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, 4 February 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Parliamentary committee says death of two cops in KZN cash heist shootout 'a huge loss'

ANA reports that Parliament's police portfolio committee said on Sunday that more resources needed to be allocated to police specialised units combating highly trained and heavily armed cash-in-transit (CIT) robbers and for other high-risk operations.  The killing of a member of the SA Police Service (SAPS) special task force and a member of police crime intelligence during a shootout with armed CIT robbers near Nongoma in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) on Friday night was a sad day for all law-abiding South Africans, committee chairman Francois Beukman said in a statement.  “The SAPS lost highly trained members who were at the forefront in the fight against violent crime.  It is a big loss to our nation.  Their deaths are a huge loss to SAPS, the specialised units, and their respective families,” he said.  Beukman went on to state:  “The specialised units of the SAPS face life-threatening and dangerous situations daily, and all necessary steps should be taken from a budgetary, logistical, and training perspective to support them appropriately.”  He indicated that the committee would support an increase in the budget for the sub-programme of specialised interventions of the SAPS, which was allocated R4.3 billion in the current financial year.

Read the report on this story in full at Independent News. Read the portfolio committee’s press statement at Parliament News


MINING LABOUR

Case related to Marikana murders that happened prior to 16 August 2012 postponed to May

ANA reports that seventeen mineworkers facing multiple charges relating to a violent strike at Lonmin mine in Marikana near Rustenburg seven years ago appeared briefly in the North West High Court in Mogwase on Monday.  The case was postponed to 6 May, due to an application the accused have made at the High Court in Pretoria to review the decision of the National Director of Prosecutions to prosecute them.  The accused are facing a range of charges, including attempted murder, murder, malicious damage to property, robbery, the unlawful possession of a firearm and the unlawful possession of ammunition.  The charges relate to the murders of 10 people, preceding 16 August 2012, which was the day on which 34 mineworkers were killed by the police during a wildcat strike at Lonmin platinum mine operations in Marikana.  The state alleges that the group killed two policemen, two Lonmin security officers, and three non-striking workers, amongst others, during the violent wildcat strike in Marikana.  Nineteen mineworkers were initially arrested, but two have since died.

Read the report in the above regard in full at The Citizen


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Cosatu prepares for its national strike on 13 February 2019

Independent News reports that labour federation Cosatu is gearing up for a national strike in two weeks’ time to protest against retrenchments, unemployment, corruption and racism.  The strike, to be undertaken in terms of section 77 of the Labour Relations Act, is set to take place on Wednesday, 13 February 2019, a week after President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation Address.  The federation’s president, Zingiswa Losi, on Friday addressed hundreds of members of the organisation and its tripartite alliance partners, the SACP and the ANC, in Durban in preparation for the strike.  She said that it would be held to take a stand against retrenchments, unemployment, racism, corruption and advocate for the safety of teachers at schools.  At the jobs summit last year, Cosatu called for a moratorium on retrenchments, a position that was supported by the government, but not the businesses present.  “They (businesses) told us that in 10 years they would create 10 million jobs but they’re taking those jobs away now,” said Losi.

Read Samkelo Mtshali’s report in the above regard in full at Independent News

Cosatu strike later this month set to be litmus test for Ramaphosa

The Citizen writes that later this month President Cyril Ramaphosa is to face his first Cosatu-led national strike since he came to power.  This will likely prove to be a litmus test of the improved political relationship between the labour federation and the ANC government.  The strike will also come at a time when the components of the Tripartite Alliance – the ANC, Cosatu and the SA Communist Party – have been trying to revive their relationship after years of tension under former president Jacob Zuma.  Cosatu was due on Monday to finalise preparations for the national strike on 13 February.  In the past such strikes have always been characterised by work stay-aways and street marches nationwide.  “The strike will be about fighting the ongoing job losses across all the sectors of the economy.  The job summit last year failed to put a moratorium on retrenchments and the federation, ultimately, resolved to go on a national strike on February 13,” said Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu spokesperson.  Since he assumed power in February last year, Ramaphosa had been working hard to lure investors, but economists have identified regular workers’ strikes as one of the factors likely to impede investment.

Read Eric Naki’s report in the above regard in full at The Citizen

Fawu distances itself from stabbing, injuring of schoolchildren by Blue Ribbon Bread strikers

Cape Times reports that the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), representing hundreds of Blue Ribbon Bread workers in Salt River, Cape Town, has distanced itself from the torching of a vehicle, stabbing of a company promoter and injuring of schoolchildren.  This came after Premier Foods blamed its striking workers for using violent intimidation tactics after its promoter was stabbed while delivering free bread to a school.  Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola said they did not condone violence from anyone.  “We will, as we have done over the last 65 days of the strike, encourage our members to be non-violent even under extreme provocation by the private security enlisted by Premier Foods,” he indicated.  But, the company’s spokesperson, Siobhan O’Sullivan, said:  “The 60-day strike has been marked by violence and intimidation of employees, traders and consumers.  In some areas, the intimidation has escalated into violence, damage of property and personal injury.  Numerous incidents of intimidation of traders, consumers and even schoolchildren have been seen.”  More than 600 workers at the firm have been on strike since 28 November, demanding a wage increase.

Read Okuhle Hlati’s report on this story in full at Cape Times


PROTESTS / MARCHES

Protesters demanding jobs at Durban’s King Dinuzulu hospital set city bus alight

TimesLIVE reports that protesters set fire to a Durban city bus in Overport on Monday morning.  Metro police spokesman, senior superintendent Parboo Sewpersad, said that the area between Alpine and RD Naidu Roads became a no-go zone because of protest action.  He indicated that a group of about 100 protesters had earlier blocked the entrance to the King Dinuzulu hospital in RD Naidu Road.  “A large crowd gathered outside the hospital, demanding jobs, and they became violent, stoning our vehicles when we asked them to disperse.  A bus was then set alight and police are arresting protesters now,” Sewpersad said.  He also advised that protesters had blockaded Mangosuthu Highway in Umlazi, south of Durban, where students were burning tyres on the road and the east bound carriageway was closed.

Read the original of Yasantha Naidoo’s original report at TimesLIVE


PRICES / TARIFFS

Eskom revises proposed tariff upwards as it unveils shock changes to Nersa application

Engineering News reports that embattled electricity utility Eskom has made shock adjustments to its revenue application currently before the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa), which, if approved, would translate into tariff increases that are even higher than the 15% a year hikes sought in its initial application.  Eskom used the first day of the Gauteng leg of nationwide public hearings to unveil several material changes to its sales and production assumptions for the three years covered by the fourth multiyear price determination (MYPD4) submission before the regulator.  The changes, announced by CFO Calib Cassim in Soweto, mean that the utility is now seeking yearly hikes of 17.1%, 15.4% and 15.5% for 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 respectively.  These requested increases do not include the 4.41% upward tariff adjustment already approved for 2019/20.  They also don’t cater for any adjustment that could be made during the upcoming three-year tariff horizon as a result of Eskom’s RCA submission for the 2017/18 financial year.  Eskom also announced major updates to its assumptions regarding the composition of its coal fleet, the introduction and performance of the Medupi and Kusile power plants, as well as the energy availability factor (EAF) that could be achieved from the downsized fleet.

Read the report in the above regard in full at Engineering News


STAFFING / VACANCIES

Prisoner escapes at Joburg high court blamed on staff shortages and inexperienced orderlies

Sowetan reports that the escape of prisoners at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Friday has been blamed on staff shortages and inexperienced court orderlies.  Two murder suspects, Andile Ncanyelo and Njabulo Khumalo, who were due to appear at the court, allegedly overpowered court orderlies who were escorting them from a police truck into the holding cells.  One police officer was allegedly stabbed in the arm during the scuffle with the prisoners.  The daring escape led to the court precinct being placed under lockdown as police teams searched for the prisoners in and outside the building, where they weren’t found.  Court officers who were on duty on the day indicated that 16 suspects, including the two who escaped, overpowered inexperienced court orderlies.  Richard Mamabolo of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) commented the problem was that the ratio of police officials to the inmates was low.  “At times you find that there is one official who is responsible for transporting five inmates to different courts in one city.  This obviously poses a danger to officials,” Mambolo said.  A court officer who had been on duty said that security measures did not appear to have been taken into account on Friday as he saw at least three officers attempting to lead all the inmates into the holding cells.  “The officers are new and have no experience.  They look like they were reservists or came here straight from college,” the officer claimed.  This was the second time prisoners have escaped from the same court building in less than two months.

Read more of this Sowetan report by Tankiso Makhetha at SA Labour News


RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE FUNDS

Public Servants Association says its concerns about PIC corruption vindicated

ANA reports that the Public Servants Association (PSA), which represents government employees and pensioners, said on Monday the concerns it had previously raised about the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) had been vindicated by allegations of corruption and impropriety against the fund manager’s board and senior officials.  Last Friday, the PIC board asked Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to relieve it of its duties, citing the destabilising impact of “events in the recent past”, including allegations of impropriety levelled against at least four directors.  PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks said on Monday:  “The PSA has consistently stated that involvement of politicians and their business cronies in the running of the PIC was a disaster in the making.  The PSA appeals to the minister to listen to the PSA’s voice of reason and hope.”  Fredericks warned that Mboweni’s failure to include public worker representatives in the interim PIC board “will have far-reaching implications”.  The association also urged the board of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), which invests public workers’ pensions through the PIC, to act on the revelations from the ongoing inquiry into the asset manager.  “The PSA believes there is prima-facie evidence at hand to initiate legal proceedings against the PIC board that abrogated its fiduciary responsibilities,” said the association.

Read this report in this regard in full at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Tito Mboweni starts process to appoint new PIC board, at BusinessLive
  • Opinion: An opportunity exists to set out a new vision for the PIC, at BL Premium (paywall access only)


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Eight senior managers at Transnet served with suspension notices

EWN reports that eight senior managers at Transnet have been served with suspension notices.  The employees were apparently served with the letters on Friday and have until Tuesday to respond to the parastatal to indicate why it should not go ahead with disciplinary proceedings.  The suspensions arise from various forensic reports, which contained recommendations which were never executed.  Transnet's acting group chief executive Tau Morwe would not reveal who the eight senior managers were, but he said that the parastatal had gone back over 345 forensic and audit reports from previous years.  Morwe also said that more people might still be suspended.  Last month, Transnet advised that summonses had been issued to eight former top executives, including former CEO Brian Molefe and former CFO Anoj Singh, as part of legal steps to recoup an estimated R1.3 billion in looted funds during their tenure.

Read the original of Mia Lindeque’s short report at EWN. Read too, Eight senior Transnet officials issued with letters of precautionary suspension, at The Citizen


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Cosatu’s Losi says 'each person must face own skeletons’ at state capture inquiry

Independent News reports that on Friday Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi referred to explosive allegations made before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture implicating senior members of the ANC.  She said that the tripartite alliance comprising the ANC, Cosatu and the SACP should always defend the organisation, while individuals implicated should answer for themselves.  Losi was in Durban addressing hundreds of Cosatu members, its affiliates and alliance partners ahead of the federation’s national strike in two weeks’ time.  She said individuals implicated in state capture allegations who wanted to answer for themselves should go to the Zondo commission and clear their names and not use other platforms such as social media to do so.  “We are saying each person must now face their skeletons.  Each man and woman should carry their bag of skeletons because they made those skeletons alone and we don’t know anything about them and we must be able, comrades, to insulate the movement from corruption.”  Losi further pointed out that the commission should not only be focused on the public sector, but should also focus on corruption in the private sector.  She commented that in SA big companies colluded and acted like cartels, but they were only charged 10% of their profits “and then everybody moves on with life.”

Read Samkelo Mtshali’s report on this story in full at Independent News


JOBS-FOR-PALS

City of Cape Town in 'jobs for pals’ scandal

Weekend Argus reports that the City of Cape Town council is engaged in a fresh fight over a “jobs for pals” scandal implicating the Department of Safety and Security’s JP Smith and Richard Bosman.  A confidential report on allegations of “nepotism and abuse of power” has been leaked to the media and irate workers and opposition political parties are pressing the DA-led council to take action against implicated officials.  The ANC and the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) claimed the city was attempting to “sweep under the carpet” a report that found that the process of appointing former policeman Petrus Robberts to a senior position in law enforcement was irregular, defective and inconsistent with the human resources policy.  The ANC has called on Robberts to vacate the position and for tough action to be taken against those involved in his employment, namely Smith and Bosman.  The report showed email correspondence between Bosman, Smith and Robberts in relation to Robberts’ offer even before the creation of the position.  It recommended that council speaker Dirk Smit should institute an investigation into the conduct of Smith in the “irregular” appointment of Robberts and that disciplinary proceedings be instituted against Bosman.  Smit said the report was only “for noting” and took note of the “lesser transgression” by Bosman.  Regarding Smith, he said there was no new evidence warranting action, but that his office would welcome and “accumulate” any new evidence which he would use to decide what the next steps would be.

Read Bulelwa Payi’s report on this story in full at Weekend Argus

Senior JMPD officials ‘rigged interview process’ for facilities manager post

Sowetan reports that senior officials at the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) have been accused of rigging an interview process for the post of facilities manager in order to appoint their preferred candidate.  This was the finding of an arbitrator at a bargaining council hearing which found that Linda Mphuti was deprived of appointment to a job after acting in the role for four years.  Mphuti filed a dispute after another candidate was appointed to the role, claiming that the interview process had been flawed and skewed in his competitor’s favour.  Arbitrator Itumeleng Williams recommended that the appointment of another official into the post be set aside because she was allegedly given an interview questionnaire prior to her being interviewed.  Williams indicated:  “The third party [the successful candidate] was party to the circumvention of a fair and objective recruitment process.  There is overwhelming evidence that she had either direct or indirect access to the executive director or the human resources manager, or both, before the interview process.”  Williams said the appointment of the successful candidate was unfair and that the failure to appoint Mphuti as facilities manager constituted an unfair labour practice.  But, the appointment has yet to be reversed nearly a year after the finding as the city has approached the labour court to review and set aside the award.  This matter is sub judice and before the labour court.

Read more of the Sowetan report by Tankiso Makhetha at SA Labour News

 


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