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
Wednesday, 28 March 2018.


SA’s child labour shame exposed in Stats SA report

The New Age reports that more than half a million children in South Africa, some as young as seven, were being used for child labour in 2015.  A shocking report released by Statistics SA on Tuesday, entitled ‘The Social Profile of Children aged 7-17 years, 2002-2016’, indicated that children were not only used for labour, but deprived of basic rights such as education and proper health.  Some 2.2m of them were also orphaned.  More than half a million (577, 000) children between the ages of 7 and 17 years were engaged in child labour in 2015.  The total percentage of children in child labour declined by 1.9 percentage points between 2010 and 2015 (from 7.0% in 2010 to 5.2% in 2015).  The gender gap narrowed over the 5-year period of reporting.  In 2010, a slightly higher percentage of girls was involved in child labour than boys.  Five years on (2015), the percentages of girls and boys in child labour was virtually equal.  The period 2010 – 2015 also saw the largest percentages of children engaged in child labour recorded amongst the black African population group, at 8.0% in 2010 and 5.9% in 2015.  Declines were recorded for all population groups, except among the white population group, where a slight increase of 0.3% was experienced.  Most infringements of rights of children were found to be in rural areas with child labour found to be prevalent in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. 

Read this report by Lerato Diale in full at The New Age. Download the Stats SA report at Stats SA online (child labour section on pages 58 to 60)


Two killed at Harmony Gold’s Joel mine in Free State

News24 reports that two people have been killed following a "seismic related fall" at one of Harmony Gold’s mines in Welkom.  The company said on Tuesday that it regretted having to advise that two of its employees were fatally injured in a seismic related fall of ground incident at its Joel mine near Welkom in the Free State on Tuesday morning.  The statement added:  "Management express their deepest condolences to the deceased employee’s family, friends and colleagues."  An investigation into the deaths is underway.  Former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane last year urged mines to step up health and safety efforts after three miners died at a Harmony Gold mine in August.

A short report by Kaveel Singh is at News24. Harmony’s short press statement is at Harmony online. See too, Amcu bemoans death of another two mineworkers, at Amcu online

Amcu says deaths of two Harmony Gold miners could have been avoided

EWN reports that according to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), the deaths of two workers at Harmony Gold’s Joel Mine in the Free State could have been avoided.  The fatalities occurred on Tuesday during a seismic-related fall of ground incident.  The union said in a statement on Wednesday:  “Amcu has received reports that seem to indicate negligence on the part of mine management.  We are told that the specific area was not mined for around twenty years and that it was closed due to geological issues.  Amcu is perturbed that management did not follow the standard start-up procedure, which would include a risk assessment and specifically an investigation of geological conditions.”  Amcu called on the Department of Mineral Resources to ensure compliance and hasten its investigations “so that the causes of this tragic event can be determined.”  The latest tragedy brings to 22 the total number of deaths of mineworkers since January this year.

A short report by Clement Manyathela is at EWN. Read Amcu’s press statement at Amcu online

Bail hearing on Wednesday for men accused of murders of platinum belt union leaders

EWN reports that the two-day bail hearing of seven mine workers accused of orchestrating the murders of union leaders in and around Marikana was due to begin in the Brits Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.  The police ministry called the arrest of six of the men in February a breakthrough in curbing the spate of murders in the platinum belt mining communities in North West.  A small group of Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) supporters gathered outside the court on Wednesday, singing and carrying placards calling for bail to be denied to the seven suspects.  Since their arrest, the group has had to appear in court at least four times due to several challenges, including the shortage of magistrates in the region.  Magistrate Jethro Mosime will preside over the bail hearing.

A short report by Masechaba Sefularo is at EWN

Beneficiation will create mining jobs, says Amcu

The New Age reports that Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), has called for increased beneficiation in the mining sector so that more jobs could be created.  He called on the country’s leadership to see this as a priority, saying:  “The Department of Mineral Resources needs to include within the Mining Charter dispensation a requirement for all multinational corporations to bring beneficiation technology to the country and transfer their foreign operations to South Africa if they want to continue mining.”  Mathunjwa also noted that “mineral beneficiation has been the talk of government since the days of Susan Shabangu’s tenure as minister”.  In 2012, she reportedly said that with an estimated mineral wealth of $2.5 trillion, “beneficiation is the vehicle through which SA’s resource-based comparative advantage can be transformed into a national competitive advantage”.  But, four ministers in the department and two state presidents later, “there hadn’t been a move in implementation,” said Mathunjwa.

Read this report by Hloni Mashigo in full on page 4 of The New Age of 28 March 2018. Read Amcu’s press statement in this regard at Amcu online

Other posting(s) relating to mining

  • Glencore considering buying Gupta-linked Optimum coal mine, at BusinessLive


Shoprite Checkers staff down tools on Wednesday ahead of Easter holidays

Daily News reports that Shoprite Checkers workers have embarked on a three-day strike, which started on Wednesday and will end on Friday.  The workers are demanding to be employed full time and transport to be provided for workers starting early morning shifts and those who work the late shift.  According to a letter sent to landlords and property owners of Shoprite Checkers and Usave Supermarkets by Philip van der Merwe of Shoprite Checkers Properties Division, the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (Saccawu) gave Shoprite Checkers a 48 hours formal notice of a limited duration countrywide strike.  “At this stage it is difficult to determine the extent of the strike and what impact it will have on the effective trading at our stores,” Van der Merwe said.  In various parts of the country, Shoprite and Checkers workers demonstrated near the stores.  In a statement, the Shoprite Group confirmed the work stoppage saying that the strikers represented "only a portion of employees".  Contingency plans are apparently in place to keep stores open and trading as normal as possible.

Read this report by Thobeka Ngema in full at Daily News


No work for Mangaung officials on Wednesday, so that they can bid Magashule farewell

News24 reports that the Free State government has instructed all government officials to abandon their posts on Wednesday to bid farewell to outgoing premier Ace Magashule and welcome the new premier Sisi Ntombela.  An email from the director general of the premier's office, Kopung Ralikontsane, to the province's heads of departments, instructs government employees to leave work and instead attend a celebration rally in honour of Magashule, who is leaving the province to focus on his full-time post as ANC secretary general, and welcome his successor.  The event, set to take place at the Free State rugby stadium, has raised eyebrows with claims that more than R20m from state coffers will be used for catering.  The premier's spokesperson, Tiisetso Makhele, confirmed that the letter was valid and indicated:  "All staff, except those in essential services, have been given opportunities to leave earlier than normal tomorrow and Thursday.  This relates to the inauguration ceremony as well as the Easter weekend."  He added that no employee would be forced to participate in the event and no employee would be punished if they did not leave early on any of the days.  ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe confirmed that the party was aware of the government event.

Read this report by Tshidi Madia in full at News24


Court hears Numsa application to halt Eskom deals with independent power producers

ANA reports that the High Court in Pretoria has heard an application by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) to prevent the energy minister and Eskom from concluding agreements with 27 independent power producers (IPP) pending a separate, related court case.  The union appeared before the court on Tuesday, asking it to interdict the signing of the deals until the court has heard an application by the Coal Transporters Forum, which has argued that a switch to renewable energy from coal fired electricity will lead to job losses in linked sectors.  Numsa said on Wednesday:  “The energy minister wants to rush the process of signing the IPP contracts without considering the impact that this decision would have on workers and their families.  Numsa wants to place it on record that we do not oppose renewable energy or an energy mix.  However, we demand a renewable energy sector which is controlled and owned by workers and the community."  The union claimed that the conclusion of an IPP agreement would automatically result in the closure of five Eskom power stations in Mpumalanga province, shedding at least 30,000 jobs.

Read this report in full at Business Report. Read Numsa’s press statement in this regard at Polity


Lack of skills at level of executives a risk to SAA's turnaround plan, warns CEO Jarana

Fin24 reports that Vuyani Jarana, CEO of South African Airways (SAA), warned on Tuesday that the lack of capacity and skills at executive level was a risk to the airline’s three-year turnaround plan.  He and SAA board chair JB Magwaza briefed MPs on the airline’s quarterly report.  Jarana said that a legacy of problems were inherited by the airline's new board and these issues provided a challenge to its recovery path, which would require something “extraordinary”.  He also claimed that it was difficult to attract top skills at the airline, which was why the exco was populated with acting people.  Magwaza said:  “There is a serious and dangerous lack of capacity at the executive and leadership level at SAA.  There has been for quite some time now leadership instability at the exco level.”  This has delayed the implementation of strategies, primarily due to the lack of capacity.  Magwaza added that there was a lack of critical skills in the organisation, no commercial skills, or supply chain management skills, which put SAA on a route to disaster.  Other issues related to the organisational culture.  “We have people who feel that someone owes them a living,” it was said.  Both Jarana and Magwaza expressed views that there was a business case for SAA.

Read this report by Lameez Omarjee in full at Fin24

PSC 'concerned' about high vacancy in government departments

EWN reports that the Public Service Commission (PSC) has expressed concern about the high vacancy rate in some government departments, specifically about positions that have not been filled for a period of time.  The PSC released its third quarterly bulletin about the state of public service.  Commissioner Michael Seloane indicated:  “The acceptable level of vacancy rate is 10%, anything 10% or under is acceptable, 10% or more is unacceptable.  Because then the department which operates on inadequate staff, its performance is going to be affected.”

A short report by Gia Nicolaides is at EWN. See too, Over 11% state posts still vacant, says PSC, on page 4 of The Star of 28 March 2018. And also, Public sector has 148,000 vacancies, on page 2 of The New Age of 28 March 2018


Mogoeng tells employers to do the right thing and end gender-based salary bias

Timeslive reports that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has waded into the debate around equal pay for men and women in the private sector‚ saying employers did not need the law to change this situation.  Mogoeng made this remark during his acceptance speech after being conferred with an honorary doctorate in law by the University of Johannesburg on Tuesday evening.  “Statistics abound that women are not paid the same salary as men in the private sector‚” Mogoeng pointed out.  He added that, similarly‚ people of different races were not paid the same in the private sector in some instances.  “You don’t need the law to correct that situation if you are committed to the foundational values of our constitution.  You do it yourself‚ you do it proactively.”  Mogoeng said it was time for employers to ask themselves whether they were committed to ensuring meaningful participation of the previously disadvantaged in the mainstream economy of the country.

This short report by Ernest Mabuza is at Timeslive

Eskom employees may get bonuses this year

Business Report writes that according to a report by Eyewitness News, insolvent power utility Eskom will reportedly be paying its employees bonuses this year, despite its financial state.  The embattled state-owned enterprise, which is in need of R72 billion, will reportedly be paying bonuses this year as long as its employees meet their targets.  Acting CEO Phakamani Hadebe reportedly said that bonuses would be paid according to targets that were set by the previous board.  Business Report contacted the power utility, but as at Wednesday afternoon was still awaiting comment on the matter.

A short report is at Business Report


Cosatu sees some positives in delay to national minimum wage process

Fin24 reports that labour federation Cosatu said on Tuesday that it was disappointed that government would not be able to implement the national minimum wage (NMW) by the original 1 May deadline, but that this presented an opportunity to perfect the applicable draft laws.  The Minister of Labour admitted on Monday that the NMW would not be able to be brought into effect by Workers’ Day as planned.  Cosatu parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks said the delays allowed for the union to make critical submissions on the bills to ensure that the NMW was foolproof.  “These amendments are aimed at ensuring there are no loopholes for business to avoid paying workers a national minimum wage, to ensure that farm and domestic workers are fast-tracked to a national minimum wage, to ensure that workers receive above inflation increases in the national minimum wage yearly, to protect sectoral determinations and to strengthen penalties for businesses who ignore the law,” Parks said.  Cosatu declared its confidence that the NMW would come into effect in June.

Read this report by Khulekani Magubane in full at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Uber-bestuurders: Wie gaan minimum loon betaal? at Netwerk24 (paywall access)


Aviation security training school ordered to stop all training pending investigation

The New Age reports that the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has ordered two training institutions, accused of not offering sufficient training to airport security trainees, to stop all training until an investigation has been completed.  The SACAA on Tuesday said it took matters of safety and security very seriously and that it had launched an immediate investigation into the veracity of allegations made in news reports.  On Monday, media reports emerged that Reshebile Aviation and Security Services sent its staff for week-long training at Ntate Aviation and Security Training, but there was no instructor for them.  Instead, they were made to watch a few videos and also read a theory book.  The trainees are responsible for passengers’ luggage before it is loaded onto planes and checking for weapons and other contraband.  Upon receiving reports about the allegations, the SACAA immediately dispatched a team of inspectors to get evidence from the school.  Ntate Training is accredited by the SACAA, however, this is subject to training being conducted in-line with the regulations at all times.

Read this report in full at The New Age

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Skills revolution will reduce poverty, inequality, says Dlamini-Zuma, at The Citizen


Many medical scheme members struggle to pay for mental illness bills

BusinessLive reports that many medical scheme members with mental illness are being forced to dig deep into their own pockets to foot their bills and are delaying or stopping treatment when the money runs out.  This is according to a survey conducted by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag).  Sadag’s survey is not nationally representative, but does nevertheless highlight significant inadequacies in medical scheme cover for even the relatively well-resourced middle-class families that responded to its questionnaire.  More than half (55%) of the respondents said they were using their own money to fund the gaps in their medical scheme cover and 13% said they had turned to family and friends for help.  One of the most worrying findings was that a fifth of the respondents said they coped with limitations on their mental health cover by either delaying or stopping treatment, risking a decline or relapse.  Just over a third of respondents (35%) said they had reached their limits on counseling, and a similar proportion (34%) said they could not get medication once their medical scheme limits were reached.

Read this report by Tamar Kahn in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Medical aid providers clamp down on fraud, at Fin24


Twelve Eastern Cape municipal officials arrested for fraud after flouting tender processes

News24 reports that twelve Mnquma Municipality officials have been accused of fraud and corruption after allegedly flouting tender processes, the Hawks in the Eastern Cape have said.  The 12, who formed the municipality's bid evaluation and adjudication committees, appeared before the Butterworth Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on charges of fraud, corruption and the contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).  They were arrested on Tuesday, Hawks Eastern Cape spokesperson Captain Anelisa Feni advised.  Their arrest came in the wake of ongoing investigations regarding alleged fraud and corruption in Eastern Cape municipalities.  Feni said the 12 flouted tender procedures from 2014 to 2016, when four tenders with a combined value of R37m were allegedly unduly awarded to three companies.  The court released the suspects on a warning and they will appear again on 25 May 2018.

Read this report by Kaveel Singh in full at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Eskom staff urged to blow whistle on corruption, at EWN
  • Icasa boss to be sacked over fraud conviction, at eNCA


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