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
Wednesday, 6 February 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Minister institutes probe into workplace bullying of junior employees in the public service

News24 reports that Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) Minister Ayanda Dlodlo has ordered an investigation into allegations of workplace bullying and unfair treatment of junior employees in the public service.  This followed the publication of a Public Service Commission (PSC) report earlier this year that detailed several cases of misconduct and other grievances against senior managers that were not being investigated.  Noting the report with concern, Dlodlo instructed the labour and human resources units of the department to follow up and uncover cases across the public service sector.  "We are concerned about such allegations of unfair treatment of junior employees.  This does not only reflect badly on our disciplinary system as the public service, but it also dampens the morale of these employees and affects workplace productivity and relations," Dlodlo said in a statement.  The investigations will start immediately and a report will be tabled to the minister before the end of the financial year.  In addition, the DPSA said a technical assistance unit for discipline, ethics and integrity would be established by 31 March 2019 to further strengthen the fight against corruption.

Read Alex Mitchley’s report on this story in full at News24. Read too, Damning report exposes bullying in the public service, at The Star. Read the Minister’s press statement in this regard at SA Govt News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Journalists manhandled and thrown out by armed metro and security police at Durban City Hall (press statement), at Politicsweb


MINING LABOUR

Most residents feel mines do not benefit nearby communities, ActionAid survey finds

BusinessLive reports that most residents of eight mining communities that were surveyed by ActionAid SA said that they derived no benefit from having a mine in their area and that its proximity brought health and environmental problems instead.  This was despite the stated intention of mining legislation and the Mining Charter for communities to benefit from social labour plans, which are the major drivers of corporate social responsibility.  The results of the survey indicated that there has been little trickle-down of community development as promised by the government and the industry.   ActionAid released the results of the survey, the Social Audit Baseline Report, on Tuesday while mining companies were participating in the high-powered Mining Indaba nearby.  Of those interviewed, 79% indicated that there was no benefit from the mines at all, while 8% felt that the mine only brought negative benefits such as sickness, dispossession and damages.  Only 13% felt there were positive benefits such as clinics, roads and employment.  The power of communities to decide on their wellbeing, governance and developmental paths has been stripped away, the report found.

Read Linda Ensor’s report on the survey full at BusinessLive. Read too, What do mines really mean for SA communities? at Fin24. And also, Mining brings no benefit, say 79% of community members in audit, at Daily Maverick

Sibanye-Stillwater says children burnt in firebombing as violent gold strike rumbles on

Miningmx reports that innocent by-standers including children were injured in the violence triggered by the 12-week strike by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations, its CEO Neal Froneman said on Monday.  Two incidents in January, which have not previously been reported on, underline the chilling backdrop to the strike.  In one incident, the family of a member of Amcu rival the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) had their house fire-bombed, with the mother and three children severely burned.  “We have been supporting the family, but it is terrible.  The children had 60% burns,” said Sibanye spokesman, James Wellsted.  In the other instance, an Amcu member who was mistaken for a NUM member was set alight and burnt to death.  Both incidents took place in the Free State.  NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu confirmed the incidents, while Amcu officials could not immediately be reached for comment.  Sibanye is still producing gold at its strike-hit gold operations, but for security reasons, does not want to disclose the percentage of its workforce that has been reporting to work at its various shafts.  There have been disruptions, with no night shifts taking place because of security concerns.  But the strike is apparently not hitting Sibanye’s bottom line.

Read Ed Stoddard’s report on this story in full at Miningmx

Sometimes a strike is necessary to sort out underlying relationship issues, says Sibanye boss

Business Report writes that Sibanye-Stillwater chief executive Neal Froneman on Tuesday told investors that the protracted Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) strike was necessary to address underlying relationship issues as attitudes between the company and the unions harden.  “There is a perception that a strike signifies bad industrial relations.  Sometimes a strike is necessary to sort out relations,” Froneman said at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town.  The relationship between Sibanye and Amcu has soured since 15,000 workers at the Driefontein, Kloof and Beatrix mines went on a strike on 21 November demanding higher wages.  Froneman, who has previously said that the performance of the platinum division had helped to cushion the impact of the strike, called for a solution to the action.  “We need to find a solution to the strike.  My concern is the people who have been striking for the wrong reasons,” said Froneman.  The strike has claimed four lives, and there have been reports of intimidation of non-striking workers and violence, with homes petrol-bombed.  Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said his department would not intervene as the government had opted for collective bargaining, not wage increases determined by the state.

Read Dineo Faku’s report on the Sibanye gold strike in full at Business Report

New owners of Lily Mine could start recruiting employees as early as March

ANA reports that the new owners of the ill-fated Lily Mine, Siyakhula Sonke Empowerment Corporation (SSC), said on Tuesday that the mine would soon resume operations following the recruitment of new employees.  Tuesday marked the third anniversary of an accident at Lily Mine in Mpumalanga which trapped and killed three workers.  Their bodies remain underground.  Operations at the mine ground to a halt in February 2016 after the accident, and the mine was placed under business rescue with about 1,000 workers losing their jobs.  In December, the Department of Mineral Resources approved the transfer of ownership of Lily and its sister mine Barbrook from Vantage Goldfields to SCC's subsidiary, Flaming Silver Trading.  SCC then received R190-million from the Industrial Development Corporation to restart the mine.  Fred Arendse, SCC group chief executive, said that the Lily Mine must be opened to preserve the community and called on the continued support of the workers.   Introducing the company's team that will be working at the mine, he stated that the recruitment of new employees could start as early as March 2019.  Joseph Mathunjwa of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) called on mining companies to work to benefit their communities instead of simply extracting the minerals.  "True commemoration leaves legacies of beneficiation to truly honor the memories of those we have lost," Mathunjwa said.

Read the original of this report on Lily Mine in full at Mining Weekly

Twenty-two people intent on stealing cables trapped in Mpumalanga mine shaft

The Citizen reports that a group of 42 Lesotho nationals, who allegedly went underground at a Mpumalanga mine in an attempt to steal cables, were impacted when a gas explosion took place on Wednesday.  Twenty members of the group managed to reach safety, leaving 22 others still trapped.  In an attempt to rescue the others, the group went to ANC ward councillor Andile Magwane to report the incident.  The Gloria Mine, which mines manganese ore, has been closed for the last four months, where hundreds of miners have still not been paid.  During this time, the mine has struggled with an increase of cable theft.  Proto teams were at the shaft on Wednesday where a rescue operation was underway.  It is unknown whether the trapped people are alive.  In 1994, 33 miners were also trapped in a shaft at the mine after a fire broke out.  Nineteen miners succumbed to the blaze and it took over two weeks to recover the bodies of the deceased.

Read the original of this report at The Citizen. Read too, More than 20 trapped after Gupta mine gas explosion, at BusinessLive

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Minerals Council addressing community relations challenges in mining regions (press statement), at Polity
  • Radebe says government concerned about what green economy will mean for SA's coal industry, at Fin24


FARMING LABOUR

Malema’s lawyer Tumi Mokwena acquitted of the attempted murder of four Zebediela farmworkers

SowetanLive reports that EFF leader Julius Malema's lawyer Tumi Mokwena has been acquitted on four counts of attempted murder by the Polokwane High Court.  Having found the evidence of four state witnesses to be 'dishonest, unreliable and disingenuous', Judge Ephraim Makgoba ruled on Tuesday that Mokwena acted in self-defence and had no intention to kill anyone.  Mokwena was accused of attempted murder after he shot and injured four farmworkers over a salary dispute at Zebediela Citrus Farm Estate in 2017.  Mokwena said he shot one of the workers because he would have been wasting his time trying to escape the violent scene and added that he had had no time to be fighting over a gun with Maile Mamokhere, whom he shot on the hand.  "There was no time, I had to shoot and run,” Mokwena told the court.  But, prosecutor Johann Kotzee insisted that Mokwena's life had not been in danger.  Communal Property Association chairperson Ben Takalo said workers at the Zebediela Citrus farm had wanted Mokwena removed from his position after he reneged on his promise to pay salaries and find investors.  Mokwena was the farm's managing director.

Read the original of this report in full at SowetanLive. Read too, Mokwena shat at farm workers randomly, at SowetanLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Agri SA: Agriculture deserves the combined support of government (press statement), at Politicsweb


UNION NEWS

Fedusa places general secretary on special leave, says he had no mandate to purchase AYO shares

Fin24 reports that trade union federation Fedusa has placed its general secretary Dennis George on special leave pending a probe into the purchase of shares in AYO Technology Solutions.  According to amaBhungane, George might have benefited personally from the AYO deal via a company called Difeme Holdings, which received pre-listing AYO shares at R1.50.  A R4.3bn investment by state-asset manager the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) into AYO in December 2017 has been under scrutiny in a judicial commission of inquiry into the PIC.  The PIC acquired the AYO stock at R43 a share.  At a media briefing on Wednesday, Fedusa president Godfrey Selematsela indicated that an external investigation would be conducted to determine the veracity of the allegations.  George is a non-executive director of the JSE-listed IT services company.  Fedusa said on Wednesday that it never gave any "mandate for the acquisition of shares from any company in the name of the trade union".  The federation dismissed what it called an attempt to link it to Difeme Holdings.  George, meanwhile, tweeted the day after the amaBhungane article was published that the news site would "deal with my lawyers".

Read the report in this regard in full at Fin24


BASIC EDUCATION

GDE investigating allegations of sexual assault by male teacher at Centurion primary school

ANA reports that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) said on Wednesday that it was aware of sexual assault allegations levelled against a teacher at Valhalla Primary School in Centurion.  “The educator is accused of harassing approximately 23 learners at the school, he has been precautionarily removed from the school to report to the district office,” the department indicated.  The GDE said police were investigating a case of sexual assault, while a team of district officials, as well as the psycho-social unit, were dispatched to the school on Wednesday morning.  “The department has a zero-tolerance approach stance to allegations of sexual misconduct, and where the allegations are proven true, the department will not hesitate to take decisive action against the perpetrators,” it indicated.

The original of this short report is at The Citizen. Read too, Valhalla Primary teacher, accused of harassing 23 children, removed from school, at TimesLIVE

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Sans Souci pupils back teacher filmed slapping pupil, at Independent News
  • DA Northern Cape calls on Education MEC to prioritise teacher appointments in the province (press statement), at Politicsweb


RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE FUNDS

Cosatu laments poor oversight of PIC by Government Employee Pension Fund trustees

BusinessLive reports that according to Cosatu, the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) could have exercised better oversight over the scandal-ridden Public Investment Corporation (PIC).  The union federation, whose affiliates members’ pension savings are invested by the PIC on behalf of the GEPF, said on Tuesday that while workers were “angered” by reports of mass looting and corruption at the statutory corporation, its representatives and others on the fund’s board needed to get their act together.  Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the federation hoped that the proposed legislative amendments to the way the PIC was governed would address some of the governance weaknesses at the asset manager.  However, the strengthening of GEPF trustees would also aid the situation.  The federation called on finance minister Tito Mboweni to include union representatives in the composition of the new PIC board.

Read Theto Mahlakoana’s report in the above regard in full at BusinessLive


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

More staff suspensions likely as Transnet works through forensic report backlog

Fin24 reports that further provisional suspensions of staff might be on the cards at Transnet as auditors at the state-owned port and freight rail operator continue to comb through past forensic reports.  According to acting Group CEO Tau Morwe, Transnet was in the process of assessing 345 reports in respect of which the recommendations and findings might not have been implemented.  Transnet announced on Monday that eight senior executives had been sent letters of precautionary suspension.  Their names have not been made public.  Morwe said it was likely that more precautionary suspension notices would be served.  Transnet's audit department is being assisted by an external auditor in assessing the reports.  The company would apparently give affected staff an opportunity to appeal the suspension notices.  In a separate matter, Morwe indicated that two Transnet officials suspended in September 2018, Thamsanqa Jiyane and Lindiwe Mdletshe, had been charged and would undergo disciplinary proceedings in February.

Read Khulekani Magubane’s report on Transnet suspensions in full at Fin24


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Auditors raise concerns about effectiveness of public-sector lifestyle audits

BusinessLive reports that speakers at the Public Sector Forum said on Tuesday that performing lifestyle audits on public-sector employees was unlikely to make a meaningful impact on corruption.  This was because corruption ringleaders often used channels where their transactions could not be detected.  In his 2018 state of the nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was looking at introducing the audits for ministers and civil servants to strengthen disclosure and fight corruption in the public sector.  A technical task-team, consisting of law enforcement agencies, Sars and the Financial Intelligence Centre, among other entities, was then established to develop the framework that would make lifestyle audits possible.  Ramaphosa is expected to announce the progress of the framework in his 2019 address.  “It’s a very good idea on the surface but how are we going to implement it and how are we going to ensure that individuals in the game will play it as they should?” asked Claudelle von Eck, CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors SA (IIASA).  Pumla Sogoni, governance officer at IIASA, said the biggest concern with the envisaged audits was that they would encroach on people’s privacy, contravening the constitution.  Jacqui-Lyn McIntyre-Louw, financial accountancy programme leader at the North West University, who performs lifestyle analysis, said these audits were costly, complex and took a long time to complete.

Read Londiwe Buthelezi’s report on lifestyle audits in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • ‘Orange overalls’ await corrupt officials, Ramaphosa promises mining investors, at Daily Maverick


OTHER MISCELLANEOUS NEWS HEADLINES

  • Cosatu rejects Eskom unbundling proposal to fix job losses, at BusinessLive
  • SA to grasp Eskom bull ‘by the horns’, says Rob Davies, at BusinessLive
  • Imatu opposes mass retrenchment at Inkosi Langalibalele Municipality (press statement), at Imatu News
  • Nampak shareholders irked by executive pay policy, at BusinessLive
  • Sex workers campaign for law to be changed, at News24
  • Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela announced as new Gauteng police commissioner, at News24
  • Uasa says fuel price increase may be small, but cumulative effect will touch workers’ pockets (press statement), at Polity

 


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