own mistakes.  This man should be held accountable and be prosecuted for lying to the parliamentary inquiry by claiming ignorance.  It is time for Koko to face the music and take accountability for his actions related to state capture and his misconduct within Eskom by failing to adhere to the code of ethics.”  Theron also called for the terms of Koko’s departure to be made public and said Outa would institute legal action if Koko was given a ‘golden handshake’.

Read this report by Timeslive. Read too, Eskom says Koko can be held accountable through other legal processes, at EWN


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page