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, 11 January 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Minister slams killing of Koffiefontein policeman and wounding of another

Saturday Star reports that Police Minister Bheki Cele has condemned the killing of a police officer and the wounding of another in the Free State town of Koffiefontein.  The incident happened on Thursday evening when police, while out on patrol, spotted the vehicle of Coenraad Badenhorst heading to the farm of Paul Nel – a man he had threatened in the past.  When police arrived at the farm, they found Nel’s body on the front porch.  He had been shot in the head.  Badenhorst then opened fire on the police from bushes near the house.  Constable Vuyani March was killed when he was shot in the head.  Sergeant George Calvert was shot in the face and rushed to hospital.  Police returned fire, hitting Badenhorst, who died on his way to hospital.  A police spokesperson said Badenhorst had threatened other farmers in the area and observed that the conflict appeared to be over water rights.

Read more of this Saturday Star report of 12 January 2019 at SA Labour News. Read too, Parliament’s police portfolio chairperson condemns senseless killing of police officer in Koffiefontein (press statement), at Parliament News. And also, 'Police members are a national asset and they need to be protected', at EWN

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Durban Metro cop knocked down and killed by taxi, at TimesLive
  • Eastern Cape health MEC condemns attack on hospital doctor during strike, at News24


MINING LABOUR

Sibanye’s bullish strategic update draws outrage from striking Amcu

BL Premium reports that Sibanye-Stillwater has told investors it is weathering the protracted and deadly strike at its SA gold mines thanks to growing profits from its US and SA platinum mines, which now account for more than 80% of profits.  In a strategic update issued on Thursday last week, Sibanye said efforts to diversify its business, both in terms of the commodities it mines and the geographies in which it operates, means the disruptions at its gold division, where the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has been on strike since November, has been offset by its platinum group metal (PGM) operations.  But the rosy market update, which last week sent its share price to its highest intra-day level in nearly 12 weeks, drew the ire of Amcu, which accused the company of shocking “arrogance” and “disingenuous lies”.  Amcu said for the company to brag about profits was “utterly reckless” and “flies in the face of the socio-economic inequality which is so rife at Sibanye-Stillwater’s operations”.  The union added that despite the company’s claims of poverty, the update proved “they are making good money, and they can truly afford to pay their workers a living wage”.

Read the original report by Lisa Steyn and Robert Laing in full at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Controversial mining company CRG ‘using employee pension deductions to stay open’

City Press reports that Central Rand Gold (CRG) is at loggerheads with its employees for allegedly failing to pay over pension deductions.  The controversial mining company based in Roodepoort employs almost 130 people.  According to two highly placed sources, including a senior employee at the company, CRG has not paid over pension fund contributions deducted from employees for almost five months.  “The last time they paid over pensions was in July, and now people who are going on pension are being told that their pensions are not up to date.  They are using our pensions to run the mine,” they claimed.  For the past few months, staff have been getting their salaries in two batches each month, apparently because of the company’s financial situation.  Zolile Smous of the Building Allied Mining and Construction Workers’ Union said they found out about the issue in the middle of last year.  After approaching the company, they were assured that pension and provident fund deductions had been paid.  “In about December, we approached CRG again.  They admitted that they were in arrears and had not been paying the pension and provident fund contributions,” said Smous.  He confirmed that employees were not being paid their full salaries.  The union took the company to the CCMA to get it to commit to pay last month’s bonuses, but even after agreeing to pay over two months, in December they apparently didn’t honour their agreement.

Read the original report by Lesetja Malope in full at News24

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Bench Marks Foundation warns Resources Minister warned not to intimidate Xolobeni anti-mining community (press statement), at Polity
  • BRPs to meet with Optimum, Koornfontein creditors to vote on proposed business rescue plans, at Mining Weekly
  • DA Northern Cape asks Mantashe for clarity on state funding for artisanal mining in the province (press statement), at Politicsweb

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • World Gold Council believes gold will become more relevant in 2019, at Mining Weekly


LABOUR AND POLITICS

In its 2019 election manifesto, ANC makes the jobs promise again

City Press reports that in return for the votes of citizens in the upcoming general elections, the African National Congress (ANC) has promised to create some 1.3 million jobs over the next five years.  Addressing thousands of supporters at the party’s election manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday afternoon, President Cyril Ramaphosa made the pledge to focus the party’s energies on creating much needed jobs whilst also raising more than a trillion rand in investments.  The 66-page manifesto offers a series of admissions of mistakes made over the past 25 years, with a commitment to do better.  Informed by the party’s policy and elective conferences held in 2017, the manifesto goes big on issues of transforming the economy by breaking down monopolies which hinder the growth of SMMEs.  The manifesto also flags transformation and diversity in the financial sector and the need to consolidate support for small businesses and cooperatives, as well as growing the township and village economy.  The manifesto reaffirms the party’s position on the land question, which is that of a “mixed ownership” approach.

Read the original report by Ngwako Modjadji, S’Thembile Cele & Setumo Stone in full at City Press. Read too, Jobs by a million, rands by the trillion, on page 4 of The Sunday Times of 13 January 2019. And also, Jobs at core of ANC manifesto, on page 9 of The Sunday Independent of 13 January 2019

Economist Dawie Roodt dismisses ANC’s plans for job creation as unrealistic

EWN reports that according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the R1.2 trillion that the ANC plans to raise in new investments for the next year will be used to assist creating 275,000 additional jobs.  Ramaphosa made the remark while delivering the ANC's election manifesto at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.  He also said the party was set on taking measures to lower the cost of doing business in the country.  However, Efficient Group chief economist Dawie Roodt says this was unrealistic.  “If he’s successful, there will be artificial jobs.  He probably won’t be successful because in South Africa the economy will not grow efficiently.”

The original of this short report by Robinson Nqola is at EWN

Diepsloot youth promised jobs if DA wins elections

ANA reports that Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane on Friday promised the youth jobs in Diepsloot north of Johannesburg – but only if they voted for his party and it won the elections in May.  He was accompanied on his visit by DA Gauteng premier candidate Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga and Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba.  The DA leaders engaged with about 50 youngsters at the recently launched Diepsloot Opportunity Centre.  Maimane said the opportunity centre in the area was a symbol of what the DA could do for the people of the province and the country.  He claimed that of all the jobs that were created in SA last year, more than 60% of them were created in areas where the DA governed.  Although the visit was largely peaceful, there was an altercation between DA leaders and the ANC ward councillor Matlale Mphahlele, who was visibly annoyed that Maimane and his colleagues visited the centre in Diepsloot Ward 95 without informing her beforehand.

Read the original of this report in full at The Citizen


MEDICAL STAFFING

Stimulus package leads to 300 KZN nurses receiving permanent jobs

Daily News reports that the dreams of 300 nurses were made a reality last week when they were permanently appointed by the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) department of health.  The department is also finalising the appointment of 160 porters, 160 general orderlies, 50 pharmacy assistants and 150 artisans.  This is in terms of a stimulus package recently announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, which aims to boost the public health sector through the creation of more than 5,300 jobs throughout the country.  KZN MEC Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the president for the stimulus package, saying that its beneficiaries would be the vast majority of the population – particularly those in far-flung areas.  "These are the nurses who are at the bottom of the ladder of the nursing profession, but they mean so much to our people.  We hope by injecting 300 of them, we’re going to have a change and bring meaning in terms of quality of service to our people,” he stated.

Read the original report on this story in full at Daily News

Nursing staff bloodbath in Gauteng and Limpopo

The Star reports that a cash crunch has resulted in two provinces letting hundreds of nurses go after training them at a cost running into hundreds of thousands of rand from the public purse.  For the first time in many years, Gauteng and Limpopo won’t absorb nurses who underwent community service in the previous year despite the country grappling with massive staff shortages in the public health sector.  The provinces have informed the nurses that they do not have funded posts for them.  The provincial departments funded the nurses’ four-year tertiary studies, aiming at using them to address personnel shortages crippling public clinics and hospitals.  Much to their shock, Gauteng community service nurses were told of the situation in impromptu meetings last month.  “We were told in December that we have until February to find jobs because there are no posts.  Just like that.  No one told us anything before,” a nurse at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital said.  She estimated that more than 50 nurses at that hospital alone faced being without jobs by the end of the next month.  Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba has spoken out publicly about a cash crisis forcing her to release 444 workers who were doing community service.

Read Bongani Nkosi’s original report on this story in full at The Star. Read too, State-trained nurses sit idle, on page 8 of City Press of 13 January 2019


APPOINTMENTS / RESIGNATIONS

Eight new senior appointments at cash-strapped Eskom

TimesLive reports that despite putting at least ten senior executives under the axe in a bid to trim employees and minimise its bloated top management, Eskom has appointed eight executives and senior managers to a new operations team.  According to an internal memorandum, the eight appointments were made in high-paying posts such as group executives, general managers and chief officers.  In December last year, it was reported that at least ten senior executives, who were responsible for the day-to-day running of the business and reported directly to the chief executive officer, were facing the axe as the cash-strapped parastatal moved to reduce the number of top management persons.  At the time, Eskom’s spokesman, Khulu Phasiwe, said something had to be done to decrease the energy producer’s cost base and that the unions, in a bid to save workers’ jobs, had singled out management structures if retrenchments were to take place.  Phasiwe last week confirmed that the number of senior executives reporting to the CEO has been reduced from 21 to nine.  He said retrenchments were limited to only the executive level and that some vacancies had been left open after the executives occupying them had resigned.

Read the original of the report by Amil Umraw in full at TimesLive

Three top Alexander Forbes executives resign amid strategic review

Moneyweb reports that three Alexander Forbes Group executives have resigned as the Johannesburg-based retirement, investment and insurance-services provider pushes ahead with a strategic review of its market position and business model.  Chief Executive Officer at Alexander Forbes Investments Leon Greyling, Group Chief Risk Officer Vishnu Naicker and Chief Human Resources Officer Christian Schaub planned to pursue other business interests, the company indicated.  The departures all took effect around the start of the year.  Details of the resignations are being kept confidential.  Alexander Forbes was halfway through the implementation of a turnaround program known as Ambition 2022 in September when former CEO Andrew Darfoor was ousted.  He had only spent two years at the firm and has said he would be challenging his dismissal.  Shortly thereafter, the company announced that Naidene Ford-Hoon had resigned as chief financial officer.  The group’s new CEO, Dawie de Villiers, came on board in November.  The review is intended to strengthen the firm’s position in the employee benefits, savings and retirement markets.

Read the original report by Roxanne Henderson in full at Moneyweb


JOB SCAMS

Four arrested for alleged fake JMPD jobs scam

News24 reports that four people were arrested on Friday for participating in an alleged fake Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) jobs scam in Tembisa, east of the city.  JMPD spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, said the alleged scam was discovered when a young woman went to the JMPD offices for a job after she paid "recruiters" thousands of rands.  The JMPD warned the public that "jobs are not for sale".  The four persons, aged between 30 and 40, are being detained at the Tembisa police station and an investigation is under way.  Minnaar warned the youth to be aware of fake job adverts and said the department did not advertise on social media, but used newspapers instead.

Read the original report by Canny Maphanga at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Armscor issues fake jobs scam warning (press statement), at Polity


DISCRIMINATION / RACISM / SEXISM

Top police HR manager found guilty of racism and disparaging remarks

News24 reports that a top human resources (HR) officer in the SA Police Service (SAPS) faces dismissal following a hearing which reportedly found her guilty of racism and making disparaging remarks at work.  Trade union Solidarity said in a statement on Thursday that a SAPS disciplinary hearing found the Head of Basic Police Development, Major-General Sandra Malebe-Thema, guilty of racism.  According to Anton van der Bijl, head of legal service at Solidarity, Malebe-Thema made herself guilty of racist and humiliating remarks towards various training personnel during an event at the SAPS Training Academy in Oudtshoorn in 2016.  The general apparently stated that there were too many white faces occupying positions in training and that the so-called discrimination against black students would be stopped.  During the same event she also made inappropriate comments about a selected group of personnel’s clothing and weight.  Solidarity said it had laid a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission and had then approached the Labour Court to force the police to act on behalf of the aggrieved persons.  The police declined to comment on internal police matters, but according to an eNCA report on Thursday, Malebe-Thema has already been dismissed.

Read the original report by Jenni Evans in full at News24. Read too, SAPS' head of basic police development dismissed, at eNCA. Read Solidarity’s press statement at Solidarity News

Suspension of Schweizer-Reneke teacher unlawful, claims SA Teachers Union (SAOU)

News24 reports that the SA Teachers Union (SAOU) is demanding that the Schweizer-Reneke Primary School teacher at the centre of an alleged racism row should be reinstated immediately as labour laws were ignored in the heat of the moment.  "The suspension is nothing more than a transparent fig-leaf of political opportunism and abuse of power.  We have already started processes to challenge the suspension," said SAOU chief executive Chris Klopper.  The teacher was suspended over a photograph on social media showing her class's white pupils together at one grouping of desks, while four black pupils were at another desk cluster in the corner of the classroom.  Klopper said that the union was opposed to any form of discrimination, but added that when the teacher was suspended, it was sudden and was allegedly done without following labour law procedure.  He alleged that the teacher was not given a letter stating the intention to suspend her, with reasons for the action, and inviting her to indicate why she should not be suspended, as required by law.  "There was nothing whatsoever.  The decision was just taken on the spur of the moment," Klopper said.  The teacher who took the photograph apparently also faces suspension.

Read this original report by Jenni Evans in full at News24. Read too, Schweizer-onnie ‘moes oor foon hoor’ van skorsing, at Maroela Media

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • SA Human Rights Commission 'deeply' concerned about discrimination at SA schools, at TimesLive
  • One class for whites, another for blacks at Eastern Cape school, at TimesLive


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Three JMPD officers arrested for corruption after allegedly demanding R20,000 bribe

News24 reports that three Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers were arrested on Thursday for allegedly soliciting a bribe of R20,000 from a shop owner in Johannesburg.  The foreign national, who was allegedly caught trying to sell a fake ID on 2 December, apparently paid the officers R5,000 and agreed to settle the full bribe amount at a later stage.  The shop owner then lodged a complaint with the JMPD internal affairs unit and the police.  The businessman is currently being investigated for fraud and has not yet been arrested.

Read the original report by Canny Maphanga in full at News24. See too, Three metro cops arrested after corruption and bribery incident, on page 9 of Sowetan of 11 January 2019


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES

  • No end in sight for Unisa shutdown, students vow to continue on Monday, at News24
  • Students’ strike called off as Unisa, SRC reach an agreement, at News24
  • New Bara CEO ready for daunting challenge, at SowetanLive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page