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, 21 November 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Another Cape Town cop killed, off duty and unarmed outside his home

TimesLive reports that the Hawks are investigating the murder of 40-year-old Mitchells Plain detective, Vuyani Fani, who was shot outside his Cape Town home while he was unarmed and off-duty.  The police sergeant, who was stationed with the Mitchells Plain detective branch, was killed in Site B Khayelitsha by three unidentified gunmen on Sunday evening.  Western Cape police spokesperson Sgt Noloyiso Rwexana said the attackers took only Fani's cellphone.  He had been unarmed.  Fani's murder is the latest in a spate of police killings in the area.  On 10 August, 33-year-old Constable Arthur Matu's charred remains were found in his burnt-out vehicle in the same area.  Another police officer, Constable Siyamcela Ncipa, 37, was shot and killed 10 days later in Khayelitsha and his firearm was stolen.  On the same weekend, in Delft, Constable Lonwabo Kili was also shot dead and his firearm was stolen.

Read the full original report by Aron Hyman at TimesLive


MINING LABOUR

Amcu raising stakes by using Sibanye wage strike to widen its protest against Lonmin layoffs?

David McKay writes that the timing of a strike called by the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (Amcu) at Sibanye-Stillwater’s West Rand gold operations is curious, coming less than a month before the summer holiday season kicks in.  One theory is that Amcu’s attempt to improve upon the three-year wage settlement accepted this month by the producer’s other three unions, including the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), is only part of the equation.  McKay suggests that by far the greater factor at work is Amcu’s desire to widen its protest against planned retrenchments at Lonmin, the company Sibanye-Stillwater is due to take over pending a Competition Tribunal deliberation on 23 November.  But whether Amcu will be successful in extracting either a better wage deal from Sibanye-Stillwater, or have any effect on Lonmin retrenchments is highly questionable and the likeliest answer is no on either count.  Nonetheless, Sibanye-Stillwater has a strike on its hands.  About two-thirds of the workforce at its Driefontein mine is Amcu-aligned, therefore the potential stayaway might be better observed at that mine’s shafts, whereas Amcu’s influence at Kloof is much smaller where the NUM predominates.  But, at both mines, the potential for disruption is significantly high.

Read the full original of this report at Miningmx

Amcu confirms its members to strike at Sibanye-Stillwater gold mines from Wednesday night

EWN reports that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has confirmed that its members will go on strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines on Wednesday night.  This strike follows a breakdown in wage negotiations between the union and the producer and close to 15,000 workers will apparently be downing tools.  Amcu said it simply did not make sense that many of the company’s executives earned millions of rands yet the company was unable to meet the demand of a R12,500 monthly minimum wage.  According Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa, the problem in the gold sector was not productivity, but “how the wealth generated from the sector is distributed among the role players."  Mathunjwa said it was clear that executives wanted to benefit alone.  “Our members are prepared to do this in order to achieve a living wage in this sector.  It is clear that affordability is not in question.  The elephant in the room is how to share this cake which is currently benefitting a few.”  Amcu called on the employer to return to negotiations and review its offer.

Read the original of this short report by Katleho Sekhotho at EWN


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / GO-SLOWS

Stun grenades fired as MyCiTi strike leads to lockdown of Cape Town civic centre on Wednesday

News24 reports that the City of Cape Town's civic centre was locked down on Wednesday morning after striking MyCiTi bus employees protested on the ground floor of the building.  Tweets and video on social media showed a group of protesters on the ground floor of the civic centre, surrounded by police.  Teargas and stun grenades were also fired in the area.  MyCiTi employees have been striking since 15 October over a number of labour demands.  One of the protest leaders, Johannes Gordon, claimed that they entered the building because the city's metro police had said they would be assisted in speaking with new mayor Dan Plato.  EWN reported on Wednesday that one of the companies that employed MyCiTi staff, Kidrogen, indicated that it had had to sack 80 of the workers to mitigate the impact of the strike.  The 80 employees had not reported to work for five consecutive days during the unprotected strike, going against the company's disciplinary code of conduct.

Read the short original report at News24. Read too, Kidrogen sacks 80 striking MyCiTi workers, hires new staff, at EWN

Bodies pile up as more KZN mortuaries join go-slow

Daily News reports that bodies are piling up at state-run mortuaries around KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) with the spread across the province of a go-slow by health department staff over non-paid wages and “hazardous” working conditions.  On Thursday, workers at the Fort Napier Medico-Legal Mortuary in Pietermaritzburg went on a go-slow and started processing only two bodies daily as opposed to the norm of 12.  The facility had a backlog of 26 bodies on the day.  Apparently, 25 bodies were transferred to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, but on Tuesday an employee indicated that “we are again sitting with 26 bodies”.  On Monday, the Pinetown Medico-Legal Mortuary had 32 bodies, while Park Rynie Medico-Legal Mortuary had 12 bodies awaiting post-mortems.  The Public and Allied Workers’ Union of SA (Pawusa) said the impasse dated back to 2006 when the department took over the mortuaries from the police service.  Pawusa’s Halalisani Gumede asserted that at that time, experienced and newly-employed workers were graded the same.  According to Gumede, there had been ongoing talks with the department, followed by strikes and go-slows, but management had failed to come up with a solution to the problem.  He reported that the Magwaza Maphalala (Gale) Street mortuary, which received between 40 and 50 bodies a week, was expected to the join the action on Wednesday.  Gumede also said there have been talks with shop stewards to have staff at all provincial mortuaries join the action.

Read the full original report by Chris Ndaliso at Daily News

eThekwini lifeguards on go-slow over backpay related to use of jet skis

Daily News reports that the eThekwini Municipality launched its festive season plan last Thursday and announced the purchase of 12 new jet skis to be used in rescues.  However, these jet skis are now gathering dust as municipal lifeguards are on a go-slow, refusing to use the craft should a swimmer be drowning.  The lifeguards have apparently been on an unofficial go-slow since last Thursday, allegedly due to backpay not having been paid since 2007 in respect of the use of the craft.  In addition to their salaries, the lifeguards are apparently paid extra for being able to use the jet skis.  But, the municipality has denied refusing backpay to about 30 of its lifeguards for the use of the power craft.  Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the city was unaware of the go-slow and added that back payments would be made next month or in January.  He added that any kind of strike action or go-slow by lifeguards would be against new legislation in terms of the Labour Relations Act, which deemed lifeguards essential services personnel.  At the festive season launch last week, Mayor Zandile Gumede said 122 temporary lifeguards had been employed to complement the permanent staff.

Read the full original report by Anelisa Kubheka at Daily News


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Cities study implications of ConCourt judgment on notice for protests

BusinessLive writes that the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) finding that it is unconstitutional to require notice to be given to a municipality before a gathering of more than 15 people can be held has raised questions about how local authorities can plan for protests.  The court delivered the landmark judgment on Monday, declaring section 12(1)(a) of the Regulation of Gathering Act to be constitutionally invalid in that it made failure to give a municipality notice or adequate notice of a gathering a criminal offence.  Before the judgment, only a group of fewer than 15 people did not have to give notice to a municipality.  Johannesburg public safety MMC Michael Sun said the city would have to digest the judgment, but also stated that a clear line would have to be drawn between a peaceful protest and a violent one as the latter was not protected in the constitution.  Sun said the city might have to make procedural adjustments following the judgment.  He indicated that the notice period helped with planning, including deployment of officers and route planning.  Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga’s spokesman said the judgment would have to be studied to determine the implications in planning for protests in municipalities.  Tshwane experiences a very high number of protests

Read the full original of the report by Claudi Mailovich at BusinessLive

Cosatu to march in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday against 'neo-liberal offensive' and retrenchments

TimesLive reports that in response to what it called a "neo-liberal offensive" targeting workers, Cosatu will march on the KwaZulu-Natal premier's office in the provincial capital on Thursday.  The labour federation’s provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize said retrenchments in the public sector, most notably at the SA Broadcasting Corporation, had prompted their call to action.  The move toward industrial mass action was announced at a media briefing in Durban on Tuesday.  Mkhize stated:  "This is the beginning of our response as Cosatu to this renewed attack against the workers and the poor.  Jobs are being shed, adding to growing of unemployment."  He indicated that they took issue with looming retrenchments at the public broadcaster and the Langalibalele municipality in central KZN, as well as calls for the privatisation of state-owned enterprises, and the public service wage bill being cut.  “We are committed to defend all workers in different sectors from this revived offensive by neo-liberalism.  This is a clear indication that capitalists and our government officials continue to use workers as scapegoats," Mkhize warned.

Read the full original report by Jeff Wicks at TimesLive


PRICES / TARIFFS

Consumer inflation quickens slightly in October to 5.1%

Fin24 reports that that Statistics SA announced on Wednesday that annual consumer price inflation had come in at 5.1% for October, 0.2 percentage points higher than the 4.9% for September.  On average, prices increased by 0.5% between September 2018 and October 2018.  The figure was in line with the expectations of analysts, with food prices edging lower while the impact of higher global oil prices was subdued.  TreasuryOne, in a note to clients following the announcement, said the inflation figure meant there was a possibility of an interest rate hike on Thursday, as "inflation is creeping towards the upper end of the inflation band".  The SA Reserve Bank's monetary policy committee will be announcing its repo rate decision on Thursday.

Read the full original report at Fin24


SALARY INCREASES

Cosatu vehemently opposes Ramaphosa approving a 4% pay increase for public office bearers

BusinessLive reports that the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers has recommended a 4% pay raise for public office bearers, including the president, ministers, members of the judiciary, mayors and traditional leaders, among others.  But, the government has consistently complained of an unsustainable public sector wage bill that amounts to more than R587bn.  If the recommendation gets the green light, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s salary will increase from R2,989,845 to R3,109,439 a year, while chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s pay will go up to R2,938,488 from R2,825,470.  The remuneration commission makes annual recommendations regarding the salaries, allowances and benefits of public office bearers, which can only be implemented with the approval of the president.  On Tuesday, union federation Cosatu called on Ramaphosa to reject the recommendation.  Describing the 4% as “outlandish”, the federation said it was inconceivable “for any properly adjusted people” to effect such hikes in the face of mass retrenchments and unemployment, the deteriorating socio-economic status of the majority of South Africans and increasing poverty rates.

Read the full original report by Theto Mahlakoana at BusinessLive. Read Cosatu’s press statement in this regard at Politicsweb


SALARY ADMINISTRATION

Gauteng to use biometric recognition system to identify ERWP workers and beat corruption

The Citizen reports that the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) has turned to technology for a solution to increased corruption within Gauteng’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).  The new identification validation system was unveiled on Tuesday.  The biometric system will verify the identity of every beneficiary through facial recognition and fingerprint data.  It will then provide a record of the beneficiaries’ attendance and hours worked, and generate payment reports.  DID MEC Jacob Mamabolo said the new technology would deal with several issues that had “plagued” the EPWP previously, including corruption.  It would also streamline administration that previously allowed identity duplications and ghost beneficiaries.  “The auditor-general has consistently highlighted concerns that the EPWP system was not secure enough and that there were too many loopholes allowing the system to be manipulated,” Mamabolo pointed out.  He went on to claim:  “You can’t beat this system.  It is going to clean up EPWP.”

Read the full original report by Chisom Jenniffer Okoye at The Citizen


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Jacob Zuma’s intervention bolsters Tom Moyane’s ConCourt challenge of his dismissal

BusinessLive reports that former president Jacob Zuma has backed up axed SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane’s legal challenge in the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) against his dismissal, which followed the recommendations of a commission of inquiry.  Zuma has given sworn evidence that he never intended that the Sars commission of inquiry “deal with employment contracts of individual employees”.  This pits the former president directly against President Cyril Ramaphosa, his successor, who is the first respondent in Moyane’s application in his fight to get his job back.  Ramaphosa set up the Sars inquiry, though it was initially announced last year by then finance minister Malusi Gigaba.  It was not implemented by Zuma, who sat on the matter until his removal in February.  Ramaphosa fired Moyane earlier this month, after Judge Robert Nugent, who heads the Sars commission, submitted an interim report recommending that Moyane be dismissed.  In an affidavit filed at the ConCourt on Tuesday, Zuma said the Sars commission had deviated from its originally intended purpose.  Zuma’s evidence will be used by Moyane’s legal team to bolster their argument that the Nugent inquiry did not have the authority to make recommendations about employment issues, and so acted unlawfully.

Read the full original of the report by Karyn Maughan at BusinessLive


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Nedlac’s executive director Madoda Vilakazi and others faces action over financial irregularities

BusinessLive reports that the fallout over financial irregularities at the country’s social dialogue forum, the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), has deepened, with its executive director Madoda Vilakazi and three other officials facing disciplinary action.  In October, auditor-general Kimi Makwetu said the body, which is an entity of the department of labour, had contravened supply chain management regulations, resulting in irregular expenditure.  On Friday, the body’s management committee ordered that disciplinary action be instituted against Vilakazi for interfering in the appointment of service providers, irregularly awarding contracts to his preferred providers and conflict of interest, among other transgressions.  This followed a presentation by forensic investigators who recommended that "disciplinary action" be taken against the director and the three supply chain officials.  CFO Mfanufikile Daza had previously been placed on suspension.  Labour minister Mildred Oliphant said the matter would be finalised within four weeks.

Read the full original report by Theto Mahlakoana at BusinessLive


WORKPLACE CRIME

Prasa guards who allegedly tried to rob fleet cars at agency’s HQ granted R2,000 bail each

The Citizen reports that the State on Tuesday failed to convince the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court that the 14 Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) guards, arrested for allegedly trying to rob the agency’s headquarters in the city, should be denied bail.  Magistrate Mali Mokoena disagreed with state prosecutor Tshomela Lizo that the members of the agency’s “business intelligence unit” were a flight risk and had intimidated witnesses.  Lizo argued the group was a threat to witnesses and that threats had been made in court.  But the magistrate said there was no proof that the accused had made the threats.  She released the suspects on R2,000 bail each and ordered that they don’t interfere with, or have any contact with witnesses.  The group was arrested after they allegedly pointed firearms at guards, tied them up and demanded keys to the agency’s parked fleet.

Read the short original report by Sipho Mabena at The Citizen

 


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