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
Monday, 14 May 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Murdered Taxify driver’s family want case solved and justice done

The Independent on Saturday reports that the aunt of 21-year-old Siyabonga Ngcobo, who was kidnapped and locked in the boot of his Taxify car before it was set alight in Pretoria in March, says she will not rest until justice for her nephew is done.  Buhle Mbonambi said last week:  “He was a part of me and I can’t just let this go.”  Ngcobo, a final year sports management student at the Tshwane University of Technology, had only been driving the taxi for a week before he was killed.  There was speculation that it could be linked to the ongoing tussle between metered taxi drivers and newcomers Taxify and Uber.  Sunnyside police indicated that there had been no breakthrough in the case.  Protea Glen police have also made no arrests after another Taxify murder.  Last Thursday, the body of Taxify driver Moipolai “Heavy” Sekati from Diepkloof was found by his relatives at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital mortuary.  His body had two bullet wounds.  A Dobsonville police spokesperson said Sekati was reported missing on Thursday by his family after not returning from work the day before.  “It was then discovered that he was murdered in Protea Glen and the car he was driving was found torched in Dobsonville.”

Read this report by Anelisa Kubheka in full at The Independent on Saturday


MINING LABOUR

Five accused in court for deadly petrol-bombing of mineworkers' bus in Limpopo

Timeslive reports that the five men alleged to have been behind the petrol-bombing of a bus carrying mineworkers in Limpopo appeared briefly in court on Monday.  "They will appear again before the Mecklenburg Magistrate's Court on July 12 for legal representation of their choice and for further police investigations.  They are all in custody with no bail‚" said Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe.  The five suspects all face charges of murder‚ attempted murder and malicious damage to property.  Six Modikwa Platinum Mine workers - four men and two women - were burnt to death as a result of the fiery attack in April outside Driekop.  The bus immediately caught fire‚ instantly killing the six and injuring 28 others.  Around 50 mineworkers were on board at the time.

Read this report by Naledi Shange in full at Timeslive

Focus of mining transformation should be on 'quality over quantity', says Frans Baleni

BusinessLive reports that Mining Indaba advisory board member and former National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary Frans Baleni says transformation in the mining industry should focus on quality over quantity.  This was with reference to the far-reaching consultation process around the Mining Charter being undertaken by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and expected to be concluded by the end of May.  The High Court in Pretoria ruled in April that the first two versions of the charter did not require producers to top up black shareholding levels in perpetuity if they previously met the minimum 26% requirement.  Baleni noted that once the industry dropped its court action against the charter, there appeared to be an assumption that mining companies would "get what they wanted".  This has resulted in renewed tension between the parties.  He said interaction with the industry had shown that it wanted "almost the status quo", including in respect of its ‘once empowered, always empowered’ stance.  But the key focus should be the end result — a new charter that focused on quality rather than quantity as it had in the past.  Baleni commented that it was critical for the government and the industry to get together to see how each could contribute positively.

Read this report by Natasha Marrian in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Mining Charter talks not meeting expectations, on page 14 of Business Report of 14 May 2018. And also, The mining sector must move beyond philanthropy to inclusiveness, at BusinessLive

Optimum Coal mine stripped bare of R3bn by the Guptas

Times Select writes that over two years the Gupta family, through its network of companies, “stripped” its largest mining asset of at least R3-billion in cash from profits.  The money was allegedly spirited out of the country almost as soon as it was paid.  According to business rescue practitioners there is “no evidence” that roughly R3-billion in profits were recapitalised back into the mine, while essential mining equipment fell into disrepair and critical protective clothing for mineworkers ran out.  According to joint business rescue practitioner (BRP) Louis Klopper, the mine itself is in such disrepair, it would cost roughly R400-million to get it fully operational again.  Gupta-owned Tegeta failed to meet coal supply targets to Eskom nearly every month since the Gupta family bought the mine.  But the mine did export more than four million tons of coal from April 2016, at an estimated value of R4-billion.  “The sales are there, but where is the cash?” Klopper asked, adding that auditors were looking into the missing funds.  When Klopper was appointed in February this year he found a multibillion-rand coal mine with next to no funds in its bank account.  More than 2,000 mineworkers at Optimum went on strike for nearly a month after they were not paid their February salaries.  Machinery had been stripped to fix other broken equipment, a supervisor revealed.  “We have zero compared to when we started. They stripped a lot of it,” a production supervisor said, going on to state:  “Safety equipment like overalls, it’s been two weeks, we don’t have any of it.  No hard hats or boots.”

Read this report by Kyle Cowan in full at Times Select (paywall access)

AngloGold Ashanti CFO Christine Ramon scoops 2018 CFO of the Year award

Christine Ramon, chief financial officer of gold producer AngloGold Ashanti, has been named South Africa’s CFO of the Year at the 2018 CFO Awards.  This was announced on last Thursday at the annual gala event for finance executives, held at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg.  Christine is the first female winner of the most important award for finance executives, which celebrated its fifth edition this year.  She scooped up four of the ten prizes, which was another first, also winning the Compliance & Governance Award, the High Performance Team Award, and the Moving into Africa Award.  The other big winner of the evening was Dis-Chem Pharmacies CFO Rui Morais, who was crowned Young CFO of the Year (for finance leaders aged 40 years and younger) and also won the much-coveted Strategy Execution Award and the Finance & Technology Award.  The extremely experienced Dr Krish Kumar, CFO of eThekwini Municipality, was named Public Sector CFO of the Year.  The Transformation & Empowerment Award went to former Servest CFO Peter Walsh, who recently moved on to a new job overseas.  The Finance Transformation Award was won by Aspen Pharmacare CFO Sean Capazorio.  The black-tie dinner was attended by 350 CFOs and prominent leaders from business and the public sector.

Read more about the winners at CFO South Africa


FARMING LABOUR

Farm worker allegedly forced to drink faeces to be represented by SAHRC in court

News24 reports that on Monday the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) was due to represent a farm worker, who was allegedly forced to drink faeces, in the Springs Magistrate's Court.  According to the SAHRC website, the commission has initiated Equality Court proceedings against the farm owner and his family.  On 9 December the family allegedly forced an employee to drink litres of faecal matter before allegedly attempting to drown him in a septic tank on their farm.  Allegedly, the farm in question has been the site of continuous human rights violations.  On 31 January, the commission was alerted to the incident via media reports.  The commission will be acting in a representative capacity for the worker, who is seeking an unconditional public apology and monetary compensation for his ordeal.

This short report by Amanda Khoza is at News24. Read the SAHRC’s press statement in this regard at SAHRC News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • White farmers coming forward with offers to share land, says minister, at Fin24
  • More black farm workers are killed than white farm workers, says policing expert, at 702
  • When losing your job means losing your home, at GroundUp


LABOUR AND POLITICS

Cosatu concerned about ongoing political killings in KwaZulu-Natal

ANA reports that labour federation Cosatu on Monday condemned the attack on Allen Thompson, KwaZulu-Natal-based deputy president of the National Teachers’ Union (Natu), who survived an attack by a group of armed men.  The federation said it was worried that law enforcement authorities were failing to deal with the continuing political bloodshed in KwaZulu-Natal.  ”The level of violence and killings in the province of KwaZulu-Natal has reached crisis level.  Law enforcement agencies need to do more to stop these killings.  There is a lot of work that still needs to be done to exorcise our entire country and KwaZulu-Natal in particular, of the culture of resolving disputes with violence and assassinations,” Cosatu said in a statement.  The organisation added:  “We send our message of support to Mr Thomson, his family and his organisation, Natu.  We call on law enforcement agencies to work around the clock to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.”  The attack on Thompson took place on Friday in uMhlanga while he was en route from Natu’s Empangeni head office to Durban.  The union said the attack was an assassination attempt.

Read this report in full at The Citizen


LABOUR MARKET / JOB CREATION

Little optimism for better jobs rate notwithstanding business confidence boost in first quarter

BL Premium writes that improvements in the political climate since the ANC's elective conference in December boosted business confidence in the first quarter of the year, which could lift the jobs data to be published in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey on Tuesday.  Higher growth is also forecast.  But mining production fell 8.4% in March compared to a year before - its biggest contraction in two years.  Also, manufacturing fell 1.3% in March compared to the previous period last year as the stronger rand hit exports.  So, the outlook for employment data is said to be uncertain.  Nedbank economist Johannes Khosa said firmer global economic growth and higher commodity prices had supported business confidence and should encourage fixed investment activity and job creation.  Even so, he expects the unemployment rate to remain "structurally high at around 26% in the short term".  Absa economist Miyelani Maluleke noted that sectoral surveys by the Bureau for Economic Research showed that hiring intentions were still "fairly downbeat" across major sectors.  "The economy is simply just not growing fast enough to make a meaningful dent to the unemployment rate at the moment."  BNP Paribas economist Jeffrey Schultz expects a quarter-on-quarter improvement in employment, but said:  "This will not necessarily translate into a significant improvement in the unemployment rate, as much depends on the labour force participation rate."  He added that the unemployment rate “could even deteriorate slightly as the economy is not yet in a position to all of a sudden become massively labour absorbing."

Read this report by Asha Speckman in full at BL Premium (paywall access)


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Whistle-blower Suzanne Daniels faces Eskom’s wrath again

BusinessLive reports that Suzanne Daniels — a whistleblower on the Gupta family’s alleged capture of Eskom — was due on Monday to face disciplinary charges that could cost her job.  The R1.6bn McKinsey and Gupta-linked Trillian Capital Partners consultancy scandal is at the heart of Eskom’s case against her.  Daniels denounced that deal as "brazen theft" and accused the parastatal of lying about those payments.  But Eskom maintains she was a key player in the saga and has produced an 11-page charge sheet against her, in which it claims that she deliberately hid Trillian’s involvement in the McKinsey deal.  Eskom also maintains that Daniels was largely responsible for the R1.6bn being paid to McKinsey and Trillian.  She is accused of supporting a settlement agreement that made possible those payments "without there being a contractual basis for doing so".  Eskom’s latest charge sheet against Daniels is the fifth that she has faced.  Daniels will apparently defend herself against these and other accusations, and will argue that she is being victimised by Eskom because she blew the whistle on the alleged Gupta-linked corruption she is now accused of being complicit in.

Read this report by Karyn Maughan in full at BusinessLive

Suspended SARS boss wants state to pay legal costs of hearing

BusinessLive reports that suspended SA Revenue Services (SARS) boss Tom Moyane has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa challenging rules that could see his disciplinary inquiry conducted in writing.  As matters stand, oral evidence would be provided only if the chairperson of the inquiry deemed it necessary.  Moyane also wants to negotiate with a view to the state paying his legal costs.  Through his attorney Eric Mabuza, Moyane has given Ramaphosa until Monday afternoon to respond favourably to his demands, failing which, he would approach the courts.  He wants to negotiate with Ramaphosa over his legal costs, suggesting that an agreement might be reached in which tax payers would foot his legal costs, subject to a refund should he be found guilty.  Moyane was suspended in March over his handling of the controversy around his second in charge, Jonas Makwakwa, and also over his handling of value added tax refunds, on the back of a finding by the tax ombudsman that SARS had "unduly delayed" these refunds.

Read this report by Natasha Marrian in full at BusinessLive


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Former top cop Lamoer, two others don’t apply for leave to appeal corruption sentences

News24 reports that retired Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer and two former police officers have decided not to appeal their sentences for corruption.  They had each been released on R10,000 bail for the weekend and were given until noon on Monday to decide their next step.  When the Western Cape High Court convened on Monday morning, it was revealed that Lamoer and former brigadiers Darius van der Ross and Kollin Govender had decided not to appeal.  Last week, Lamoer was sentenced to an effective six years in jail, while Van der Ross and Govender effectively received sentences of two and four years respectively for corruption.  Lawyer Johnny Nortje said the three would report to a correctional facility in Malmesbury by noon.  Earlier on Monday morning, the court granted the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) a confiscation order against Lamoer, Van der Ross and Govender, who did not oppose the application.  In terms of the order, the unit recovered R67,329.50 from Lamoer, R3,324.60 from Van der Ross and R24,594.44 from Govender.

Read this report by Jenna Etheridge in full at News24. Read too, SA Policing Union welcomes the sentence of Lamoer and top cops 'with a heavy heart', at News24

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page