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 roundup of weekend news, see
summaries of our selection of South African
labour-related stories that appeared since
Friday, 2 November 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Police nab seven robbers in connection with death of guard in Katlehong filling station shootout

News24 reports that seven suspects have been arrested after a security guard was shot and killed during a robbery at a service station in Katlehong, Johannesburg.  On Monday, a group of armed attackers attacked a group of security guards during the robbery, which resulted in the shooting of one guard who later died in hospital.  A multi-disciplinary team arrested suspects on Friday.  Following the arrests, the team went to a second house where they arrested a 34-year-old woman after she was found to be illegally in possession of an assault rifle.  "The team also seized four firearms and ammunition, a sedan and a bakkie which are suspected to have been used during the robbery at the filling station in Katlehong," police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said.  The suspects are likely to face charges of murder, armed robbery, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition and possession of a suspected stolen motor vehicle.  National police commissioner General Khehla John Sitole praised the multi-disciplinary team for the speedy arrests.

Read the original of this report by Christina Pitt in full at News24


MINING LABOUR

Gold Fields obtains court interdict against NUM as South Deep retrenchment strike takes hostile turn

Miningmx reports that strike action began on Friday at Gold Fields Limited’s (GF’s) South Deep mine following an earlier decision by the gold producer to retrench staff.  According to the company, between 150 and 200 members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) thereupon blockaded entrances to the mine.  Gold Fields CEO, Nick Holland said in a statement on Sunday:  “We had no choice but to seek a court injunction as the NUM branch leadership refused to provide us with guarantees that they would respect the rights of non-striking workers.”  GF claimed that NUM members had prevented employees from reporting for work and apparently there were also incidents of property damage at the mine.  The producer said it had advised employees not to report for work for the time being.  “It means that production will be stopped until the situation has normalised and it is safe for our people to return to work,” said GF, with only limited essential services teams working at the mine.  GF announced on 14 August that it would be cutting 1,560 permanent and contractor jobs in an effort to bring the mine into profitability.  South Deep currently employs 3,614 full-time employees and 1,940 contractors.  The company warned that the strike action could imperil further jobs and materially decrease South Deep’s chances of improving its financial performance.  It said it feared the NUM was waging a war of disinformation.

Read this report by David McKay in full at Miningmx. See too, Striking workers block access to Gold Fields mine, at Moneyweb

Sibanye-Stillwater ‘much closer’ to reaching a wage settlement with unions

Mining Weekly reports that Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater, says the company is “much closer” to reaching a reasonable settlement with labour unions over wages and conditions of service for employees for the period from July 2018 to June 2021.  The unions involved are the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and Uasa.  “On the ground, we are much closer to a reasonable settlement with our regions and our own employees.  We think we’ve made good advances and we are in no rush to settle unless it is a settlement that is fair to our employees, our shareholders and to other stakeholders,” Froneman highlighted during a conference call on Thursday.  He explained that Sibanye-Stillwater believed that any wage agreement must “reflect the inflationary environment”.  Unions and some gold producers previously agreed to a three-year deal, concluded under the auspices of the Minerals Council SA (MCSA), which would allow for increases to the basic wage of so-called Category 4 to 8 employees of R575 in each of the next three years.  For underground entry-level employees, a 7% increase was agreed for the first year.  So-called ‘miners & artisans’ and ‘officials’ received increases of 4.25% in the first year of the agreement and increases equal to consumer inflation in each of the following two years.

The original of this report is at Mining Weekly. Read too, Sibanye-Stillwater plays hard ball on wages as gold division faces uncertain future, at Miningmx

Gupta-linked JIC Mining apparently to be liquidated over R60m debt, 800 jobs on the line

Bloomberg reports that a mining contractor owned by the Gupta family has been put into liquidation, according to persons with knowledge of the matter.  Westdawn Investments, which does business as JIC Mining Services, apparently has debt of almost R60m.  The company seemingly received a liquidation letter on Friday from a liquidator appointed by the High Court.  Kal Tire Mining, which JIC owes R900,000, apparently brought the application.  About 800 people stand to lose their jobs and CEO Jagannath Arora will leave the country to return to India, said a source.  In 2017, JIC did work on the Maseve concentrator plant, which belonged to Platinum Group Metals at the time.  The producer of the precious metal paid for the services, but JIC’s suppliers and debtors have reportedly not been reimbursed.  JIC’s parent company, Oakbay Investments, is said to be setting up new offices and will trade as MJ Mining.  Members of the Gupta family, who had close ties with former president Jacob Zuma, have resigned from management positions in the companies they controlled.

Read the original in full of this report by Loni Prinsloo at Fin24

Police arrest 54 illegal miners in Randfontein on Thursday

Randfontein Herald reports that police on the West Rand made their intentions for the festive season clear when a large number of arrests were made during a joint Rural Safety Operation in Randfontein on Thursday.  Captain David Maponya, acting Vispol Commander, confirmed a total of 54 people were arrested following the discovery of a major illegal mining operation in an open piece of land next to the R28.  Those caught were searched for anything that might be illegal and numerous types of mining tools such as spades, shovels and pickaxes were confiscated.  Brigadier Jacob Manamela, the Randfontein Police station commander, said at a briefing:  “We are tired of crime.  We cannot allow criminals to take advantage of the community.  It’s [almost] the festive season and I want our presence to be felt.”  He added that crimes currently of concern to police include armed robberies, business robberies, theft of motor vehicles and hijackings.

Read the original in full of this report by Clinton Botha at The Citizen

Mantashe could face charge of assault for ordering mining summit delegate to be ‘dealt with’

Saturday Citizen reports that Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is facing possible prosecution for common assault.  In a statement to police in Boksburg, Orapeleng Ben Setlhauno, president of the SA National Mining Council, said that the minister instructed police to “deal” with him during the mining summit held in July.  The 54-year-old said that after the instruction, police slapped and kicked him as they dragged him out of the summit, breaking his left leg, in full view of other delegates.  Setlhauno said his “crime” at the summit was objecting to the former Chamber of Mines of SA using its new name, the Mineral Council South Africa, in the programme, as the name was subject to legal challenge.  He indicated in his statement that the programme director on the day, Sello Helepi, ordered him to sit and, when he refused, “… Mantashe went to the mike uninvited [by Helepi].  He order (sic) the police to deal with me”.  Setlhauno, of Mafikeng in North West, said that after that instruction, about eight police officers approached him and told him to leave.  When he refused, the officers apparently attacked him.  Boksburg North police spokesperson Captain Pearl van Staad said the case had been elevated to provincial detectives for investigation.  “The docket was sent to the deputy director of public prosecutions for a decision on October 24 and has not returned yet.  I can confirm that the suspect is Mr Gwede Mantashe,” she added.

Read the original in full of this report by Sipho Mabena at The Citizen

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Lonmin’s dire financial status laid bare in court case over social and labour plans, at Moneyweb
  • Tragic seismic event of April continues to reverberate through Sibanye-Stillwater, at Miningmx


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Numsa faces R1m fine and Irvin Jim R100,000 personally for violence during plastics sector strike

BusinessLive reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) faces a R1m fine, and its general secretary Irvin Jim might have to pay R100,000 personally, if an interim Labour Court order that found them in contempt is made final.  The court ruled on the Plastics Converters Association of SA’s (Pcasa’s) urgent application on Friday, following a previous interdict against the use of violence and intimidation by Numsa members during its lawful strike.  Union members are accused of using petrol bombs, damaging property and assaulting an employee.  Pcasa CEO Johan Pieterse said the union was also expected to face a damages claim.  The association is still quantifying the destruction caused to property during the strike, which he claimed was already in excess of R70m.  The strike officially started on 15 October, and two days later the Pcasa unsuccessfully attempted to have the strike declared unlawful.  But on 19 October, the court granted an interim interdict preventing Numsa, its members and supporters from taking part in or instigating ‘‘unlawful behaviour’’ involving any property or infringing the rights of any staff member or visitor to the premises of Pcasa members.  The association approached the court on Friday to ask that Numsa, Jim and Vusumzi Mabho, the union’s national co-ordinator for the plastic industry, be found in contempt of court.  On an interim basis, the court ruled in Pcasa’s favour and imposed a fine of R1m on Numsa and R100,000 separately on Jim and Mabho.  If Numsa, Jim and Mabho cannot show cause as to why the order should not stand, they will have to pay up.

Read the original in full of this report by Claudi Mailovich at BusinessLive. See too, Truck set alight during plastics protest in Isando, at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Numsa condemns shooting of ‘peaceful’ picketing members at KZN plastic firm, at The Citizen


LABOUR AND POLITICS

Numsa gets go-ahead to register Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party

EWN reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has been given the go ahead to register a political party after its attempts to register a workers' party were blocked in July by the Independent Electorate Commission due to a problem with the party's logo.  The Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party (SRWP) will be registered to contest the general elections next year.  Structures are expected to be finalized in coming weeks with interim officials being put in place.  Numsa spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola commented:  “We welcome the decision which is going to strengthen the work that we’ve already been doing on the ground.”

This short report by Ahmed Kajee is at EWN. Read too, Numsa’s new political party outlines aims, at EWN. And also, Socialist revolutionary party unapologetic in its fight against capitalism, at EWN


EXECUTIVE PAY / WAGE GAP

Top three executives at SABC together earn packages totaling over R12m

TimesLive reports that Minister of Communication Nomvula Mokonyane revealed on Thursday that the total cost to company of the top three executives at the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was R12.1-million.  She said the chief executive officer earned a remuneration package of R 5.1-million‚ the chief operations officer R4-million and the chief financial officer R3-million.  Mokonyane advised that the packages amounted to 1.1% of the current salary bill of the public broadcaster, although they were "significantly less than the previous crop of executive directors".  At a briefing on Wednesday‚ CEO Madoda Mxakwe said the SABC had suffered a net loss of R622-million for the 2017-2018 financial year‚ making it "technically insolvent" and unable to fulfil its financial obligations.  The SABC announced earlier in the week that nearly 1‚000 permanent employees and about 1‚200 freelancers might be affected by job cuts.  Mokonyane said to MPs on Thursday that the turnaround of the broadcaster could not be based on the laying off of workers but a total review of the business and its funding model.  Finance minister Tito Mboweni has agreed to meet and engage on the state of the SABC and the turnaround plan within the next three weeks.

Read the original of this report by Iavan Pijoos in full at TimesLive


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

President Ramaphosa fires defiant Sars commissioner Tom Moyane

BusinessLive reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa fired SA Revenue Services (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane on Thursday.  Ramaphosa accepted the recommendation of Sars commission of inquiry chairman, retired judge Robert Nugent, that Moyane be axed, and on Thursday served him with a notice of termination of employment.  The president noted in the letter of termination that Nugent’s interim report, which recommended Moyane’s firing, painted a "deeply concerning picture" of the current state of the tax agency.  Ramaphosa said Moyane’s refusal to contribute to the work of the Nugent inquiry had counted against the former tax boss in arriving at his decision.  He went on to indicate that the interim report made it clear that the best course of action would be the termination of Moyane’s services.  Acting commissioner Mark Kingon will remain in the role until the president fills the post.

Read this report by Natasha Marrian in full at BusinessLive. Read The Presidency’s press statement in this regard at Politicsweb. Read too, Tom Moyane is down but not yet totally knocked out, at The Citizen

Ramaphosa hits back at Moyane in court papers, saying his ConCourt application is 'moot'

Fin24 reports that according to Constitutional Court (ConCourt) documents lodged by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday, the relief sought by former SA Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane from the court "has been rendered moot" by the decision to fire him.  Moyane was fired by Ramaphosa on Thursday, which he is seeking to overturn on the basis that it was "unlawful".  In his affidavit, Ramaphosa argues that Moyane has not raised any valid basis in law for him (Ramaphosa) to "disestablish" either a SARS disciplinary inquiry against Moyane or the Nugent commission of inquiry into SARS.  "National interest demanded that both inquiries proceed and reach finality as a matter of urgency," Ramaphosa indicates.  Moyane brought the ConCourt application against Ramaphosa as first respondent as well as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Judge Robert Nugent (chairman of the commission of inquiry), Advocate Azhar Bham (chairman of the disciplinary inquiry), Professor Michael Katz (member of the Nugent inquiry), Advocate Mabongi Masilo and Vuyo Kahla.  Moyane wants the ConCourt to order Ramaphosa to halt either the disciplinary inquiry or the Nugent commission.  He also wants the court to declare as unlawful the participation of Gordhan in either of the inquiries.

Read the original in full of this report by Carin Smith at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Moyane axing draws mixed reactions, with EFF rejecting the move, on page 4 of Saturday Citizen of 3 October 2018


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT TO WORK

Cape Town Metrorail commuters hopeful about new rail enforcement unit

EWN reports that some Metrorail commuters say they are optimistic that the new rail enforcement unit in Cape Town will help combat crime on trains.  “Travelling with the train is not safe.  We would feel safer with security officers,” said one commuter.  Another commuter said more needed to be done:  “There must be more guards on the trains to guard passengers from doing anything illegal.”  Last week, 100 officers were deployed to Cape Town trains and stations following an initiative by the City, the provincial government and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).  While some commuters said they have seen the officers in action, many other indicated that they had not as yet.

This short report by Kaylynn Palm is at EWN


OTHER REPORTS

CoGTA minister acknowledges firefighters battling Cape fires

ANA reports that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister Zweli Mkhize has extended his best wishes and acknowledged the firefighters and emergency workers involved in fighting the raging fires in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.  In a statement on Sunday, he noted that they were “spending sleepless nights” battling the fires, evacuating vulnerable people, and rescuing those who were helpless and at risk.  The Western Cape continues to face fierce fires, with the Garden Route district being the most affected.  Firefighters, emergency medical services, police, traffic officers, defence force members, SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) officials, and other relief and rescue workers have been deployed in the affected areas.  “These are our first responders who have been on the frontline fighting fire as well as averting a humanitarian disaster ever since the fires broke out.  We acknowledge their hard work and professionalism, and wish them strength and success,” Mkhize said in the statement.

Read the original in full of this report at The Citizen

 


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