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, 11 September 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Gauteng government workers relocated from nine unsafe buildings

Timeslive reports that the Gauteng government has removed its workers from a total of nine buildings which it says do not meet with basic Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) compliance.  This came almost a week after a massive blaze consumed parts of a government building in the Johannesburg CBD.  Heads of departments met their staff members on Monday to issue directions on the relocations.  Government spokesperson Thabo Masebe indicated:  "[They] have instructed officials to report to temporary service sites‚ including regional‚ district and satellite branches.  Affected departments include Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs‚ Health‚ Social Development‚ the Office of the Premier and others."  Three firemen were killed while trying to put out a blaze on the 23rd floor of the Bank of Lisbon building last week.  Forensic specialists have been combing through the building to find clues as to what caused the deadly blaze.

Read this report by Naledi Shange in full at Timeslive. See too, Government employees in Gauteng to report at alternative offices, at SABC News

Joburg EMS to remember fallen firefighters at memorial service on Wednesday

SABC News reports that Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) will host a memorial service on Wednesday for three firefighters who died battling a blaze at the Bank of Lisbon building.  Mduduzi Ndlovu, Simphiwe Moropane and Meshack Muedi will be laid to rest between Friday and Sunday in three different provinces.  The fire broke out on the 23rd floor of the building in the Johannesburg CBD last Wednesday.  The building accommodated three Gauteng government departments and proved to be one of eight non-safety-compliant government buildings in the city centre.  The memorial service will begin on Wednesday morning with a wreath laying-ceremony at the scene of the fire.  The main memorial service will be held at the Ellis Park arena from 11:30 in the morning.

Read this report in full at SABC News. See too, Flags to fly half-mast to honour dead firefighters as Joburg mourns, at IOL News

Police officer wounded on Monday in Soweto drive-by shooting

The Citizen reports that a Protea Glen police officer was shot and wounded in the early hours of Monday morning in Soweto.  Two police officers ordered a sedan car to stop on Impala Road close to the N12 as part of a routine vehicle check.  As the officers were approaching the sedan at about 2am, an unknown number of occupants travelling in the light blue delivery vehicle appeared, firing shots at the officers.  The vehicle sped off after shooting at the officers.  One officer sustained wounds to his lower abdomen and legs.  The second officer was unharmed.  The wounded officer is in hospital in a stable condition.

A short report is at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Sunday Times journalist received death threats after Zuma secret meeting report, at IOL News
  • Denel resumes testing at site of deadly blast, at IOL News
  • Five arrested for attempted murder of Pikitup GM, at The Citizen


MINING LABOUR

New AngloGold CEO snaps up nearly R6m worth of shares, giving a signal of confidence

BusinessLive reports that AngloGold Ashanti’s new CEO, Kelvin Dushnisky, clearly sees an upside in the company’s share price, snapping up 50,000 of its American depositary receipts for R5.86m.  The shares were bought in four tranches over three days in New York between 4 & 6 September, just days after he took up his new role at the gold producer.  The Canadian replaced Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan as CEO and was clearly sending the market a message days into his tenure.  If Dushnisky earns anything similar to his predecessor, the purchase would be equivalent to nearly half his annual salary of R13.3m in 2017 terms.  Among the most pressing tasks for Dushnisky is the successful rebuilding and restarting of the perennially problematic Obuasi mine in Ghana.  Other challenges he faces are the continued difficulties in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Read this report by Allan Seccombe in full at BusinessLive

Amcu threatens to cripple gold sector over wage increases

EWN reports that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has threatened to cripple the gold mining sector.  Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said on Tuesday that wage negotiations have deadlocked with Sibanye-Stillwater, Harmony Gold, and Village Main Reef.  According to Mathunjwa, the employers are negotiating in bad faith.  “These guys, they are looting the monies that are supposed to go to the workers.  Sibanye has been killing workers, they have had two disasters which even today no one is accountable for.  They save costs in terms of safety [by] taking shortcuts, [they’re] making super profit, [and] workers languish in poverty.”

This short report by Bonga Dlulane is at EWN

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Radebe contradicts Mantashe on withdrawal of Mineral & Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, at BusinessLive


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

You’re ignoring white workers‚ Solidarity tells Sasol bosses in open letter

SowetanLive reports that in an open letter to the two CEOs of Sasol‚ Bongani Nqwababa and Stephen Cornell‚ Solidarity accused the company’s management of ignoring white workers in a staff benefit share scheme.  The trade union declared a dispute against Sasol at the beginning of the year‚ objecting to the exclusion of white employees from Sasol Khanyisa Phase 2‚ which was launched in June this year.  The dispute led to the union embarking on a strike‚ which began last week.  According to Sasol, the intention of the share scheme is to create meaningful financial benefits for approximately 230‚000 black public shareholders and qualifying employees‚ and to achieve 25% direct and indirect black ownership of Sasol SA Limited.  In the letter to Nqwababa and Cornell‚ published on Monday‚ Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann said that for Sasol to follow a simplistic race approach that excluded white workers in a scheme aimed at addressing the imbalances of the past was a lazy approach.  “To calculate the worth of white workers in blue overalls according to their race and to present that as a normal intervention to restore imbalances is immoral.”  Hermann also noted that Sasol has awarded share options worth R106-million to its top executive team and Cornell and the other white executives were included “even though you are white.”

Read this report by Ernest Mabuza in full at SowetanLive. Read Solidarity’s open letter at Politicsweb


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Ekurhuleni suspends 48 female firefighters for bringing city into disrepute with protest action

Sowetan reports that Ekurhuleni has put 48 female firefighters on suspension after they protested about their working conditions and the payment of shift allowances.  The firefighters demonstrated in Pretoria two weeks ago about conditions of service in the city, including having to work more than eight hours a day.  Ekurhuleni has accused them of bringing the metro into disrepute.  “They participated in an illegal march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in full City of Ekurhuleni Emergency Services uniform, thus putting the name of the employer into disrepute,” said the city’s spokesperson Themba Gadebe on Monday.  Arthur Mbonani, a SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) shop steward in Ekurhuleni, said the workers attended an event organised by the metro during Women’s Month.  It was there that they spoke among themselves about their work conditions and “decided on their own to go to the Union Buildings in order to raise their issues due to frustrations they have had about nonpayment of extra shifts and allowances.”  He added:  “Their complaints were that they need to be paid certain allowances which they believe in terms of the conditions of service, they are entitled to – night shift and danger allowances and for extra hours that they work daily.”  Samwu’s regional secretary Thokozani Nkosi said the union would be challenging the employer.  Despite having 48 female firefighters off duty, Gadebe said that the disaster and emergency services in the city would not be affected as the suspended group represented only a mere 0.05% of the total workforce.

Read this report by Penwell Dlamini in full at SowetanLive


COSATU CONGRESS

Cosatu congress next week to discuss establishment of state-owned bank

SowetanLive reports that Cosatu is pushing for the establishment of a state-owned bank, in a move aimed at ensuring that poor people can access finances.  This will be one of the vital issues that will be discussed at labour federation’s national congress in Midrand next week.  Cosatu's alliance partner, the ANC, passed such a resolution last year at its national elective conference.  Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali commented:  "Our issue is that when the ANC go to its conference, it takes positive radical resolutions but when it comes to implementation they seem to be hesitant.  There are numbers of people who are unable to access finances."  In his view, there was no competition among the country's major banks, and the mandate for the state-owned bank should be different from the commercial banks.  The creation of a state-owned bank could see Cosatu members withdrawing their accounts from other commercial banks.  Cosatu will also decide at the congress on whether to support the ANC in the general elections next year.

Read this report by Ngwako Modjadji in full at SowetanLive

Other reports in this news category

  • Losi set to be elected Cosatu president, page 7 of The Star of 10 September 2018


LIQUIDATIONS / RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

Numsa calls for nationalisation of Manyi’s Afro Worldview ‘for sake of employees’

The Citizen reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has called for the nationalisation of the recently closed Afro Worldview “for the sake of employees”.  Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi said the closure of the news channel owned by controversial businessman Mzwanele Manyi was a blow for unions.  She indicated:  “They [Afro Worldview] were more interested in providing a platform on workers issues.  Their absence in media is sorely felt.  I feel particularly bad for workers who were punished for their association with the Guptas.”  Phakamile Hlubi went on to say:  “Workers at the Afrovoice newspaper and Afroworld View were not involved in corruption.  In fact, a group of workers at ANN7 [Afro Worldview] protested against the corruption of the Guptas and were unfairly dismissed by them.  This is why it is unfair that workers should be jobless because of corruption by bosses.”  The channel shut down last month after satellite television company Multichoice did not renew its contract.  Afro Worldview’s closure came just a few weeks after Manyi’s daily newspaper, Afrovoice (formerly known as The New Age), filed for liquidation.  Both media companies had been owned by the controversial Gupta family.  Manyi bought the channel and the newspaper from the Gupta family last year.

Read this report by Batandwa Malingo in full at The Citizen


SETAS / SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / TRAINING

SIU to put discretionary grant funding at MICT Seta under the spotlight

BusinessLive reports that the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT Seta) is being investigated by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in connection with the allocation of discretionary grant funding.  President Cyril Ramaphosa issued a proclamation last week authorising the SIU to investigate the MICT-Seta, as well as other government departments and entities.  The proclamation stipulates that the SIU should probe any undisclosed or unauthorised interests which officials or employees of the MICT-Seta may have, and the extent to which officials may have derived benefit.  Parliament’s higher education and training portfolio committee welcomed the probe.  The 21 Setas, which are meant to address the skills shortages in the country, have often been criticised for inefficiency, being havens for corruption and for enrolling ghost students.  They have also come under fire for failing to address the country’s skills deficit.  The Setas control billions of rand via a skills levy derived from employers.

Read this report by Bekezela Phakathi in full at BusinessLive


RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE FUNDS

Nhlanhla Nene promises details shortly on PIC inquiry

BusinessLive reports that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene says details surrounding the commission that will examine governance issues at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) will be announced shortly.  "The terms of reference have been drafted, everything is now in place and the matter is now between the presidency and department of justice," Nene said, speaking at the inaugural Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) thought leadership conference, in Johannesburg on Monday.  The PIC manages nearly R2-trillion on behalf of its largest client, the GEPF, which in turn administers a defined benefit fund on behalf of all government employees.  The PIC has been the subject of heightened scrutiny following a number of allegations made concerning mismanagement of its funds, as well as accusations of impropriety against its CEO, Daniel Matjila.  Nene has also instructed the board of the PIC to commission a proper forensic investigation into allegations made against certain PIC executives.  This has not yet been completed.

Read this report by Warren Thompson in full at BusinessLive


HEALTHCARE / MEDICAL SCHEMES

GEMS blows R60,000 a month of member contributions on empty Mahikeng offices

BusinessLive reports that the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) has admitted to blowing hundreds of thousands of rands of its members’ contributions to pay for an empty building for a year.  GEMS has been forking out more than R60,000 a month to Mowana Properties for its North West regional office in Borekelong House in Mahikeng since September 2017, without occupying it.  The rental expenditure has resulted in Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo calling for an investigation into the matter.  Instead of occupying the office space, GEMS opted to rent the Kobo Segole Guest House conference room for R31,000 a month.  Insiders said that this has been categorised as "wasteful expenditure", but no one has been held responsible.  Dlodlo’s spokesperson said that if the alleged wasteful expenditure should be proven against GEMS, the minister would instruct the board to institute disciplinary measures so that those found guilty “should be made to pay for this waste.”

Read this report by Zingisa Mvumvu in full at BusinessLive

Eastern Cape traditional healers want document to serve as sick note for their patients

Daily Dispatch reports that traditional healers in the Eastern Cape have requested the Department of Health to create a document that would serve as an equivalent to a sick note for their patients.  Speaking in Mabhudu village near Ntabankulu on Saturday‚ traditional healer Dumisa Diko said many people‚ especially in rural areas‚ still preferred herbal remedies for their ailments.  “We need some kind of document or form that we can sign to say this is what we have picked up from this patient and maybe another form that we can sign to refer someone for admission to hospital if there is such a need‚” Diko indicated.  He was speaking during a dialogue with health professionals‚ among them Dr Thobile Mbengashe‚ the superintendent general of the provincial health department.  The meeting sought to set up a partnership between the department and traditional healers.

This short report by Zipo-Zenkosi Ncokazi is at Timeslive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Public health sector conditions forcing professionals to go private, at Cape Argus


DISCRIMINATION / RACISM / SEXISM

EFF denies race-linked ‘invasion’ forced Joburg restaurant to shut down and jobs to be lost

Timeslive reports that the EFF is adamant that is it not responsible for the closure of the Smokehouse and Grill restaurant and the consequent loss of 29 jobs.  EFF members demonstrated at the Braamfontein restaurant last Thursday demanding an apology for the racist behaviour of shareholder Adam Catzavelos.  A video had gone viral of him using the k-word.  The restaurant issued a statement on Sunday saying that it was closing its doors and confirmed the loss of 29 jobs.  It said the EFF’s "invasion" had compounded already poor trading conditions and it had been forced to close its doors.  EFF ward 60 branch chairman Cassius Mabunda said on Monday the branch was not apologising for its actions as it never pushed for the restaurant to close.  "As the branch‚ we engaged in a militant demonstration at Smokehouse to demand that Adam’s family takes full responsibility for their son’s action‚" said Mabunda.  He also said the restaurant management had earlier agreed to a meeting with the branch, however “they did not honour the meeting nor did they provide explanations for not pitching."  Mabunda described the sacrifice of jobs as an act of arrogance‚ recklessness and a violent refusal to confront racism.

Read this report by Ernest Mabuza in full at BusinessLive. Read too, White racism to blame for job losses, say EFF protesters after restaurant linked to Catzavelos closes, at News24


NEWS BRIEFS

  • Cosatu on 'plot' against Ramaphosa: 'Everyone can see what's happening in the ANC', at News24
  • SA’s weak economy will hurt employment prospects, at BusinessLive
  • ‘Cut government jobs, pay less’, at The Citizen
  • Distracted employees cost SA businesses up to R89bn a year, at Fin24
  • Cape Town calls on Transport Minister to declare 'state of emergency' over train attacks, at News24
  • 'Prasa is fighting a losing battle', at Cape Argus

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page