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, 22 March 2018.


TOP STORY – NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

Implementation of minimum wage on 1 May in jeopardy, as MPs raise concerns about rushed process

EWN reports that the implementation of the national minimum wage on 1 May is in jeopardy, as MPs raise concerns over the process to introduce the necessary legislation being rushed.  Public hearings began at Parliament on Thursday, with an indication that the public input period might be extended, further jeopardising the deadline.  President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during his State of the Nation Address last month that the minimum hourly wage of R20 would come into effect in May, but the Democratic Alliance (DA) said this was undermining of a comprehensive and necessary parliamentary process.  Chairperson of Parliament’s Labour Committee, Sharome van Schalkwyk, said the final bill would not be ready to be introduced to the National Assembly before it goes on recess next week.  MPs will only return from their break in mid-April and the bill has to also be considered by the National Council of Provinces before it can become law.

Read this report by Lindsay Dentlinger at EWN. Read too, No national minimum wage for 1 May as bill needs more time for processing, at BusinessLive

Minimum living wage should be R6,000, says Magda Wierzycka

Business Report writes that the CEO of asset management company Sygnia, Magda Wierzycka, said on Thursday that the minimum living wage for South Africans should be R6,000 per month.  This came after Wierzycka said earlier on Twitter that R3,500 did not constitute a living wage.  Wierzycka has recently been vocal about SA’s current unemployment levels which sits at 26.7%, one of the highest in the world.  Following Wierzycka's comment on the minimum living wage, she said that she would relook at the wage structure of every supplier to her company.  When asked whether she had contacted her suppliers, Wierzycka said that they were starting with that project now and had already initiated it with respect to one of their service providers.  In the event that the suppliers did not comply with the R6,000 minimum living wage, Wierzycka said that she would put pressure on them to do so and might even help supplement the wage.

Read this report by Zeenat Vallie in full at Business Report


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Waste picker killed at Pietermaritzburg site by trash compactor vehicle

Groundup reports that a waste picker was killed by a trash compactor vehicle at the New England landfill site in Pietermaritzburg.  Nswaki Mahlakwane died on the scene when she was caught in the machine on 14 March.  Due to a strike at the morgue, her body was only collected at about 10pm that night.  Her distraught younger brother, also a waster picker, said:  “It was the worst experience ever.  She was my older sister.  Seeing her helpless body lying on the dump for hours tarnished me.  I could not leave her.”  Mahlakwane was 56 and came from Lesotho.  She had been working as a waste picker on the landfill site since 2015 and lived in Swapo informal settlement.  Msunduzi municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said Mahlakwane was accidentally knocked over.  “The matter was reported to SAPS and emergency services.  The operator as well as other waste pickers were attended to.  They received counselling‚” said Mafumbatha.  A case of culpable homicide has been opened.

Read this report by Nompendulo Ngubane in full at GroundUp


MINING LABOUR

Amcu’s Mathunjwa calls Mantashe ‘a horrible minister’

SABC News reports that the march by the Association for Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Tuesday to the Union Buildings was marred by new Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe’s decision to leave the venue without receiving the union’s memorandum of demands.  Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa took a swipe at Mantashe for leaving, suggesting he could not bear to witness how Amcu had grown into a giant union at the expense of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).  Yet, Mantashe was peeved by Mathunjwa‘s late arrival to hand over the memorandum.  Mathunjwa eventually showed up, receiving a hero’s welcome from his followers.  He went on to call Mantashe a horrible minister and also took a swipe at President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying he was no different from former President Jacob Zuma.  There were also Amcu marches in the Free State, Limpopo and in Durban.

Read this report by Mbongeni Muthwa at SABC News


PRODUCTIVITY / FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Rand Merchant Bank focuses on robotics as a way to improve performance

Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) writes in a sponsored article that, as part of its strategy to stay at the leading edge of innovation, it is focusing on robotics as one of the ways in which to improve the bank’s overall performance and help digitise operations.  Because robots can master repetitive tasks currently performed manually, they are suitable for many of the processes conducted by employees, particularly in back offices.  Robotic process automation (RPA) is the software technology that automates manual, repetitive and mature processes, making them faster, more cost effective, and often with a return on investment on the software and systems within about a year.  Robotics is also easily adopted to automate high-risk and compliance-focused processes.  Being a non-integrated software system, robots are also easy to introduce to the bank’s existing IT systems.  Introduced a year ago, the RMB Robotics Centre of Excellence manages RMB’s capability to introduce robotics into its various business units.  It has 20 employees who ensure that the correct processes for automation are selected and implemented.  So far 10 bots have been introduced to 14 projects that include four processes capturing new client information and performing maintenance of that information.  “We believe that one robot can effectively augment between three and four people, allowing staff to focus on the more complicated, analytical, client-facing and value-adding aspects of their functions,” said Reshnie Naidoo of the Excellence Centre.

Read RMB’s full article at SA Labour News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Fourth Industrial Revolution is not a silver bullet for an ill-prepared nation, at BusinessLive


STAFFING / RECRUITMENT / PROMOTIONS

Police union issues ‘stern warning’ over new police top brass appointments

ANA reports that the SA Policing Union (SAPU) on Wednesday criticised recent top brass police appointments, saying they were patronage awards to those loyal to national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole.  The union said it would like to send “a stern warning” to General Sitole over his latest appointments of SA Police Service (SAPS) top management, which it found were “totally unacceptable”.  It went on to state that Sitole’s “appointment of unqualified deputy national commissioners is a major cause for concern” and added that it was of the firm view “that the national police commissioner is using patronage to award loyalists instead of using capacity to appoint top management members”.  The police union claimed there were more deserving police generals who would take the SAPS forward.  “SAPU is not calling for favours, we demand fairness and justice.  To reward loyalists with senior and influential positions will not assist the SAPS,” general secretary Oscar Skommere indicated in a statement.

Read this report in full at The Citizen. Read SAPU’s press statement at Polity


SEX WORK

Sex workers approach court for interdict after assaults and threats by Primrose community forum

Timeslive reports that the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Task Force (Sweat) on Tuesday approached the High Court in Pretoria to ask that the Primrose Community Police Forum (CPF) be interdicted from beating‚ threatening and using snakes or dogs against sex workers.  The CPF has launched “Operation #TakeBackOurPrimrose” to improve the area, but‚ according to court papers‚ has been harassing sex workers by photographing them‚ stealing their handbags and throwing eggs and water at them.  Twelve sex workers described the abuse in affidavits‚ which included being pepper-sprayed‚ shown a gun and having cars mount the pavement where they were standing and taking aim at them.  Four of the sex workers described having been intimidated by a python or snake by members of the CPF and two described being threatened by dogs.  Sweat and a sex worker have approached the court to have the CPF’s operation declared unlawful to "the extent that it illegally targets sex workers".  Sweat’s court papers maintain that “the criminalisation of sex work does not entitle the community policing forum and its chairperson to take the law into their own hands."

Read this report by Katharine Child in full at Timeslive. Read too, Sex workers go to court to stop ‘community violence’, on page 2 of The Star of 22 March 2018

Survey shows plight of sex workers

The New Age reports that as SA marked Human Rights Day on Wednesday, the plight of sex workers was put under the spotlight by a survey entitled: ‘The Policing of Sex Work in South Africa’.  Compiled by NGOs Sonke Gender Justice and the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat), the survey found that sex workers in SA would be arrested at least four times and would spend an average of 40 hours in custody if they were charged.  Nosipho Vidima‚ a lobbying officer at Sweat, said while all who were involved in sex work were having it bad, transgender people were worst off.  The report recorded the experiences of 117 sex workers from Gauteng and Mpumalanga and was undertaken in response to the large number of human rights violations involving sex workers and police reported to civil society organisations.  The report showed how sex workers’ vulnerability to STIs and HIV was also increased when police confiscated condoms and used them as “evidence” to arrest sex workers.  “To ensure the safety and protection of sex workers in line with respecting their human rights, this report recommends that SA should decriminalise sex work,” the report indicates.

Read this report by Lillian Selapisa in full at The New Age


REMUNERATION / OVERTIME PAY

Overtime pay limit a threat to KZN Easter traffic safety

Timeslive reports that on the eve of Easter weekend the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) transport department is scrambling to ensure that Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) officials will be patrolling freeways at night.  This follows a Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) directive in February that overtime pay be limited to 30% of an employee's salary.  Claude Naicker of the Public Servants Association (PSA) commented:  "This will have severe consequences as officials will only be able to patrol roads for a certain period.  So after 10pm until about 6am there will be no RTI officials on the roads."  Operations at various testing stations on Saturdays might also be affected.  According to Naicker, the KZN transport department has the power to exempt the RTI officials from the directive, “yet just days before Easter we still do not have a clear indication if the overtime cap of 30% will be removed to ensure that officials will be able to execute their duties to the full extent."  The PSA apparently engaged the department some time ago about this matter.  Naicker indicated that traffic officers would not work more than their required overtime without a legitimate contract stating that they would get paid for it.  The department is apparently in the process of writing a letter to DPSA Minister to exempt traffic officers from the directive.

Read this report by Nivashni Nair in full at Timeslive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE FUNDS

In bid to stop pension fund graft, giving or receiving of gifts prohibited

Moneyweb reports that in a bid to curb corruption in the pension fund industry, Dube Tshidi, the registrar of pension funds at the Financial Services Board (FSB), has issued a directive forbidding the giving or receiving of gifts.  Specifically this will prevent asset managers from using gifts as a means of soliciting business, and pension fund principal officers, board members or trustees from receiving any material gift.  The directive (No. 8: Prohibition on the Acceptance of Gratification, March 08, 2018) appears to limit any gift or gratuity to no more than a token amount of R500 per year from any one party.  This directive brings legislation governing the pension funds industry more in line with that governing financial services providers, which falls under the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (Fais) Act.  The new directive makes it clear that all fiduciaries in the service of retirement funds – from the principal officer to employees of administrators to future service providers – are now subject to a gratuity limit.  Further the registrar has made the definition of “gratification” sufficiently wide and inclusive so as to prohibit the giving of any material gift.

Read this informative report by Sasha Planting in full at Moneyweb


CORRUPTION

Acsa staff in push to have CEO removed

BusinessLive reports that employees of the Airports Company of SA (Acsa) are campaigning to remove Bongani Maseko, CEO of the state-owned company, based on forensic reports that recommended disciplinary action against him and three senior managers.  The managers — Percy Sithole (procurement), Jabulani Khambule (regional airports) and legal counsel Bongani Machobane — were found guilty at an internal disciplinary hearing on corruption charges and of wasteful and fruitless expenditure.  They were suspended on full pay.  Acsa’s board also resolved to act against Maseko, but it has not done so.  The group of "concerned employees" has demanded in e-mailed letters (dated January 2018) to the Presidency, the transport and finance departments and the Public Protector that Maseko be disciplined before his term as CEO finishes at the end of March 2018. "[The] government cannot extend the Acsa CEO’s term beyond March 2018 as he has corruption charges and has a criminal case reported by the Acsa board that he has to answer to," the group noted.  An Acsa spokesman confirmed that Transport Minister Blade Nzimande had communicated with the board on the matter.

Read this report by Neels Blom in full at BusinessLive


SEXUAL ASSAULT / SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Man accused of rape of domestic worker back in court on Thursday for bail hearing

SABC News reports that a Pretoria man accused of raping a domestic worker and forcing her to perform sexual acts on his dogs was due on Thursday to appear in the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court for his final bail hearing.  Willem Kroukamp is facing 10 charges including rape, kidnapping, sexual assault and malicious damage to property.  He has denied all the charges and has claimed to have had a romantic relationship with the woman, whom he said was an employee at his parents’ home in Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria.  After the final arguments on Thursday, the court was due to rule on his bail application.

A short report is at SABC News. See too, Accused's DNA in domestic worker rape case tests positive, at News24


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT SERVICES

Police impound over 100 'death-trap' Joburg minibus taxis used daily to transport commuters

The Star reports that more than 100 unroadworthy minibus taxis have been impounded by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department since 1 March, including 26 in a blitz in Rosettenville on Tuesday.  Some of the taxis were in such bad condition that parts of the steering columns and dashboards were held together with hand-connected wires.  One taxi was using two screwdrivers, side by side, for the purpose of changing gears.  “They are death traps," said Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, adding that some taxis were “literally falling apart and were accidents waiting to happen".  Many had expired licence discs and false number plates, so it will take some time to track down the owners.  No arrests were made as the drivers blamed the owners for the bad condition of the vehicles.  Some 11 stolen taxis were also identified in the blitz.

Read this report by Anna Cox in full at The Star

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Contract killers thrive in taxi industry, at The Citizen

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page