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, 6 March 2018.


Standard Bank allows Gupta business rescue practitioner to open account under strict conditions

BusinessLive reports that Standard Bank has agreed to open bank accounts for business rescue practitioners controlling seven Gupta companies.  Standard Bank was among SA’s top four banks that closed Gupta-family accounts and accounts for persons linked to the family‚ in 2016, after money-laundering allegations.  The family has had to make do with facilities at the Bank of Baroda, which has been trying desperately to rid itself of the Gupta family’s business.  Business rescue practitioner Louis Klopper confirmed that Standard Bank had agreed to open a new account‚ with strict conditions limiting access only to Klopper and his partner practitioner‚ Kurt Knoop.  Klopper said this had been a crucial stumbling block to getting the Gupta companies‚ particularly the four mines owned by the family‚ back up and running.  On 16 February the directors of Gupta-owned Tegeta filed for business rescue‚ placing Optimum‚ Koornfontein and Brakfontein coal mines in Mpumalanga, as well as Shiva Uranium in the North West, under Klopper’s control.  The mines employ roughly 3‚000 people‚ most of whom went on strike when salaries were not paid on 25 February.  The permanent staff‚ about 1‚500 people‚ were paid last week.

Read this report by Kyle Cowan in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Standard Bank takes Gupta companies back, at City Press

Tight security at Brits court ahead of appearance of ex-Amcu members

ANA reports that security was tight at the Brits Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday ahead of the appearance of former members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).  Six jailed former members of Amcu accused of conspiracy to murder and attempted murder of union leaders were expected to apply for bail.  Lungisa Madiba, Juke Mjakane, Sthembe Jakane, Xolile Madikane, Mthethelethu Mtshukuka and Zamelekhaya Mboxela were arrested on 10 February in Marikana, Mooinooi and Idutywa in the Eastern Cape and have been jointly charged with taxi driver Simphiwe Silwane.  Several Amcu members were murdered in September last year.  Nine people, most of them union members, were killed and two had near death experiences.  In addition, in Mooinooi, a case of attempted murder was reported, and three men, two of whom have been released on bail, have been charged.  The three allegedly shot Malibongwe Mdazo, the Amcu branch chairperson in Mooinooi, on 22 July in an attempt to kill him.

Read this report in full at The Citizen. See too, Former Amcu members in court for conspiracy to kill union leaders, at The Citizen


Fawu and Saftu march to Sars on Tuesday against illicit trading

The Citizen reports that members of the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) and the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) marched to the offices of the SA Revenue Service (Sars) in Tshwane on Tuesday to demand that government take decisive action against illicit trade.  They said illicit trading cost the country billions of rands and resulted in job losses.  Union members from the liquor, beverages, textile and tobacco industries downed tools to stage their protest action.  Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola said the impact illicit trading had on these industries was not only job losses and the loss of revenue to the fiscus, but also “the risk health exposure to illicitly traded goods”.  He went on to say:  “We are targeting sectors such as tobacco and cigarette manufacturing, alcohol beverages, the soft drinks, as well as the fishing and the sugar.”  The unions decided to march to Sars because they wanted illicit traders to pay taxes and be brought to book.  Masemola added that the unions did not think the sugar tax and liquor bill should be signed into law.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Two former Jozi@Work contract workers arrested after being linked to violent protests

Timeslive reports that two former Jozi@Work employees have been arrested for allegedly soliciting a bribe and will appear in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on charges of causing malicious damage to property and intimidation.  “It is alleged that the two suspects are behind the Jozi@Work protests which have taken place over the past few weeks‚” said Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba.  The two are said to have attempted to solicit a bribe of R6‚000 from their former supervisor in order to stop violent protests in the city and to prevent damage to infrastructure around Berea and Joubert Park.  Jozi@Work was introduced by the ANC administration to link young people with job opportunities through partnerships with the private sector.  But when Mashaba took over in 2016‚ he ended the initiative‚ arguing that it was benefiting the middle man.

Read this report by Nomahlubi Jordaan in full at Timeslive


Listeriosis outbreak will not lead to job losses for now, says agricultural analysts

Fin24 reports that Dawie Maree, head of marketing and information at FNB Business Agriculture, said on Monday that the outbreak and subsequent spreading of listeriosis contamination from certain meat processing plants in SA would likely not lead to job losses in the short term.  "At a manufacturing plant most of the jobs are probably permanent and the company should have business contingency plans.  In the short term, workers might not go to work, but will probably still receive pay.  Companies usually also have insurance for this kind of outbreak," he indicated.  Maree went on to say that he did not think that factories would close altogether.  “They will probably sterilise the processing facility, keep it under observation, slowly start production again and monitor it."  On the other hand, the huge recall of different products would likely have an impact on the profits of the specific companies involved, but the impact would not be negative in the long term.  As most of these companies were reputable, “they will win the consumers' trust back.”  Wessel Lemmer, senior agricultural economist at Absa, said that if locating the sources of infection was successful and it was dealt with efficiently, the impact on the food industry should be limited.

Read this report by Carin Smith in full at Fin24. See too, Enterprise factory workers sent home amid listeriosis fallout, at News24


Eskom to reduce staff headcount by 4.2%, but retrenchments not on table

Business Report writes that Eskom intends to reduce its employee headcount by 4.2% to 31,675 for 2018/19, but on Monday said that retrenchments were not on the table.  The cash-strapped state-owned power utility is under pressure to reduce its costs amid falling electricity demand and claims that it is overstaffed.  Eskom’s handling of employee costs often comes up when the utility applies for tariff increases.  Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe confirmed on Monday that the utility wanted to reduce costs, but ruled out retrenchments, saying “That is not on the cards at all.”  He was responding to an earlier report that Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza had said Eskom would appoint a permanent chief executive by the end of next month to begin the process of reforming the ailing utility, which might include reducing job numbers.  National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Energy Sector Co-ordinator, Paris Mashego, said on Monday that the union, which he indicated had 17,000 members at Eskom, expected to be fully consulted before any decisions were taken about cutting employee numbers.  “Eskom’s problem is poor leadership and financial mismanagement.  They must fix that first before rushing to cut jobs,” said Mashego.

Read this report by Siseko Njobeni in full at Business Report. See too, Eskom ‘needs to shed staff’, at The New Age


Eskom pays back controversial R5bn GEPF/PIC loan with R30m interest

BusinessLive reports that Eskom has repaid the R5bn loan facility advanced to it in February by the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) via the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), apparently with R30m interest.  The funds reflected in their bank accounts on 1 March, the two organisations said on Monday.  The PIC, which manages assets on behalf of the GEPF, agreed in February to advance the bridging facility to Eskom for one month and the loan was used to fund February operations.  The Public Service Association (PSA) was angered by the PIC’s decision to loan money to the power utility, saying Eskom was in the red as a result of corrupt activities.  The PIC’s CEO, Dan Matjila, was later forced to apologise for entering into the loan agreement with Eskom without having consulted unions that represent workers whose pensions are invested by the asset manager.  The PSA has welcomed the repayment.  Last week, Eskom announced it had signed a R20bn short-term credit facility with a consortium of local and international banks.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive


Suspended employee still waiting to hear from Topbet

EWN reports that a suspended Topbet employee has yet to hear from her employer since she and her colleagues spoke out about being violated at the company’s Germiston branch.  Eyewitness News on Monday revealed how a group of 20 female staff were strip-searched by a manager who wanted to identify a person accused of leaving menstrual blood in the communal toilets.  Following backlash, the gambling company has now sacked the branch manager responsible for initiating the search.  While Topbet has confirmed a decision to suspend one of the women who accused the manager of violating her, the company has insisted that she was not being punished for blowing the whistle on the abuse.  In a statement, management expressed gratitude to the complainant for bringing it to their attention.  The company added that the suspension was only temporary, but gave no indication of when she would be able to return to work.  However, the employee has not heard from Topbet since her suspension last month.

A short report by Kgomotso Modise is at EWN. Read too, Topbet employees recall strip search ordeal at work, at SowetanLive


Nine Fisheries Department officials among suspects due in court for abalone poaching

EWN reports that nine Fisheries Department officials will join seven other suspects in the dock at a Hermanus court on Tuesday.  Seventeen suspects were rounded up by the Hawks in an abalone bust on Monday.  They are thought to be part of a syndicate involved in the illegal poaching and trade of abalone.  The crime fighting unit's Philani Nkwalase indicated:  “The operation is ongoing, and the possibility of more arrests cannot be ruled out.”

This short report by Shamiela Fisher is at EWN

DA challenges KZN Premier Mchunu to start with himself when doing lifestyle audits

ANA reports that the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) on Tuesday challenged Premier Willies Mchunu to lead by example and start with himself when conducting lifestyle audits in the province.  The lifestyle audits were announced last week in Pietermaritzburg during the premier’s state of the province address when he said the KZN government would conduct audits of officials in high-risk positions in collaboration with the SA Revenue Services (SARS), starting with provincial supply-chain management units.  Francois Rodgers, leader of the DA in the KZN legislature, said the party had already committed its own caucus members to such an exercise, and called on Mchunu as well as members of his African National Congress caucus and all KZN legislature staff to follow suit.  But Mchunu said only supply-chain management staff and officials would be subject to scrutiny.  “This is simply not good enough in a province where there is wide-scale fraud and corruption. While the DA welcomes the premier’s initiative in the interests of trying to address this, all the signs are pointing to a probe which is likely to be subjective rather than objective,” Rodgers said.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • KZN nurse in court for alleged theft of medical supplies, at News24


South Africans more worried about having their smartphones stolen than being fired

Times Select reports that on Monday online payment platform PayPal released a report showing that more than half of all South Africans with smartphones were using their devices as their preferred method of transacting.  According to the report, the majority of South Africans would rather leave their home without their wallet than leave their home without their mobile device, and three of the top seven most used mobile apps were related to eCommerce.  The survey quizzed participants on a number of stressful scenarios and found that 60% of South Africans ranked losing their phone or having it stolen as a scenario that would cause them the most anxiety and worry.  It tied with a home invasion for the highest response, and more South Africans are worried about having their phone stolen than getting fired from their job.  PayPal’s Efi Dahan said they were expecting online sales in SA to reach R53-billion in 2018, up from R37-billion just two years ago.  

Read this report by Farren Collins in full at Times Select (registration required)


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page