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, 4 December 2018.


TOP STORY - SABC RETRENCHMENTS

Stalemate at SABC, with minister and board at odds over planned retrenchments

BusinessLive reports that the planned job cuts at the cash-strapped SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) have set communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at odds with the public broadcaster’s board.  The minister has accused the directors of not acting in the best interest of the corporation.  Ndabeni-Abrahams, who was recently appointed to the portfolio, has made it clear that she is opposed to the retrenchments and has suggested that President Cyril Ramaphosa should intervene.  The SABC board on the other hand maintains it has little choice but to retrench over 2,000 workers in order to remain sustainable.  In a strongly worded letter to SABC board chairman Bongumusa Makhathini at the weekend, Ndabeni-Abrahams stated that Parliament also opposed the retrenchments, with the portfolio committee on communications requesting the board to consider other alternatives.  The impasse is set to test the board’s independence.  Late in 2017, the High Court in Pretoria affirmed the independence of the SABC board, which had long been bedevilled by political interference.  Meantime, Democratic Alliance (DA) communications spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme pointed out that the SABC has until January to present the results of both an independent skills and salary audit, as well as a clear strategic plan to Parliament, or face the risk of being axed.

Read the full original report by Bekezela Phakathi at BusinessLive. Read too, Communications minister draws the line over SABC retrenchments, at Fin24

SABC mum on reports that at least three board members have resigned

BusinessLive reports that the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has dismissed reports that its CEO Madoda Mxakwe has resigned.  However, it did not deny speculation that at least three board members had stepped down after clashing with communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams over planned retrenchments at the corporation.  “The SABC has noted media reports speculating that three members of the SABC board have resigned.  The relevant and correct authority to comment on SABC board resignations is the presidency,” said SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu.  It is understood that board members Khanyisile Kweyama and John Mattison have tendered their resignations to President Cyril Ramaphosa, and more members are set to follow suit.  Board members are seemingly unhappy with the government's interference and believe that their best efforts to turn the broadcaster around will fall flat under the current circumstances.  Should more nonexecutive directors of the SABC resign, it will leave the board without a quorum, which could lead to its dissolution.  The board already has four vacancies.  The board is meant to have 12 members and it needs nine members, including the three executives, for a quorum.  Previous boards have collapsed due to political interference.  In a strongly worded letter to the board at the weekend, Ndabeni-Abrahams accused it of not acting in the best interest of the public broadcaster as it pressed on with retrenchments.

Read the full original report by Bekezela Phakathi at BusinessLive. Read too, CEO Madoda Mxakwe and other executives have not resigned, says SABC, at IOL News

Low staff morale, fear and anger at the SABC over looming job cuts

News24 reports that employees at the financially ailing SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) believe that the company's decision to go ahead with retrenchments was neither in the interests of the public broadcaster nor its workers.  They do not understand why they are the victims of bad leadership and a historically imbalanced structure of employment at the SABC.  The SABC recently announced that it planned to lay off almost a thousand of its permanent workers, and at least 1,200 freelancers.  That announcement was not welcomed by many, including affected unions and the Communications Ministry.  The broadcaster also indicated that by March 2019, it would not have enough money to pay salaries.  According to employees who spoke up, that there was now low staff morale, and most employees were stressed and not working at their optimum.  "We are looking for jobs, hoping for the best and to be employed elsewhere before Day Zero comes," one journalist said.  The Communication Workers Union (CWU) and the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers’ Union (Bemawu) said that they were consulting with workers and contemplating a shutdown and a later strike to force the SABC to find alternative ways of cutting costs.

Read the full original report by Pelane Phakgadi at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • DA accuses ANC of meddling in SABC board ‘chaos’, at The Citizen


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Bloemfontein domestic worker, who fought robbers to protect cancer sufferer and his autistic son, dies

Netwerk24 reports that a domestic worker, who fought house robbers to protect a cancer sufferer and his autistic child, died on Sunday due to injuries she sustained during the attack.  Mita Koromong Mphinya, 66, died in the Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein.  She sustained a head injury and was stabbed six times in the neck, chest and back on Friday morning when three armed men entered the home of freelance researcher and writer Herman Toerien in Langenhoven Park.  Mphinya had been working for his family twice a week for the past 17 months.  Toerien sustained a foot injury in the attack.  He said that Mphinya had fought the robbers to give the rest of the people in the house a chance to escape.  "They could not keep her quiet, despite all the knife wounds.  When they grabbed me, she screamed even louder, and then went quiet."  According to Toerien, the robbers smashed Mphinya's head against a wall.  She sustained a serious head injury.

Read the full original report by Kaydene Davids at News24. Read too, Domestic worker killed defending employers against robbers, at TimesLive

Security to be beefed up at Leratong Hospital in Mogale City after attacks

TimesLive reports that security at Leratong Hospital in Mogale City will be beefed up following a spate of violent crime.  In the latest incident, there was an attempted forced entry at the hospital's casualty ward.  Following two separate attacks at Leratong over the weekend, Gauteng Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa condemned the repeated attacks on healthcare professionals by members of the public.  In the first incident, criminals allegedly stabbed a security guard at the hospital.  The second incident involved the harassment of ambulance personnel, who were threatened by people accompanying a patient who was declared dead on arrival at the facility.  Meanwhile, cellphone footage of another incident showing a nurse being harassed inside a clinic has made the rounds on social media.  Following the incidents, Ramokgopa appealed to community members to respect hospital staff.  “We urge members of the public to treat hospital staff with respect and courtesy as the officials try to do their best under very trying conditions," she stated.  The health department said it was working with police to ensure that security was beefed up over the festive season.

Read the full original report by Nonkululeko Njilo at TimesLive. Read the MEC’s press statement at SA Govt News


MINING LABOUR

NUM South Deep branch holds non-strikers to ransom

Business Report writes that allegations emerged on Monday that National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch leaders were holding non-striking members at Gold Fields’ South Deep mine to ransom.  This came as intimidation intensified with the attack on the union’s regional leader during a mass meeting on Monday.  Ndlela Radebe, chairperson of the NUM’s PWV (Gauteng) region, is in hospital after he was stabbed at the Green Hills Stadium in Randfontein as he heard the concerns of 800 non-striking members.  An informed source said that non-striking members were taking strain from the five-week-long strike aimed at opposing retrenchments.  The source commented:  “The problem lies with the branch leaders.  They want to strike indefinitely until the mine is shut down.  We have more than 3,500 workers who want to go back to work.  It is totally irresponsible for the branch to want an indefinite strike.”  On Sunday, Radebe sent a letter urging the branch to end the strike.  He wrote:  “For more than three weeks to date, the region has been receiving countless calls from concerned union members that the strike is counter-productive and that it impacts them negatively and is threatening their jobs in the company.  We believe they (the concerns) are legitimate, hence we are intervening and have decided to inform your branch leaders to bring the strike to an end and consider the proposed offer on the table…”  Branch leaders have rejected the company’s sweetened offer, which included an increase in the severance package.  

Read the full original of this report by Dineo Faku at SA Labour News

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Glencore appoints Peter Freyberg as new industrial mining chief, at BusinessLive
  • Glencore’s Glasenberg says he’ll stay for three to five years, at Moneyweb


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Bread delivery to continue in Cape Town amid Blue Ribbon strike

Cape Times reports that Premier Foods, proprietor of Blue Ribbon Bread in Salt River, Cape Town, has assured customers that an ongoing strike will not affect operations and the distribution of its products.  Disgruntled employees affiliated to the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) downed tools on Wednesday to demand a 10% wage increment and R48 Fawu funeral cover.  A peaceful picket turned violent the following day, with police firing rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the crowd.  Premier group strategy and marketing executive Siobhan O’Sullivan confirmed that employees at its Salt River operations had embarked on a protected strike due to a wage dispute, but said workers at the adjacent wheat mill had embarked on an unprotected strike.  On Thursday, a striking employee was injured by rubber bullets when the police intervened to restore calm.  A non-striking employee was shot late on Thursday night.  The police are investigating both matters.  “There has been some intimidation of employees, resulting in more joining the strike,” O’Sullivan indicated.

Read the full original report by Okuhle Hlati at Cape Times

Strike by Clientele customer service staff over 'racism, favouritism' ends

Fin24 reports that a strike by customer service staff at life insurer Clientele has "come to an end", the company indicated in a statement issued on Monday.  Customer service staff at the company’s Johannesburg head office had embarked on a strike over what they said were "unfair working conditions" and racism in the workplace.  Clientele, however, denied allegations of racism or favouritism, saying:  "We have a strict policy against racism, sexism or any other form of unfair discrimination within our workplace and this policy is upheld by all Clientèle employees, irrespective of their seniority within the company."  Employees downed tools on 27 November 2018.  Shop steward Omphemetse Pheko commented that the insurer neglected its sales department, instead focusing on other departments.  Pheko said that lawyers representing Clientele had sent a letter to the employees' union stating that the strike was unprotected and could not continue beyond 30 November 2018.

Read the short original report by Tlhologelo Masehla at Fin24


WORK / RESIDENCE PERMITS

Be patient, Home Affairs tells Zimbabweans still awaiting their ZEP special permits

GroundUp reports that the Department of Home Affairs has urged Zimbabweans who haven't received their special permits to be patient.  The Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) allows Zimbabweans living in SA to regularise their stay in the country, but there have been numerous complaints from people concerned about how long the process was taking.  The ZEP application process opened on 15 September 2017, following the expiry of the Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP) in December 2014.  Zimbabweans had to apply by the end of November last year.  This was extended to 31 January and then to 15 February 2018.  On 15 November 2018, the department announced the completion of the adjudication and printing of the ZEP.  VFS Global said it was facilitating all ZEP collections until 31 January 2019 and indicated:  "Applicants who have not received their permits are welcome to track their applications on the VFS Global website by inserting their AURN number as well as their last name."  David Hlabane of the Department of Home Affairs advised:  "The applicants who have not been notified may be among those whose adjudication is being finalised or whose outcomes are on the dispatch route from our department to VFS for distribution.  We are working on completing the whole process by 30 November 2018, and therefore plead for patience among applicants who are yet to receive their permits."  A total of 180,188 Zimbabweans applied for the ZEP permit.

Read the full original report by Tariro Washinyira at GroundUp


HIGHER EDUCATION / SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / TRAINING

Naledi Pandor moves to minimise disruption from last-minute walk-ins at TVET colleges

BusinessLive reports that the government and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will be working to minimise disruption from last minute “walk-in” applications for places at Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) colleges in 2019.  Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor said:  “We will be far more proactive than we might have been in the past,” adding that her department and the NSFAS would maintain a strong presence on college campuses where help might be required.  Higher education institutions discourage walk-ins because they pose safety and security problems.  In 2012 a death occurred in a stampede of aspirant students.  NSFAS only disburses funding after students are registered at a university or a TVET college.  NSFAS warned last week that there had been so few funding applications from aspirant TVET college students that it expected about 200,000 prospective students to attempt walk-in registration at the start of the 2019 academic year.  Pandor said the application process for 2019 had gone smoothly, and she did not anticipate the kinds of delays in disbursing NSFAS funds to students that had plagued the past two years.

Read the full original report by Tamar Kahn at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • NSFAS receives 400 000 new funding applications, at News24


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Eleven SANDF soldiers found guilty of assaulting boy in DRC

ANA reports that the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) said on Monday that eleven soldiers had been convicted of the assault of a 17-year-old boy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a “ground-breaking trial” in military court.  Sixteen SANDF members attached to the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) of Operation MISTRAL in the DRC were charged under the Prevention of Combating and Torture of Persons Act for the first time.  The SANDF indicated in a statement:  “Of the original 16 accused, 11 were convicted.  Five of the accused were acquitted.  Even though no accused were convicted of contravening the provisions of the Prevention of Combating and Torture of Persons Act, they were found guilty of common law assault.  This case cleared the way for the future application of the Act.”  In the incident which took place in January this year, the youth was suspected of stealing basins and buckets from the soldiers, and he sustained a minor injury when he was beaten up.

Read the original report in this regard at The Citizen. See too, Eleven SANDF soldiers guilty of committing assault while on peacekeeping mission, at News24


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Former SARS boss Tom Moyane back in court in bid to have dismissal overturned

Fin24 reports that fired SA Revenue Service (SARS) boss Tom Moyane was due to return to court on Tuesday in his latest legal battle to get his job back.  His urgent application, to be heard in the North Gauteng Court in Pretoria, will see him argue that his dismissal by President Cyril Ramaphosa, which was based on the recommendations of the interim report of Nugent Commission of Inquiry, was unfair and unconstitutional.  Last month Moyane failed in his bid to have the Constitutional Court hear the matter after he had sought direct access to that court.  In the application, Moyane lists President Cyril Ramaphosa, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Judge Robert Nugent, the head of the SARS inquiry, among the eight respondents.  Moyane was appointed by former president Jacob Zuma as head of the revenue service in September 2014 on a five-year contract.  Since his suspension by Ramaphosa in March, Moyane has waged a relentless fight to have the legal processes against him halted, including a disciplinary hearing headed by Advocate Azhar Bham which is currently on hold.  The High Court hearing is set down for two days.

Read the full original report by Sibongile Khumalo at Fin24


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT TO WORK

Halting A Re Yeng bus service in Mamelodi indefinitely angers commuters

Pretoria News reports that A Re Yeng bus commuters in Mamelodi on Monday voiced their unhappiness with the withdrawal of the service, saying “it took food off their tables”.  The bus service was halted indefinitely last Thursday, leaving commuters scrambling for other public transport and dealing with the strain on their pockets.  Commuter Kitso Maimane said the cost of alternative transport was becoming a big financial burden, especially because she had just reloaded her monthly ticket when the service was stopped.  She expressed worry about reimbursement.  MMC for Roads and Transport Sheila Lynn Senkugube said the removal of the buses from service was the result of a dispute caused by the Mamelodi taxi associations, which wanted A Re Yeng operator Tshwane Rapid Transit to increase prices with them to R18.  The chief executive of the Tshwane Rapid Transit, Sam Matebane, said they took the decision to pull buses off the route after careful consideration and consultations with key stakeholders.  This was after there had been a series of threats of vandalism by some members of the community demanding the provision of additional buses.

Read the full original report by Sakhile Ndlazi at Pretoria News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Taxi driver stabs commuter to death in full view of passengers at Joburg taxi rank, at IOL News
  • Twenty-five passengers crammed into Durban taxi, at Daily News


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES

  • SA claws its way out of recession with a 2.2% GDP leap, at BusinessLive
  • Green shoots for SA’s manufacturing sector, at BusinessLive
  • Agriculture confidence drops to lowest level in nine years, at BusinessLive
  • Government Employees Pension Fund hit by R7.4bn in write-offs, at BusinessLive

 


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