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
Thursday, 20 December 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Sanef takes Julius Malema and EFF to Equality Court over hate speech against journalists

BusinessLive reports that the SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has lodged a complaint at the Equality Court against the EFF and its leader Julius Malema in a bid to halt threats to and harassment of journalists.  “We did not take this decision to institute legal action against the EFF lightly.  We believe in the South African way of resolving disputes around a table, but Sanef has been unsuccessful in seeking a meeting with Mr Malema and other EFF leaders about the remarks which we view as blatant hate speech,” Sanef said in a statement on Wednesday.  Sanef had wanted to meet the red berets in November, but secretary-general Godrich Gardee said the party’s schedule was “very tight and fully booked with prearranged meetings and activities up until the elections date”.  Sanef has asked the court to interdict Malema and the EFF from intimidating, harassing, threatening or assaulting any journalist and publishing personal information about any journalist.

Read Nonkululeko Njilo’s full report on this story at BusinessLive. Read Sanef’s press statement in this regard at Politicsweb

JMPD officer in stable condition in hospital after being shot during car chase

EWN reports that a Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officer has been shot and wounded in a car chase during a roadblock in Doornfontein, Johannesburg.  She is recovering in hospital and said to be in a stable condition.  JMPD's Wayne Minnaar indicated:  "A white BMW car, which was being chased by other officers for avoiding a roadblock in Doornfontein, was approaching a second roadblock on Smit Street in Braamfontein, then the female officer got shot as they attempted to stop the vehicle."

The original of this short report is at EWN

Two Thokoza cops accused of killing a fellow officer ‘execution-style’

SowetanLive reports that an off-duty police officer was allegedly killed, execution-style, by two fellow policemen in Thokoza on the East Rand after he had discharged his firearm while trying to recover his brother's stolen cellphone.  Witnesses said the slain police officer had gone in the early hours of the morning to a house where a man accused of earlier taking his brother's cellphone was located.  Not seeing the alleged robber, the officer apparently pulled out his gun and shot in the air to scare the people present, but they panicked and ran out of the house screaming.  They saw a passing police van and alerted the occupants of the incident.  "That's when police ran after him.  They chased him along the road and began to shoot him.  They shot him while he was running and he ultimately fell," a resident related.  The officer apparently told his fellow cops who had just shot him in the back that he was also a police officer.  "They said to him, 'but you are shooting at us' and they simply finished him off while he was lying on the ground," another witness claimed.  He added:  "We don't understand why police can do such a thing.  He was already down, why did they have to shoot while he was down?"  A police spokesperson confirmed the incident, but said the matter was now with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

Read Penwell Dlamini’s full report on this story at SowetanLive

Deadly Bank of Lisbon building could be demolished due to serious structural damage

The Star reports that a downtown Johannesburg building, which housed government departments and which was engulfed by a fire that killed three firefighters on 5 September, might be demolished by mid-2019.  Workers from Jet Demolition were seen outside the Bank of Lisbon building on Wednesday, and their vehicles remained parked there for most of the day.  Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe said the building was badly damaged, but would not confirm whether or not it would be demolished.  “The building sustained quite serious structural damage.  We are still busy looking at a number of options.  Once we arrive at a point of deciding what happens, we will notify the public,” Masebe said.  Jet Demolition said:  “Unfortunately we are not at liberty to discuss any details of the project at this stage.”  But, workers on site said they had been deployed to start preparations for the demolition of the building.  They said planning for the demolition could take up to four months and expected that it would take place in the middle of next year.  The building, which before the fire was found to be only 21% compliant with the health and safety standards, housed three government departments - Human Settlements, Health, and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

Read Sibongile Mashaba’s full report on this story at The Star

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Firefighters battle massive blaze at Pinetown warehouse, at News24


MINING LABOUR

Amcu in Competition Appeal Court move to block Sibanye’s acquisition of Lonmin

Mining Weekly reports that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has moved to block the acquisition of struggling platinum miner Lonmin by gold and platinum producer Sibanye-Stillwater by appealing the transaction’s regulatory approval.  Amcu, which is the largest union at Lonmin, has filed an appeal with the Competition Appeal Court to overturn the Competition Tribunal’s 21 November decision clearing the all-share acquisition.  Sibanye-Stillwater said on Wednesday that it remained committed to the Lonmin deal and that it would request an “urgent hearing” from the Competition Appeals Court.  While the companies have argued that the combination of Sibanye-Stillwater and Lonmin through the £285-million all-share deal will create a larger and more resilient company, Amcu is contesting the potential 10,000-plus job losses at Lonmin.  The Competition Tribunal last month imposed a six-month moratorium on job cuts.

Read the original report on this story at Mining Weekly. Read a joint Sibanye/Lonmin statement on this matter at Moneyweb

Sibanye’s Lonmin takeover deal faces delay due to Amcu’s opposition

BusinessLive reports that the final date for the conclusion of the Sibanye-Stillwater all-share takeover of Lonmin could be tested by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s (Amcu’s) late appeal against the Competition Tribunal's approval of the transaction.  Sibanye and Lonmin set the end of February as the date by which the deal would be concluded.  But, Amcu, which not only fiercely opposes the transaction but is also involved in a protracted and violent strike at Sibanye's gold mines, has filed an appeal against the tribunal's highly conditional approval of the deal.  Amcu is concerned about the scale of job losses it feels will arise from the merged companies.  "Sibanye-Stillwater and Lonmin intend to request an urgent hearing date from the competition appeal court in relation to Amcu’s appeal," the two companies jointly indicated.  The lateness of the appeal means the matter is unlikely to be heard before the end of 2018, and only in January, the month in which both companies intended to conduct their shareholder votes.  Lonmin's board has remained steadfast in its endorsement of the deal, with senior executives pointing out that it simply did not have the financial resources to sustainably run the business.  The tribunal imposed a six-month moratorium on any job cuts in the merged entity.

Read Allan Seccombe’s full report on this story at BusinessLive

Lily Mine business rescue practitioner remains in place despite communication and trust breakdown

City Press reports that the business rescue practitioner of Lily Mine, Rob Devereux, has been retained in his position, but is now working with another expert.  Siyakhula Sonke Corporation (SSC), the new controlling shareholders of Vantage Goldfields SA, had given Devereux an ultimatum to resign or face being pushed out through a court application following dissatisfaction by the Barbrook creditors’ committee and SSC.  Devereux said he appointed business rescue practitioner Daniel Terblanche to work with him because SSC chief executive Fred Arendse would not work with him any longer.  Barbrook’s chairperson, Dwaine Koch, said that they were in favour of Devereux being retained because he possessed knowledge about the business rescue process of mines.  He advised that the creditors’ committee had suspended its liquidation application because of Terblanche’s pending appointment.  According to Koch, Terblanche has a good reputation.  The committee had expressed doubt that SSC had received R190 million from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and demanded proof.  The IDC has confirmed granting the loan.  The Lily and Barbrook mines were shut down and placed under business rescue in 2016 after an entrance to the Lily Mine collapsed and buried three workers underground.  A total R310 million is needed to reopen the mines.

Read Sizwe Sama Yende’s full report on this story at City Press

Postings on mining charter / transformation

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • AngloGold said to be considering ditching SA and listing in London or Toronto, at BusinessLive


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Thousands of bus passengers stranded due to Autopax wildcat strike

Fin24 report on Thursday afternoon that about 3,900 passengers set to travel during the festive season were left stranded due to a wildcat strike at bus company Autopax.  Some 105 bus trips were affected.  Autopax, a subsidiary of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), operates bus services City to City and Translux.  Zanele Sabela, SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) spokesperson, said that about 700 of their members decided to embark on the wildcat strike on Wednesday.  This was initially in relation to certain payments for Sunday work that would only have been made in January instead of in December, but Sabela confirmed that that matter had been resolved.  However, workers were nonetheless unwilling to return to work until the Autopax CEO and his executive were removed.  According to Prasa’s Dr Sipho Sithole, the issue with Sunday pay had been resolved when Prasa CEO Sibusiso Sithole attended a meeting with the striking workers on Thursday morning.  In terms of the workers' second demand, however, he said that Prasa informed the workers that such a demand was not something it could resolve as it needed to be addressed by the Autopax board.  Sithole appealed to the drivers to return to work.  As at 15h00 on Thursday, the striking workers had not yet indicated whether they would return to work or not.

Read Carin Smith’s full report on this developing story at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Comair denies racism allegations as Numsa gears up airport strike, at City Press


RECRUITMENT / APPOINTMENTS / VACANCIES

Health department to spend R2bn to fill over 15,000 posts

TimesLive reports that the Department of Health (DOH) will spend R2bn to fill more than 15,000 posts for health workers across SA’s public health facilities in a move that will provide much-needed employment and help alleviate the staff shortages that have plagued the sector.  The new jobs include 9,797 newly qualified health professionals — such as community-service dentists, nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals — who will be embarking on internships or community-service posts.  In September, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that as part of an economic stimulus and recovery plan, the government would reprioritise R50bn of its budget to create jobs and revive the economy.  The public health-care system has been beset by staff and infrastructure shortages, including a shortage of 47,000 nurses.  The new jobs were announced by health minister Aaron Motsoaledi last week.  Of the more than 15,000 posts — which will be filled from January — 5,300 will be clinical and support health workers across the nine provinces, including specialists.  The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), although welcoming the decision to fill the positions, said 5,300 posts were not enough to ensure that the sector performed at its best.  It added that the pace of filling the positions was too slow.

Read Penelope Mashego’s report on this story in full at TimesLive

Public protector finds Treasury DG failed to disclose traffic conviction when applying for job

TimesLive reports that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has ordered President Cyril Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against Treasury director-general (DG) Dondo Mogajane for failing to disclose that he had been convicted of a traffic offence when he applied for his post in 2017.  She noted that although his Road Traffic Act violation could be described as a "trivial" charge, his failure to disclose it during his job interview spoke to his honesty as a state official.  Mkhwebane has also found that former finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s conduct in appointing Mogajane had been "improper".  She indicated:  "Evidence before me confirms that former minister Gigaba knew or ought to have reasonably known about Mr Mogajane’s failure to disclose the criminal record in his Z83 application form."  Mkhwebane declined to comment on whether she believed Ramaphosa should fire Mogajane.  "That is not for me to decide," she indicated.

Read Karyn Maughan’s original report on this story at TimesLive. Read too, Treasury DG hid criminal record during job application, says Public Protector, at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Thousands show up for KZN nurse recruitment drive, at The Mercury


COMPANY JOB LOSSES

Racism believed to be why a Joburg eatery shut down with 57 job losses

The Star reports that a top Joburg eatery has closed, putting 57 employees on the unemployment line days before Christmas.  Mash Braai House, based at the Buzz Shopping Centre in Fourways, had to close its doors this month following a supposed dispute with the landlord that began last month.  Owner Ngwato Mashilwane said on Thursday that he could not rule out racism because “a whole lot of excuses” and “uncalled for attitudes and accusations” were made against the eatery’s patrons, who had been accused of being “filthy”.  “We always clean thoroughly, every night and morning before we open.  How they come to the conclusion that our customers are dirty, I do not know,” Mashilwane stated.  Mashilwane said an amicable agreement had been reached with the landlord last month that his establishment would close doors this Sunday, but the centre reneged on the deal and shut down the place earlier this month.  Mashilwane said the Fourways branch had had 72 employees, some of whom would be absorbed at the Midrand establishment.

Read Khaya Koko’s full report on this story at The Star


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Navy chief suspends two very senior officers over civilian repair workshop operating on base

Cape Times reports that SA Navy chief Vice-Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane has suspended two high-ranking officers for allowing an unauthorised civilian mechanical repair workshop to operate from an unused shed at the Goodwood SAS Wingfield base.  The flag officer commanding Naval Base Simon’s Town, a rear-admiral, and the officer commanding the SAS Wingfield are understood to be the officers who were suspended.  The matter was reported to SA Navy headquarters in Pretoria by a whistle-blower and, according to the Navy, Hlongwane found an unauthorised person was apparently running a civilian mechanical repair workshop from an unused shed on the base.  He made an unannounced detour to inspect the base first-hand, ahead of a junior officers’ graduation parade earlier this month.  In a statement, the Navy said:  “The chief of the Navy sees this matter in a serious light and will leave no stone unturned to determine who authorised this arrangement and whether any naval officer may have unduly benefited.  The company in question will be ordered to vacate the premises.”

Read Dominic Adriaanse’s full report on this story at Cape Times


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT TO WORK

Mamelodi commuters elated that A Re Yeng buses back after more than two weeks

SowetanLive reports that on Wednesday the Tshwane Rapid Transit (TRT) management announced that A Re Yeng buses were back on the road following negotiations with taxi associations in the area.  The suspension in the area for more than two weeks was due to disagreements with the taxi industry.  TRT CEO Sam Matebane said no agreement had been reached regarding the adjustment of bus fares as requested by the taxi industry.  "We are still in negotiations and have been provided with police escorts in the meantime," Matebane stated.  The Mamelodi Transport Solutions (Mantrans), which represents taxi associations in the area, had sent a letter to the TRT on 22 November requesting to have representation in the TRT board and to benefit from the bus service's revenue.  Mantrans co-ordinator Bonny Ndjishe, also confirmed that negotiations over bus fares were ongoing.  "We have nothing against [the] TRT as the taxi industry in Mamelodi.  We are very happy that people will have access to reliable transport," said Ndjishe.  On Wednesday, A Re Yeng buses could be seen dropping off commuters in the township.

Read Zoë Mahopo’s full report on this story at SowetanLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Golden Arrow bus fares up 9.5% as company sets sights on share swop, at TimesLive


OTHER REPORTS

HCI consolidates its position in Tsogo Sun by taking over Sactwu’s holding for R408m

BusinessLive reports that empowerment conglomerate Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI), which has investments ranging from media to mining, is consolidating its holding in gaming and leisure group Tsogo Sun.  HCI will take over the holding of the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu) in a deal that will see it take control of a further 18-million shares for R408m.  The move further increases its hold over a group in which it already held 51.18% of its shares.  Tsogo Sun has holdings in gaming, hotel and entertainment assets, operates in eight countries and has a portfolio of 110 hotels comprising 18,752 hotel rooms.  “The acquisition represents an opportunity for HCI to meaningfully increase its interest in Tsogo Sun at an attractive price,” HCI indicated.  Tsogo Sun has lost a third of its value over the past two years but has seen a 21% increase in revenue to R7.7bn, and a 14% rise in earnings.  The increase in earnings came after a difficult period for the hospitality industry.  Despite this, PwC’s hotels outlook for 2018–2022 noted that the sector was well positioned for growth.

Read Larry Claasen’s full report on this story at BusinessLive

OTHER NEWS HEADLINES

  • Building and construction industry nightmare continues, at Business Report
  • War of words continues between Prasa and former acting CEO Letsoalo, at Engineering News

 


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