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, 14 January 2019.


MINING LABOUR

Amcu wage strike at Sibanye-Stillwater gold operations enters week nine

Business Report writes that Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), was due on Monday to address a mass meeting of members in the ninth week of a wage strike at Sibanye-Stillwater's gold operations in SA.  About 15,000 Amcu members at Sibanye downed tools last November demanding a R1,000 annual wage increase for each of the next three years.  There have been clashes with fellow workers from the rival National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which, alongside two other unions, signed a deal with Sibanye and whose members are at work.  Mathunjwa has accused Sibanye of being disingenuous in pleading poverty when workers demanded higher wages, but being quick to inform investors that it was not feeling the financial pinch of the strike.  Four Amcu members arrested during the strike will on Thursday hear if the Oberholzer Magistrate’s Court in Carletonville will grant them bail.  They have been charged with theft of motor vehicles, public violence and robbery with aggravated circumstances.

Read Siphelele Dludla’s original report in this regard in full at Business Report

Agri-hub seen as key post-mining-economy jobs driver in Gauteng’s West Rand

Mining Weekly reports that an ambitious plan to develop Gauteng’s West Rand into an agri-industrial hub, primarily producing high-value crops for domestic and export markets, is starting to take shape.  It is expected to be officially launched during the first quarter of 2019.  The initiative has been branded ‘Bokamoso Ba Rona’, Sesotho for “Our Future”, and was included as one of the flagship projects unveiled as part of the Presidential Jobs Summit framework agreement, released in October.  Sibanye-Stillwater, in conjunction with the Far West Rand Dolomitic Water Association and the Merafong municipality, has agreed to contribute to the programme 30,000 ha of arable, albeit non-contiguous, land to the venture, running 50 km north to south and 30 km east to west, as well as built infrastructure, including warehouse and training facilities.  These facilities will be re-purposed so that the programme can effectively support the participants and provide value addition opportunities through agri-processing and distribution.  The programme is driven by a coalition initially conceptualised through the Mining Phakisa, and will integrate pre-existing initiatives that are being driven by the founding principals in the coalition.  The Public Investment Corporation is committed to fulfilling the role of anchor investor of the programme.

Read the original of this report in full at Mining Weekly

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Mantashe forges ahead with Xolobeni visit despite tension, at IOL News


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Guidelines on balloting for strikes or lockouts issued in December by labour minister

In December, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant issued guidelines on balloting for strikes in line with recent amendments to the Labour Relations Act (LRA).  Gazette No. R.1397 of 19 December 2018 contains the guidelines issued in terms of Section 95(9) of the LRA.  The guidelines provide that unions must not call for a strike before a secret ballot has been conducted and must not discipline or terminate the membership of workers who refuse to participate in a strike in which a secret ballot has not been held.  Workers will be allowed to refuse to participate in strikes that do not enjoy majority support and unions must keep documentary or electronic records of strike ballots for up to three years.  There is no requirement for a union to obtain the consent of an employer to hold a ballot unless stipulated in a collective agreement, but reasonable notice must be given to members of the holding of a ballot.  The guidelines also indicate that there is no requirement for a union to permit employer observers at a ballot or to employ independent scrutineers to conduct or observe the ballot.  The director-general is expected to issue a directive to those unions whose constitution presently does not yet provide for a secret ballot in respect of strike action.

Access the text of the guidelines on balloting at Workinfo.com


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Nzimande condemns blocking of N3 on Sunday night by protesting truck drivers

ANA reports that Transport Minister Blade Nzimande on Monday condemned the blocking of the N3 highway in Van Reenen and Tugela Plaza by protesting truck drivers.  On Sunday night, drivers used their trucks to cordon off the highway, causing traffic congestion and forcing motorists to use alternative routes.  Four trucks were impounded and four truck drivers arrested.  The road was cleared by early Monday morning.  Nzimande last Friday met the leadership of the local trucking industry in Durban to hear the challenges facing the sector, which has embarked on random protests since last year against the hiring of foreign nationals at lower wages.  "This unfortunate (latest) action by truck drivers is not in keeping with the letter and spirit of our meeting held this past Friday, where I met with the leadership of the All Truck Drivers Foundation and the National Truck Drivers Association to address challenges facing South African truck drivers.  This is nothing but negotiating in bad faith on the part of some of the leaders of the truck drivers," Nzimande said.  He indicated that the parties to the meeting had agreed to constitute a team led by his department, incorporating other departments including home affairs and labour, as well as the bargaining council and drivers' representatives.

Read the original report in this regard in full at IOL News


APPOINTMENTS / RECRUITMENT / STAFFING / VACANCIES

Gauteng department of health fast tracking the filling of community service nurses' vacancies

News24 reports that the Gauteng Department of Health plans to fast track the filling of community service nurses' vacancies.  “The role of nurses is crucial in the healthcare system, they are the heart and soul of the system and the department will continue to prioritise them,” head of department Professor Mhululi Lukhele said in a statement on Sunday.  This came days after the KwaZulu-Natal department of health secured 300 vacancies for nurses in the province as a part of President Cyril Ramaphosa's public health sector stimulus package.  Lukhele indicated further:  “Although the implementation of our recovery plan is beginning to bear fruit, it is appropriate to share that the Department is not yet out of the woods.  We are faced with a challenge to manage the high compensation of employees.”  He assured affected staff members that despite challenges face by the department, work was being done to resolve the hinderances relating to placements.

Read Canny Maphanga’s original report in full at News24

‘Blacks not interested in SOEs’ says Denel chair in defence of appointment of white CEO

City Press reports that Denel looked at almost 100 corporate executives in its bid to fill the position of CEO, preferably with a black person.  But the state-owned arms manufacturer was rejected and bluntly told that, as a state-owned enterprise (SOE), it was not a preferred career destination.  This was indicated by Denel chairperson Monhla Hlahla on Friday, following a threat by the Black Management Forum (BMF) to approach courts to have the appointment of white male Daniel du Toit overturned because, in its view, there were many black professionals who could have been appointed instead.  Du Toit was due to start working at Denel on Monday.  The company received 132 applications, 44 of which were responses to adverts, while the remainder were headhunted.  A total of 99 candidates were African, coloured and Indian men, while 43 of the candidates withdrew.  Eventually, from a shortlist of five male candidates, three were white and two were black.  “We headhunted, but we were rejected.  Some of them told us that, although the offer was flattering, they were not interested.  They saw the SOE roles as poisoned, while others said black people were punished at SOEs,” Hlahla said.  She added that some believed that joining an SOE, let alone Denel, was a reputational risk because of past and recent revelations of corruption and other dodgy dealings at SOEs.  The Liberated Metalworkers Union of SA (Limusa), a Cosatu affiliate, has also come out guns blazing against Du Toit’s appointment, which Hlahla was on merit.

Read Lesetja Malope’s original report in full at City Press. Read too, Denel reaffirms commitment to transformation after appointment of white CEO, at Engineering News


YOUTH EMPLOYMENT

Revised incentive for global business services sector will create youth jobs, says Rob Davies

Fin24 reports that a new incentive for the global business services sector will create employment opportunities for youth in SA, according to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.  The Global Business Services incentive, which came into effect on 1 January 2019, replaces the previous Business Process Services Incentive.  The department of trade and industry (dti) revised the package after continuous monitoring of the sector, a global benchmarking study and investor engagements.  Through the incentive, youth will have opportunities in medium to high complexity jobs linked to major global brands, the department explained.  "Areas of special interest by potential global investors are legal services, finance and accounting and IT services," Davies indicated.  The industry body representing the global business services sector in SA – the BPeSA – is of the view the revised incentive will ensure SA remains competitive.  According to the dti, the sector has reported an average annual growth rate of 22% and the growth rate is expected to increase over the next five years.

Read Lameez Omarjee’s original report in full at Fin24


BASIC EDUCATION

New policy requires teachers registering with Sace to produce police clearance certificates

SowetanLive reports that all teachers registering from the first time with the SA Council of Educators (Sace) will have to produce police clearance certificates.  This policy was implemented from the first of this month.  Sace’s Themba Ndhlovu said all the new teachers and those updating their details would need to produce a certificate.  "This was sparked, among other things, by the high number of cases of sex pest teachers that have been reported to the council over the years.  Ndhlovu said the certificate should not be older than six months at the time of submission, irrespective of the country of origin.  He indicated:  "In the past, teachers registering with Sace only had to indicate if they had a criminal record or not but there was no proof required.  At the moment the council is still in discussion on what to do in terms of those already in the system.  Teacher unions have accepted the move.  Mugwena Maluleke of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) said they fully support the decision as they wanted to professionalise the teaching profession.  He stated:  "We have teachers who are preying on our children and we don't need them in this profession".  Basil Manuel of the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA (Naptosa) said they cautiously welcomed the policy and added:  "We will support it and see how it will unfold."

Read Yoliswa Sobuwa’s original report in this regard in full at SowetanLive

Security beefed up at Schweizer-Reneke school, but government objects

TimesLIVE reports that the North West education department on Monday clarified that armed security was not permitted on any of its school premises.  This followed reports of security being called to Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke, where a protest was held last week.  "We have heard that parents have beefed up security by bringing in people with guns, but these are not permitted.  The MEC will be meeting with parents again this week to address the matter," a departmental spokesperson said.  Meanwhile, the department was still investigating the circumstances which led to a group of four black Grade R pupils being photographed seated separately from their 18 white classmates on their first day of school last week.  The teacher who took the photo was suspended pending an investigation.  The school ast week dismissed any allegations of discrimination or racism.  "A photo taken in a classroom of Schweizer-Reneke Primary is not a reflection of the true character of the school," the school's governing body said in a statement.

Read Naledi Shange’s original report in full at TimesLIVE


RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE FUNDS

ANC still eyeing pension assets for prescribed socially productive investments

Hilton Tarrant writes that the ANC is once again eyeing the notion of prescribed assets, in terms of which money managers will be forced to invest a portion of their funds in state-mandated areas and/or companies.  In its 2019 Election Manifesto, the party indicates that it will “Investigate the introduction of prescribed assets on financial institutions’ funds to mobilise funds within a regulatory framework for socially productive investments (including housing, infrastructure for social and economic development and township and village economy) and job creation while considering the risk profiles of the affected entities”.  Intellidex’s Peter Attard Montalto says that while the idea is in line with the party’s Nasrec policy, the “more specific language on prescribed assets than expected” was a “surprise”.  He adds that this “should be a wake-up call for the local asset management community that the issue of prescribed assets is alive even if it will not be pushed forwards with the current leadership of National Treasury”.  Montalto cautions that the issue is current “because the hunt for solutions to Eskom will likely lead to a debate around the need to dictate that the asset management community and banks lend to Eskom to keep it afloat.”

Read Hilton Tarrant’s original report in full at Moneyweb

Market confident about pension fund administrator Alexander Forbes despite executive exodus

BusinessLive writes that the exodus of Alexander Forbes (AF) executive management in the past few months is unsettling but the market is unlikely to judge the company harshly, say analysts.  Instead, performance of the pension fund administrator’s stocks will be more dependent on how well new CEO Dawie de Villiers is able to implement his turnaround strategy.  The country’s largest pension fund administrator has lost several members of its executive team, starting with CEO Andrew Darfoor, who was fired by the board in September 2018, and followed by the resignation of CFO Naidene Ford-Hoon.  The latest blow came two weeks ago when Leon Greyling, CEO of Alexander Forbes Investments, group chief risk officer Vishnu Naicker and chief HR officer Christian Schaub quit.  Analysts commented that the departure of executives, especially those appointed during Darfoor’s term, was not surprising given the change of the CEO.  “There would also be an element of the new CEO wanting to build a team that he feels comfortable with and trusts,” said Karl Gevers of Benguela Global Managers.  De Villiers, who joined AF from Sanlam, has promised to deliver a turnaround strategy by the end of the group’s financial year in March.

Read the original report by Londiwe Buthelezi in full at BusinessLive


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Nedlac’s executive director Madoda Vilakazi placed on suspension

BusinessLive reports that the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) has placed its executive director Madoda Vilakazi on precautionary suspension pending an investigation into his leadership at the organisation.  The suspension is the second at the statutory entity that falls under the labour department.  Although Nedlac would not provide the reasons for the suspension, Vilakazi was apparently suspended for failing to prevent financial mismanagement and incidents of conflict of interest at the organisation.  He was also alleged to have been implicated in the irregular appointment of service providers.  In November, Vilakazi placed Nedlac CFO Mfanufikile Daza on suspension for allegedly not adhering to the body’s procurement policies, among other issues.  The management committee, comprising representatives of labour, business and government, decided to place Vilakazi on suspension in December while “internal processes on both suspensions unfold and are considered by relevant structures”.

Read the original report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Roedean principal Murray Thomas suspended with immediate effect, at TimesLIVE


OTHER LABOUR REPORTS

Home Affairs portfolio committee chair proposes cell phone ban for front-line health department staff

Engineering News reports that Hlomani Chauke, chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, called on Monday on the Department of Home Affairs (DoH) to consider an outright ban on cell phone usage by front line staff during working hours at all branches.  This followed numerous complaints made to the committee from members of the public about delays at DoH offices.  In a statement, Chauke said a guiding framework on the use of cell phones at front desks must be drafted and implemented across the country to ensure standardisation.  This must include guidelines for how officials would be contacted in the case of a family emergency.  “It is unacceptable that the public spend excessive amounts of time at Home Affairs offices, while officials spend a disproportionate amount of time busy with their cell phones,” Chauke said.  He added that similar practices were witnessed at ports of entry across the country.  He also stated that professional service at the department must improve.

Read the original of this report in full at Engineering News. Read the Portfolio Committee’s press statement in this regard at Parliament News


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES

  • Taxi driver who hit and killed Durban Metro cop given bail, at Daily News
  • Police commissioner does not object to being interviewed by Ipid in connection with fraud probe, at Security.co.za
  • Labour trouble brewing at Mugg & Bean as Cosatu takes up labour practices imposed on waitrons, at The Citizen
  • Sorry SA, but we need more money over next three years, Eskom pleads, at TimesLIVE
  • City of Joburg defends former CFO Wurayayi's integrity, at IOL News
  • Editorial: SA needs to train more artisans, at The Citizen

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page