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, 3 December 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY (OHS)

University of Zululand professor was murdered after discovery of fraudulent PhD syndicate

SowetanLive reports that the University of Zululand's dean of the faculty of arts, Professor Gregory Kamwendo, was allegedly killed after he uncovered a fraudulent PhD syndicate at the institution.  Kamwendo was shot dead at his home in Empangeni in May.  Two men, including a lecturer at the same institution, were arrested for his murder at the weekend.  Kamwendo's colleague allegedly hired a hitman for R10,000 to kill the professor because he had uncovered a fraudulent PhD syndicate in the university that involved three members of the academic staff.  A source close to the investigation claimed the university was facing a crisis of fraudulent PhD degrees being granted to students and the academic in question had been suspended for the alleged criminal activities.  The source said Kamwendo had received death threats before he was killed.  "The professor was fighting against this corruption.  There are a lot of people who have received PhDs through fraud," said the source.  Kamwendo, 53, was originally from Malawi and had been employed at the university since 2016.  Police said he was shot and killed in the driveway of his home.  He suffered multiple fatal shots to his upper body.

Read the full original report in this regard by Karabo Ledwaba at SowetanLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Mpumalanga cops hunting killers of police officer and her husband, at IOL News
  • Rigger who fell to his death at FNB Stadium wore safety equipment, on page 3 of Sowetan of 3 December 2018


MINING LABOUR

CEO of Gupta-owned JIC Mining Services gunned down in apparent hit

The Star reports that a chief executive of a Gupta-owned mining company, which is facing liquidation, has allegedly been assassinated in a movie-style drive-by hit.  JIC Mining Services chief executive Jagannath Prasad “JP” Arora was apparently ambushed by gunmen while driving on New Road, Midrand, on Saturday night.  His vehicle was sprayed with bullets, claiming his life a short while after the brazen attack that happened after 11 pm.  Arora, who was alone in the car, had tried to save his life by driving to a nearby hospital with his bleeding body riddled by bullets.  However, he did not make it due to the extensive injuries and loss of a lot of blood.  Police found him already dead in his car.  As the motive for Arora’s killing is unknown, an investigation could shed light on why he was gunned down and who wanted him dead.  Formally registered as Westdawn Investments, the Midrand-based JIC specialised in underground mining in the gold, platinum and chrome sectors.  It was paralysed by debt that climbed to almost R60million.  Roughly 800 workers are facing losing their jobs at JIC.

Read the full original report in this regard by Bongani Nkosi at The Star

NUM regional leadership in favour of a return to work at South Deep Mine

Business Report writes that the regional leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Sunday that it wanted an end to the four-week strike at Gold Fields’ South Deep mine.  Ndlela Radebe, regional chairperson of the PWV region, said the leadership had written to the branch for an end to the crippling strike.  Radebe also indicated that the union wanted an extension of the company’s offer aimed to end the strike, which expired on Friday.  The gold producer said on Sunday that it would consider an extension.  The NUM on Friday refused to end its four-week strike at the mine in Carletonville, rejecting the company’s last-ditch effort to end the industrial action.  The offer, which included an increase in severance payments and enhanced portable skills training opportunities for retrenched employees, ended on Friday.  Gold Fields CE Nick Holland said that the company was disappointed that the union had dug in its heels despite the proposed settlement offer having been jointly developed by the company and union leadership.  The mine has been closed since NUM downed tools on 2 November to oppose the retrenchments of 1,500 employees, including contractors.  According to the company, it has received overwhelming responses from employees not supporting the strike and wanting to return to work.

Read the full original report in this regard by Dineo Faku at Business Report

NUM's Gauteng regional chair stabbed at Gold Fields mass meeting

Fin24 reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has confirmed that its regional chairperson in Gauteng, Ndlela Radebe, was stabbed at a mass meeting in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg on Monday.  He was addressing striking NUM members at Gold Fields, who apparently want to return to work at South Deep mine when the incident occurred.  Radebe was injured as a result, but is in a stable condition.  The attack came a day after Radebe issued a directive to the South Deep branch to end the protracted strike over job cuts, which has entered its fifth week.  The NUM branch has so far refused to accept a revised offer by Gold Fields, which expired on Friday, saying the number of retrenchments had not been reduced.

In the above regard, the short original report by Tehillah Niselow is at Fin24

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Lily Mine business rescue practitioner steps down, on page 17 of Business Report of 3 December 2018


UNION NEWS / STRUCTURES / ORGANISATIONAL REPORTS

‘Great need’ to change ANC for a better calibre of leadership, says Cosatu

The Citizen reports that labour federation Cosatu has criticised the post-Nasrec ANC for showing weaknesses and failing to put across a coherent political message and programme that will satisfy the masses.  The nearly 2 million-member body also lambasted the ANC’s anti-corruption drive for its lack of political content and direction caused by its “mechanical” strategies.  This emerged from Cosatu’s three-day central executive committee (CEC) meeting held last week.  According to Cosatu, currently the central feature of the state was to see mass mobilisation against it as being counter-revolutionary, oppositional and therefore anti-ANC.  “This has led to a situation where a gap between the masses and the ANC develops and the ANC is forced to sometimes uncritically defend the inherent horrible deficiencies of the inherited colonial and capitalist state.  As a result, the masses are starting to gradually lose confidence in the capacity of the ANC to drive transformation,” Cosatu said.  It went on to observe that there was a great need to change the ANC so that it had calibre of leadership that would take the party into the future, guided by ANC resolutions.  Cosatu said it wanted a reconfigured alliance, a refrain of both Cosatu and the SA Communist Party (SACP) that has been ignored by the ANC for a number of years.  However, despite the differences over the alliance reconfiguration, the Cosatu CEC still reiterated the federation’s last congress resolution to campaign and vote for the ANC in the 2019 elections.

Read the full original report in the above regard by Eric Naki at The Citizen

Cosatu singing its old tune of establishing a workers’ bank

SowetanLive reports that in a move that seeks to shake up existing ownership patterns in the financial sector, trade union federation Cosatu has resuscitated its old resolution to establish a workers' bank.  This would be to ensure that workers have access to credit facilities, which they often do not qualify for at SA’s four major banks.  Several studies by the Public Service Commission (PSC) have found that the majority of the country's public servants, who are mostly Cosatu members, are over-indebted and are not eligible for home loans.  Last week, the federation announced that its recent central executive committee (CEC) meeting had decided that research projects should be undertake to explore the workers' bank model.  The decision to form such a bank stems from a 2009 Cosatu national congress.  Although at the time, U-Bank, formerly Teba bank, was identified as the ideal vehicle for the implementation of the resolution, the plan fell flat as Cosatu affiliates jostled for equitable shares in the entity.  Cosatu said its affiliates, which own billion-rand investment companies, would explore using union funds to raise capital for the venture.  The organisation's first deputy president, Mike Shingange, said they would also begin the licence application process.  Other trade unions and federations would be invited to be part of the venture.

Read the full original of the report in this regard by Theto Mahlakoana at SowetanLive


EXECUTIVE PAY

Study shows shareholder activism effective in reducing excessive executive pay packages

BusinessLive writes that as shareholder activism grows in scope and intensity, an increasing number of studies have been done internationally to determine its effectiveness.  A group of Stellenbosch academics has researched the effect of public shareholder activism on executive remuneration policies and practices of JSE-listed companies and state-owned enterprises.  This was based on newspaper articles and covered the period from January 2010 to December 2017.  Most activists’ apprehensions centred on the disclosure of performance-based incentives and justifications provided for bonuses in light of poor financial performance.  Others wanted answers on the unequal treatment of executives, the link between pay and performance, noncompliance with King III, the growing wage gap, retirement benefits, vesting periods of stock options and the lack of executive pay-related transparency in general.  The research found that executives’ total pay decreased significantly in the year after they were publicly targeted.  The same applied to cash bonuses and performance incentives.  The decline in total pay was significantly larger for CEOs than for non-CEOs.  Although the use of stock options increased over the research period, there wasn’t enough data to test whether negative media coverage had any effect in that regard.  In explanation of the general effect, the point was voiced that that by raising their concerns in public, shareholders were able to place executives in the spotlight.

Read the full original article in this regard by Linda Kallis, Kristen McKenzie, Suzette Viviers & Nadia Mans-Kemp at BusinessLive


RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

New communications minister 'at war' with SABC board over job cuts

City Press reports that new Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams is at war with the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board and has threatened to report it to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Parliament.  Just two weeks into her new job, Ndabeni-Abrahams is battling the board over the retrenchments of 981 permanent staff and 1,200 freelancers at the public broadcaster, and charges that board members refused to allow her to first negotiate a bailout with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni before going ahead with the job cuts.  The board received a blistering letter from the minister on Saturday morning, following a tense meeting at the SABC on Thursday where insiders say the minister demanded an end to the retrenchments.  A board source who attended the meeting said:  “The board has made it very clear that the financial crisis it inherited means that come February, March, there will be no money to pay anybody’s salaries.”  In the letter, Ndabeni-Abrahams mentions a R3 billion government guarantee that the SABC applied for, and a R1.2 billion loan facility from Treasury.  In the letter dated Friday, Ndabeni-Abrahams said she had been forced to cut ties with the board after a meeting on Thursday, and would “report this impasse to the president, Parliament and all relevant stakeholders”.  She accused the board of being resolved to retrench workers, regardless of whether she was able to secure a bailout from Treasury.

Read the full original report by Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at City Press


FAKE QUALIFICATIONS

Alleged Mpumalanga bogus teachers released on bail

ANA reports that two Mpumalanga teachers who landed teaching jobs allegedly using fake qualifications were granted bail of R3,000 each when they appeared in the Wakkerstroom Periodical Court in Mpumalanga on 30 November 2018.  Sibongile Rose Khuzwayo, 48, and Nonjabulo Bahle Mabuza, 31, were arrested on Thursday last week by the Hawks serious commercial crime investigation unit after it transpired that they allegedly presented fake qualifications to land posts at Seme Secondary School near Daggakraal.  Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) spokesperson Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said:  "Both suspects practised as teachers for eight and two years respectively.  It is alleged that the Mpumalanga department of education suffered a combined loss of more than R2.4 million.”  Their case has been postponed to 6 February 2019 in the Volksrust Regional Court to afford them an opportunity to apply for legal representation.

Read the full original report at IOL News


RETIREMENT FUNDS

Government Employees Pension Fund writes off R4.3bn investment in Steinhoff’s BEE shareholder

BusinessLive reports that the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) has written off its R4.3bn investment in Steinhoff's empowerment shareholder, the Lancaster Group.  Chair of the GEPF board of trustees, Renosi Mokate, said in her annual report statement that this was directly linked to the collapse of the Steinhoff share price.  As at end-March 2017, the GEPF, through the PIC, owned about R28bn in Steinhoff International Holdings — about 10% of the company and 1% of the total assets of the GEPF.  The Steinhoff share price collapsed in December 2017 after the announcement that accounting irregularities were being investigated.  The GEPF’s annual report for 2017-2018, tabled in Parliament on Monday, also indicated in its list of impairments that the R1bn loan and investments in preference shares in Iqbal Surve's Sekunjalo Investments and Independent News and Media SA (INMSA) had been written off.  This was because of failure to honour the payment obligations under the transaction agreements.  Other write-offs were the R375m investment in VBS, which is under liquidation, and R492m in Afgri Poultry.  The PIC’s investment in Independent Media was controversial since its inception as there had been much doubt over whether it would yield a return for the GEPF.

In the above regard, read the full original report by Linda Ensor at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Does the way we think about retirement still make sense? at Moneyweb


DISCRIMINATION / RACISM

Stellenbosch Council must pay R750,000 for favouring job candidate who failed criteria

Cape Times reports that Stellenbosch municipality has been ordered to pay a settlement amount of R750,000 to an applicant who was removed from an appointment list and replaced by a white candidate who did not meet the criteria.  Zenobia Campbell battled with the municipality for two years following her application for an advertised post of senior LED officer in 2016.  Following failed conciliation at the CCMA, the matter was submitted to the Labour Court on the basis of alleged unfair discrimination.  Campbell’s court application indicated that she applied for two advertised positions in August 2016, was shortlisted for both posts and interviewed on 25 October 2016.  Both positions were subjected to the same interview criteria, questions and tests.  It emerged in court papers that the selection panel appointed and approved the appointment of Campbell, however, “Mr Lombard (director of Planning and Development) scratched out the name of Ms Campbell, a coloured female, and inserted that of Ms Melissa Nel, a white female.”  But, Nel apparently did not meet the minimum primary requirements for the position as advertised as she only had a matric and an uncompleted BA.  Campbell’s highest qualification was a BA Honours and her expertise included rural development, land reform and development economics.

Read the full original report in this regard by Dominic Adriaanse at Cape Times


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Carletonville magistrate in the dock for allegedly demanding a 'mere R4k' bribe

The Star reports that the magistrate due on Monday to appear at the Carletonville Magistrate’s Court, his own workplace, to face charges of corruption and extortion allegedly demanded a “mere” R4,000 to ensure two accused women got bail.  Sources close to the sting operation by the Hawks that resulted in the magistrate’s spectacular arrest claimed he had demanded R2,000 for the bail release of each woman.  This demand was allegedly made to a family member who had approached him in his office to get clarity about the women’s continued detention.  Shocked by this clearly illegal demand, the family then told their lawyer.  The family subsequently involved the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Unit, which set a trap.  The 49-year-old magistrate, who cannot be named until he appears before one of his colleagues, was nabbed red-handed late on Thursday with the money after it was handed over to him.  The women were arrested more than a week ago, based on a theft case opened by their employer.  Their bail application has yet to be heard.  The magistrate’s arrest has shocked his colleagues.  The Association of Regional Magistrates of Southern Africa (Armsa) expressed disdain for the magistrate’s alleged criminality.

In this regard read the full original report by Bongani Nkosi at The Star

Hawks set to swoop on senior officials in Emfuleni in connection with missing R872m

The Citizen writes that the Hawks are circling over top officials in the Emfuleni local municipality in an alleged multimillion-rand fraud and corruption scandal that has rocked the embattled municipality in Gauteng.  The elite crime-busting unit has apparently written to executive mayor, Jacob Khawe, requesting the personal particulars of at least five senior officials in connection with R872-million that is missing.  The municipality’s spokesperson, Lebo Mofokeng, confirmed that the Hawks were investigating a case opened by municipal manager, Dithabe Nkoane.  She indicated that the case was as a result of the unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure report tabled in council by Khawe in October.  The uncovered graft was for the period 1 July 2017 until 30 June 2018 and prior.  Comperio, a forensic investigation firm probing financial irregularities in connection with the missing millions, has requested that more than R56-million in outstanding payments to 11 service providers not be paid until the forensic investigation has been completed.

In the above regard, read the full original report by Sipho Mabena at The Citizen


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES

  • Understand the rules governing medical scheme prescribed minimum benefits, at BusinessLive
  • How the internet broke estate agents, at Financial Mail

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page