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, 8 March 2018.


Prasa condemns attack on Wednesday at Pretoria station on staff, train by angry mob

ANA reports that Metrorail Gauteng has condemned an attack on four staff members at Pretoria Station on Wednesday evening.  A train driver, train guard, security guard and a customer service official were attacked by a group of angry train commuters who also stoned the windscreens of trains servicing the Mamelodi Corridor route.  “This is totally unacceptable and I want to assure both staff and commuters that the company has already started to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that those responsible are brought to book,” Metrorail Gauteng acting provincial manager Goodman Matampi said.  He added that Metrorail would not leave any stone unturned until the perpetrators were behind bars.  Metrorail said increasing attacks on its staff and trains were undermining efforts to improve its commuter rail service in Gauteng province.

A short report is at The Citizen

Endumeni mayor and his bodyguards attacked me‚ municipal worker claims

Timeslive reports that police are investigating a case of assault after a municipal employee claimed he was attacked by a KwaZulu-Natal mayor and his bodyguards.  Endumeni municipal worker Njabulo Magubane said he was walking home on Friday night when two cars stopped in front of him‚ three men got out and attacked him.  Magubane said he recognised the men as Endumeni mayor Siboniso Mbatha and his bodyguards.  He claims the attack was unprovoked and that he had not had any previous encounters with the mayor or his bodyguards.  A passer-by‚ Ndumiso Zwane‚ said he tried to intervene and when he got closer he realised the man was being assaulted by the mayor and his bodyguards.  He was prevented from recording the incident on his cellphone.  Mbatha has denied all accusations made by Magubane and Zwane‚ saying they were an "attempt to tarnish my political record and the good I do for the community”.  A police spokesman confirmed that a case of common assault was opened on Monday at the Dundee police station.

Read this report by Lwandile Bhengu in full at Timeslive

Three cop killers shot during raid in KwaMashu on Wednesday

Timeslive reports that three men – thought to be linked to the slaying of a policeman in KwaMaphumulo two weeks ago – were shot and killed during a tactical raid in KwaMashu on Wednesday night.  The raid came as the culmination of a Hawks and Crime Intelligence Unit probe into the murder.  Members of the elite National Intervention Unit stormed a property in the township.  The gang of men apparently opened fire on police‚ who had then fired back.  On 23 February‚ Captain Dumisani Mhlanzi‚ a policeman stationed at KwaMaphumulo‚ was shot and killed while he was off-duty‚ standing in a queue at a Spar supermarket.  It is understood that the gang of men had effected an armed robbery‚ and targeted the captain when they saw his state-issue firearm at his waist.  He was shot twice and died at the scene.

Read this report by Jeff Wicks in full at Timeslive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Eastern Cape police killing suspects appear in Ngcobo court to apply for bail, at The Citizen
  • Guns used to kill Ngcobo police members were stolen from cops‚ court told, at Timeslive


Mantashe to meet workers at troubled Gupta-owned Optimum mine on Thursday

ANA reports that newly-appointed Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe was due on Thursday to meet with workers at the troubled Optimum coal mine in Mpumalanga in a bid to resolve the impasse that arose after workers downed tools demanding salaries and answers about the future of the mine.  The Gupta-owned businesses, including Optimum coal mine, Koornfontein mines and Optimum Coal Terminal, have been placed under business rescue.  Optimum workers say the mine is in a state of disarray and that suppliers have not been paid.  Workers have also demanded answers from management about the future of the mine and the security of their jobs.  About 2 000 workers, who have not been paid any wages in February, marched to the company offices and then downed tools after management said it was not sure they would be paid.  Optimum has also been taken to court by Derko Mining and Exploration in an effort to have the mine liquidated.  The company owes service providers over R60 million.  The mine could also be shut down over its failure to operate a community water desalination plant.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Standard Bank disciplines employee for “acting out of mandate” in opening Gupta account

City Press reports that Standard Bank has instituted disciplinary proceedings against an employee who had offered to reopen bank accounts for Gupta companies currently under business rescue.  On Monday, the business rescue practitioners Louis Klopper and Kurt Knoop told creditors of smaller Gupta companies at a series of meetings that Standard Bank had agreed to open transactional accounts for all the companies.  However, on Tuesday, at far larger meetings for creditors of the Optimum Coal mine, the two had to backtrack.  “Standard Bank asked for more information,” said Knoop, who added that they were in negotiations with the bank.  Standard Bank had declined to confirm or deny anything on Monday, but on Tuesday said that the employee who had communicated with Knoop and Klopper “was acting out of mandate”.  Standard Bank said in a message that its decision to cut ties with the Gupta family in April 2016 “still stands and has not been reviewed”.

Read this report by Dewald van Rensburg in full at City Press

Informal gold miner shot dead, eight others arrested at Benoni mine

GroundUp reports that an informal gold miner was shot dead on Saturday and eight others were arrested by security guards at a mine in Benoni.  The arrested, who are between the ages of 19 and 36, appeared in the Benoni Magistrate Court on Monday and Tuesday charged with illegal possession of gold.  One of the accused was released on bail and the other seven were remanded in custody until 27 March.  The group of informal gold miners (known as gwejas) had been operating near Modderbee prison in Benoni for two months, but on Saturday they were confronted by armed mine security guards.  One of the miners who escaped that night alleged that mine security had given them access to the mine in exchange for R500 from each of the group as well as some cellphones.  “We always pay some of the security guards to go in, but other thick headed ones tend to backstab us.  Because of greed, they tend to want the gold particles as well [as the bribe],” he claimed.  An informal miner who attended the court hearing in support of the arrested men, told GroundUp that they would carry on mining illegally.

Read this report by Kimberly Mutandiro in full at GroundUp


Jobs and profits drying up on Western Cape grape farms due to drought

GroundUp reports that Nico Greeff, a grape farmer in Vredendal who is also chairman of the Olifants River Table Grape Producers’ Association and a director of the SA Table Grape Board, says he will make no profit this season.  His farm is one of the suppliers for Namaqua Wines.  He has employed 30 fewer seasonal workers and, depending on rainfall this winter, may have to retrench permanent staff.  “We will produce 400 tons less grapes than the usual 1,000 tons this season.  All our grape varieties are down by 40%, our currants are down 70%, and together with the reduction in raisins this means a total loss of R5 million for the farm,” said Greeff.  According to the Western Cape Department of Agriculture grape farms are one of the biggest sources of agricultural employment in the Vredendal/Clanwilliam area.  But, Citrusdal, which lies 130 kilometres up the Olifants River and is a centre of citrus farming in the Western Cape, will apparently not be as hard hit by the drought as Vredendal.  Indications are that the provincial deciduous fruit harvest this summer would be 20% smaller.  Bianca Capazorio of the Western Cape’s Ministry of Economic Opportunities said the department was working to connect farm workers at risk of losing their jobs with the Department of Social Development, “to ensure that they are able to access social assistance.”  Conservation agriculture, which involves diversifying crops and planting crops that use less water, such as berries, cherries and pomegranates, has apparently been implemented at farms across the province, enabling farmers to achieve far greater yields with lower water usage.

Read this report by Aidan Jones in full at GroundUp


Nehawu strike at water and sanitation indefinite, department admits to budget depletion

The Citizen reports that the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said its strike at 53 workplaces across the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) would remain indefinite until all demands had been met.  “The strike commenced this morning (Thursday) at 8.  The workplaces consist of offices and dams, where our members are located.  Yes, it is a bitter pill to swallow for water users and the public.  But it is better to do it now, as the department may have no money left if we keep quiet,” said Khaya Xaba, the union’s spokesperson.  Xaba reiterated that they were striking for better working conditions, cleaner offices, safe accommodation and also wanted to register their unhappiness about the department’s decision to outsource services.  “The department is outsourcing the building of dams to contractors though it has in-house contractors and a directorate responsible for those services.  Our members are left idling even though they have the manpower,” Xaba claimed.  Nehawu said it was also extremely concerned that the department had overspent its R14-billion budget.  The DWS confirmed that there was over-expenditure, “but we don’t know the amount.”

Read this report by Gosebo Mathope in full at The Citizen

With talks on verge of collapse, DUT wage strike may resume

The Mercury reports that resumed wage negotiations between the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and unions are on the verge of collapse and the strike may resume.  Three unions led by the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) were locked in a briefing with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and then with other union leaders on Wednesday.  Mike Mbatha, Nehawu leader at DUT, said there was a real possibility that the strike might resume on Thursday after they had briefed their members on the outcome of the negotiations.  “We are going to have a mass meeting and brief the members (Thursday).  The truth of the matter is that we are coming back with nothing from these negotiations,” Mbatha said.  He added that there were still many other sticking points, including a compromise on how the management would implement the “no work, no pay policy”.  Negotiations over the strike, which lasted more than five weeks, only resumed after the intervention of the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Buti Manamela.  The academic programme resumed this week.

Read this report by Thami Magubane in full at The Mercury


Two former drivers deny burning Tshwane bus in 2016, killing co-striker

The Citizen reports that two former Tshwane bus drivers who were seen on video footage entering and exiting an A Re Yeng bus seconds before it was set alight told the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday that it was a mere coincidence they were on the bus that day.  Alphios Mohlabane and Solomon Choma denied they had anything to do with the incident in October 2016 when the bus was burnt, killing one of the alleged arsonists and seriously injuring a female passenger.  Sam Matebane, CEO of TRT Bus Service which was contracted by the city, testified that Mohlabane and Choma were part of a group of 99 bus drivers who were fired in August 2016 after taking part in an illegal strike.  He said security was beefed up after some of the former bus drivers tried to attack him and threatened that if they were not going to drive the buses, no one would.  Mohlabane and Choma pleaded not guilty to charges of the murder of former bus driver Daisy Makeke and attempted murder of passenger Sebola Kgaugelo, as well as to charges of destroying essential infrastructure, public violence and the possession of petrol bombs.  Judge Bert Bam on Wednesday acquitted two other former bus drivers on all of the charges because of a lack of evidence.

Read this report by Ilse de Lange in full at The Citizen


Ngubane: Eskom's problems started when Brian Molefe left

EWN reports that former Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane on Wednesday gave the parliamentary Eskom inquiry a glowing account of former chief executive Brian Molefe.  He told Members of Parliament (MPs) that the country should thank Molefe for staving off load shedding and getting investors to buy Eskom bonds again.   He only had praise for Molefe, saying:  “Problems started when Molefe left.  I think that’s when the dissonance started to appear.”  This despite Molefe having been fingered in the Public Protector’s report on state capture and notwithstanding the controversy around his R30 million pension.  Ngubane irked MPs by refusing to answer questions on state capture, which he said were “rubbish”.

Read this report by Lindsay Dentlinger in full at EWN. Read too, Former Eskom chair Ngubane riles inquiry, at The Citizen


Staffer at Cape Town high school suspended over sex videos with ‘dozens of pupils'

Timeslive reports that a staff member at a Cape Town high school has been suspended over allegations that he filmed himself having sex with dozens of pupils.  Images of the man with girls - some in school uniform and in suggestive poses - have emerged on social media‚ with the children’s faces concealed.  A spokesperson for the Western Cape education department confirmed they was aware of a sexual misconduct allegation against the staff member and that its labour relations directorate was investigating.  Apparently the 52-year-old man‚ who cannot be identified‚ was suspended on Wednesday from his post at the Grassy Park school.  A police spokesman said there was “no record of sexual assault cases” at the school, however‚ police have apparently been informed and an investigation is pending.  The man has worked for the school for several years.  A Twitter user recently posted images of the man with schoolgirls‚ which were found on a flash drive.

Read this report by Nashira Davids and Jeff Wicks in full at Timeslive. Read too, Cape Town schoolgirls in 'sex videos' urged to speak to police, at Timeslive

Mayflower principal accused of raping three school boys

Timeslive reports that a 53-year-old principal from Mayflower near Dundonald has appeared in the local magistrate's court for allegedly raping three of his male pupils.  The principal was in court on Wednesday‚ said Brigadier Leonard Hlathi of the Mpumalanga police.  His alleged victims are aged between 17 and 19.  The incidents are alleged to have happened between last year and earlier this month.  The principal's case has since been moved to the Eerstehoek Magistrate's Court‚ where he was expected to appear on Thursday for a formal bail application.

This short report by Naledi Shange is at Timeslive


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page