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, 25 September 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Blame for parliamentary employee’s suicide said to be ex-MP’s bullying

The Citizen reports that the parliamentary manager who shot himself in his office last week laid the blame in his suicide note for his death at the door of a former ANC MP.  He claimed that several parliamentary structures failed to support him from the abuse he was suffering at the ex-MP’s hands, after he became his manager in parliament’s international relations and protocol division.  The official, Lennox Garane, 57, apparently left a note saying his suicide was a protest against 20 months of bullying.  The note was circulated among mourners at his memorial service.  Headed “It’s A Protest Suicide”‚ the note described his daily misery working for the MP.  He claimed to have submitted a grievance, which the MP refused to consider.  He also claimed to have submitted complaints to the parliamentary accounting officer, as well as speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chair Thandi Modise – all of which proved futile.  “Twenty months on‚ I could not take it any more – I had to resort to this protest action to get the message across to the perpetrators and protectors of unfairness,” Garane wrote.  Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli has promised to launch an inquiry into Garane’s suicide.  On her website, ‘Notes from the House’, Moira Levy, former manager in parliament’s communication services, documented her and other parliamentary workers’ daily struggles working there.

Read more of this The Citizen report at SA Labour News. Read too, 'Bullied' employee quoted verses from the Old Testament in suicide note, at Timeslive. And also, Parliament cautions against speculation following suicide of official, at EWN


VIOLENCE AT SCHOOLS

Eastern Cape teacher who hit a pupil 58 times on the hand faces assault charge

Daily Dispatch reports that the Department of Basic Education in the Eastern Cape has confirmed that one of its teachers is facing trial on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.  The Mbizana high school teacher allegedly dished out 58 lashes to a 16-year-old who failed to submit an assignment in July.  The pupil’s arm is now fractured.  The teacher has apparently was not been suspended and is still at the school, but the pupil has yet to return to class.  Departmental spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said on Sunday:  “We have to allow the law to take its course and [we] can only act after the court’s outcome.  If the teacher is found guilty‚ he would definitely be fired.”  A source said the teacher got angry with the pupil’s response as to why he did not do his assignment and hit the pupil 58 times with a plastic pipe on the right hand.

A short report by Aretha Linden is at Timeslive

Fatally stabbed teacher’s family need time to heal

SowetanLive reports that the family of Gadimang Mokolobate, the teacher who was stabbed to death at school, allegedly by a pupil, could not hide their anger during his funeral service at the weekend.  Mokolobate died 12 days ago after the stabbing incident.  He was a mathematics teacher at Ramotshere Secondary School in Dinokana outside Zeerust.  His funeral service was attended by pupils, different organisations and dignitaries like Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, Premier Job Mokgoro and North West University vice-chancellor Professor Dan Kgwadi.  Mourners broke into tears when Mokolobate's uncle Kenosi Sebigi asked the government and the ANC to do something about such crimes.  "Our hearts are torn apart about what happened in our family,” he stated.  Mokolobate was killed after allegedly clashing with the 17-year-old pupil after the teen jumped the queue while waiting to be served food in the school's feeding scheme.  North West MEC for education Sello Lehari said he did not believe in corporal punishment:  "Two wrongs cannot make a right, bringing back corporal punishment will be like bringing more fights between learners and teachers.  The best way is to educate our children to respect their teachers, starting from home."  SA Democratic Teachers’ Union chairperson Mxolisi Bomvana said schools were not safe.  "It is true that teachers have to do their daily tasks under a cloud of fear, that if you reprimand learners, they might turn against you.

Read this report by Boitumelo Tshehle in full at SowetanLive

Poor discipline of violent learners forcing teachers to quit, says Sadtu

Cape Argus reports that violence at schools is causing teachers to leave their jobs before their careers are over.  This is according to Nomusa Cembi, spokesperson for the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), who said the disciplinary measures taken presently against pupils left teachers feeling vulnerable.  Recently a teacher in North West was stabbed to death by a pupil and in Gauteng a pupil was arrested for pointing a gun at a teacher.  Cembi stated that pupils’ right to be educated overshadowed laws aimed at protecting teachers.  “A teacher can go to a police station to report a learner’s threat, but at the end of the day the suspended learner comes back to the school and the teacher has to stomach that, so... teachers leave (their jobs),” she observed.  Cembi said instilling discipline in pupils at schools was problematic because when teachers asked parents to visit schools to address their children’s behavioural problems, parents either did not show up or passed on the responsibility of addressing their children’s behaviour to the schools.  Zahraa McDonald of the Centre for International Teacher Education at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology said school violence was a major concern for the government, the teaching profession and society.  Despite numerous policies and strategies aimed at reducing incidents of violence at schools, schools were not able to deal effectively with violence displayed by pupils.

Read this report by Athina May in full at Cape Argus

Grade 12 pupil in court for assault on teacher

SABC News reports that a grade 12 learner from Modubatse Secondary School is expected to appear in the Bolobedu Magistrate’s Court this week on a charge of assault.  Malepe Ramalepe allegedly assaulted and poured a bottle of water on the face of his female teacher.  During his previous appearance, the 18-year old Ramalepe elected to represent himself.  The state told the court that they were still compiling a profile of Ramalepe.  The alleged incident happened on the school premises after the teacher allegedly refused to return Ramalepe’s phone, which had been confiscated.  Ramalepe has been in custody since his arrest last week.

This short report by Pimani Baloyi is at SABC News


MINING LABOUR

Two involved in illegally mining in Giyani in Limpopo killed

SABC News reports that two illegal miners have died and another hospitalised after illegally mining at an unused mine outside Giyani in Limpopo.  Police spokesperson Moatshe Ngoepe said police made the discovery after they were called to the mine, following reports that illegal miners had been trapped.  Ngoepe indicated:  “The SAPS in Giyani are investigating the death of two illegal miners who died during an incident which occurred at an old unused mine between Xikukwani and Mavalani villages in the outskirts of Giyani.  It is alleged that police received calls that there were people who have been trapped inside this mine.  They reacted swiftly and all the three were removed and two already passed away and one was taken to hospital.”  Earlier last week, another illegal miner died at a disused mine at Hlaneki, also outside Giyani.

This short report is at SABC News

Bushveld Minerals and Amcu resolve unprotected industrial action

Mining Weekly reports that Bushveld Minerals has reached an agreement with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), thereby ending a strike at Bushveld Vametco Alloys’ mine, near Brits.  The unprotected industrial action started on 5 September, bringing production at the mine to a halt.  It was called off on Friday and employees have returned to work.  The parties agreed that a settlement agreement, signed in May in respect of payments in lieu of employee share options schemes (Esops) for 2013 to 2017, was valid and recognised.  Additionally, Vametco will pay employees an amount in lieu of Esops for this year on the same basis as the Esops payment made as part of the May 2018 settlement agreement.  The payments will be structured as a two-part payment.  The company and Amcu have further committed to accelerate discussions for establishing a framework for a new Esops structure to be implemented from January 2019, as well as processes to deal with all remaining labour issues going forward.  These will include clear mechanisms for escalating disputes to regional and national union leadership, as well as to the company’s management team.  Bushveld Minerals CEO Fortune Mojapelo said the agreement was “a positive outcome for all parties”.

Read this report in full at Mining Weekly

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Tear gas and handcuffs at Mantashe’s meeting near Xolobeni village, at BusinessLive
  • Cops accused of using excessive force in Xolobeni protest, at IOL News


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Germiston mortuary strike over protective gear ends

SABC News reports that according to Gauteng Pathology Services, the strike of more than two week at the Germiston mortuary, east of Johannesburg, has ended.  Earlier this month employees at the facility went on strike due to lack of protective gear and safety equipment.  Workers from other mortuaries across Gauteng had to be called in to help deal with the backlog.  Acting Gauteng Pathology Services CEO Mosou Morule confirmed that they have reached a settlement with the employees who went on strike.  He said the complaints about the lack of adequate safety equipment had been addressed.  “They were given the equipment and they are now fully back at work and at present there are no backlogs.  The only backlog that could be there would not be due to the strike but due to the usual high numbers of bodies received at the Germiston government mortuary,” Morule observed.

This short report by Sashin Naidoo is at SABC News


EMPLOYMENT EQUITY / AFFIRMATIVE ACTION / EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

Employment equity amendment bill seeks to set sector-specific targets

BusinessLive reports that the cabinet has approved for public comment the publication of a draft law allowing sector-specific numerical targets to be set for employment equity.  Currently the Employment Equity Act (EEA) provides for a system of self-imposed targets that companies set on the basis of the national economically active population.  The changes proposed in the Employment Equity Amendment Bill provide that the minister of labour, in consultation with the stakeholders of a particular sector, will set employment equity sector-specific numerical targets.  The bill also seeks to strengthen compliance mechanisms.  According to Tabea Kabinde, chair of the Employment Equity Commission, sector-specific targets were necessary because business was not achieving the demanding targets determined on the basis of the national economically active population.  She said it was considered desirable to set targets which were more achievable.  "Sector targets are more realistic to reach because they talk to what peers are achieving within the sector," Kabinde stated.

Read this report by Linda Ensor in full at BusinessLive


HEALTHCARE / MEDICAL SCHEMES / NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

Health sector unions cautious over Ramaphosa’s stimulus package

EWN reports that unions in the health sector have questioned those aspects of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s stimulus package that would see funding to immediately buy beds and linen, saying a quick fix won’t solve the overcrowding at hospitals.  On Friday, Ramaphosa released details of his plan to revitalise the economy, part of which was to fill over 2,000 critical medical posts, including nursing and medical intern positions.  Simon Hlungwani of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) said much more was needed than simply adding beds, linen and filling a small number of vacant posts to revitalise the health sector.  “This should not be a quick fix, it needs proper planning.  However, we welcome with caution the initiative in making an effort in addressing the problem,” said Hlungwani.  Khaya Xaba of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) agreed that much more needed to be invested to turn around the sector for good.  “We need more medicine, better infrastructure and motivated staff and personnel.  Of course, that also speaks of issues of better working conditions.”

Read this report by Mia Lindeque in full at EWN


DISCRIMINATION / RACISM / SEXISM

‘Good Morning, Mlungu’ sees three eThekwini metro police officers fired

Sunday Tribune reports that an eThekwini metro police officer, and his two co-workers, got fired for greeting his boss with “Good morning, mlungu,” while the boss who referred to him by the k-word got a slap on the wrist.  However, all parties have denied using the derogatory words and the matter was last week taken on appeal.  The outcome was expected on Tuesday.  Constable Siyabonga Mzobe was found guilty of calling Captain Shane Spilsbury an mlungu, while Sphamandla Madida and Mthembeni Mtshali were found guilty of making a false statement on an affidavit, denying that the captain was referred to as an “mlungu” and averring that the latter had used the k-word.  The matter dates back to 2016 when a complaint was laid against Spilsbury for allegedly using the k-word.  He opened a counter claim and alleged he was called “mlungu”, while working at the Queensburgh police station.  The internal disciplinary charge sheet found that the word “mlungu” was derogatory.  SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) representative Joe Mabaso claimed that proper procedures were not followed in the disciplinary hearing against the three dismissed officers.  He elaborated:  “The hearing against Spilsbury was fast and hush-hush; we heard he was slapped with a warning.  The hearing against the three officers was not done properly because they were not part of it.  The hearing went ahead without their knowledge.”

Read this report by Siphelele Buthelezi in full at Sunday Tribune


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Alexander Forbes CEO Andrew Darfoor gets fired over loss of confidence and trust

BusinessLive reports that Alexander Forbes CEO Andrew Darfoor has been fired, two years into the top job.  In an unusual step, the company said in a statement on Tuesday that the board had lost confidence and trust in Darfoor, who was put in charge of the financial services group in September 2016.  Independent nonexecutive director Marilyn Ramplin will act as interim CEO while the company searches for a new boss to replace Darfoor, whose services have been terminated immediately.  Investors welcomed the news, with the share price jumping 6% in early trade on the JSE.

This short report by Andries Mahlangu is at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • SANDF splashes out R17m on suspended staff, at Timeslive


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Private cannabis is legal, but employees can still be fired for going to work stoned

BusinessLive reports that a labour advocate has warned that the legalisation of private marijuana use does not mean an employee cannot be fired for arriving at work stoned.  Advocate Tertius Wessels, legal director of Strata-g Labour Solutions, cautioned:  "Don’t light up a joint too soon, thinking you can’t get fired.  While the private use of cannabis has been legalised, going to work stoned is not a good idea.”  He said arriving at work stoned was the same as doing so drunk or under the influence of any narcotic substance.  Wessels observed:  “Being under the influence of mind-altering substances at work renders the employee unfit for duty and can be dangerous, especially for those who operate complex machinery or drive vehicles.  The issue with cannabis is that it can stay in the system for several hours, even days.  This is worrying, especially from an occupational health and safety perspective.”  He added that the workplace was "not considered a private space" and employers could take action against employees who were under the influence of cannabis.

Read this report in full at BusinessLive. Read too, No weed at work, on page 8 of City Press of 23 September 2018

 


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