news shutterstockIn our afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Wednesday, 13 February 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Viral footage of brazen robbery in Hillbrow shows two security officers killed in their vehicle

News24 reports that police are looking for five suspects after two security guards were shot and killed in their vehicle on Monday night.  The guards, believed to be aged 45 and 50 years old, were parked outside a supermarket on the corner of Caroline and Claim streets in Hillbrow shortly after 20:00.  In a video that went viral online, two men are seen approaching the marked security vehicle on foot.  They fire several shots through the car window before a third man joins them.  The two security guards were shot in their upper bodies and were certified dead on the scene.  A firearm was taken from one of the victims.  Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said the motive for the killing was as yet unknown and two cases of murder had been opened.

Read the original report in this regard and view the video footage at News24. Read a SAPS press statement in this regard at SAPS News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Department of Labour to host Driven Machinery Regulations workshop on 19 February 2018 (press statement), at SA Govt News


MINING LABOUR

Sibanye-Stillwater considers closing unprofitable shafts at gold mines

Bloomberg reports that Sibanye Gold is considering shutting unprofitable shafts and cutting jobs at its South African gold mines amid a three-month-old wage strike that’s curbing output.  Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted confirmed that the precious metals producer has talked with some of its trade unions about a potential restructuring, which could lead to job cuts.  Rising costs, including higher power prices, were undermining the economic viability of its gold operations, he stated.  “There is a possibility that if we don’t find solutions that there may be restructuring, which entails closing some of the operations and possible job cuts.  We can’t carry on unprofitable shafts as it means we are taking money from one area and pouring it down the drain,” Wellsted indicated.  The company has informed the Department of Mineral Resources about the possibility of restructuring, a prerequisite before cutting jobs.  At three of the company’s gold mines, thousands of workers allied to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have been on strike for thirteen weeks over wages.  Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman said earlier this month that he would not increase the wage offer to Amcu after three other unions signed a pay deal with the miner.

Read the original of this report in full at Mining Weekly

Two Welkom miners shot dead on Wednesday on way to work

EWN reports that police have confirmed that two mineworkers have been shot dead in Welkom, Free State.  The miners were heading to work on Wednesday morning when they were gunned down while waiting at a bus stop.  Authorities said that a bakkie carrying armed criminals stopped beside the men before opening fire and then rushing away from the scene.  Police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said a total of five miners were targeted, with two dying at the scene.  “There were two miners that were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds.  There was also one who was assaulted and he was also taken to hospital.  Police are presently investigating cases of murder and attempted murder,” he indicated.

Read the original of Ayanda Nyathi’s report on this story at EWN

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Department of Labour: The UIF’s ex-mineworkers campaign turns to Phuthaditjhaba (press statement), at DOL News


COSATU NATIONAL STRIKE

Cosatu's national strike draws 400 protesters to Mary Fitzgerald Square

TimesLIVE reports that the drizzle in Johannesburg did not deter about 400 marchers from singing and chanting on Mary Fitzgerald Square on Wednesday as part of Cosatu's national strike against job losses.  Some of the placards read: ‘A company must not be allowed to retrench workers simply to make profits’, ‘Eskom is not for sale’ and ‘No to outsourcing and privatisation’.  Spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the one-day protected strike was intended to highlight the fight against job losses in the public and private sectors.  Several unions voiced support for the strike including the National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) and the SA Commercial Catering and Allied Workers' Union (Saccawu).  

Read the original report by Nico Gous on this story in full at TimesLIVE. Read too, Strike against job losses compounds SA's load shedding woes, at Fin24

Nurses expected to down tools on Wednesday in support of Cosatu national strike

TimesLIVE reports that nurses affiliated to the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) were expected to down tools on Wednesday in support of the Cosatu-led industrial action against job losses.  The union said in a statement that implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) in achievement of universal health coverage (UHC) “will not be realised anytime soon if community service nurses are not employed as soon as they are qualified and nurses who retire or resign do not get replaced for years, as is often the case."  The union went on to state that UHC in the country “will never be realised if provincial governments continue to withhold filling of vacant positions for nurses.  This is because, by its nature, the healthcare system is largely driven by nurses.  If the numbers that are employed are still below the levels as indicated in organograms of health facilities, then the quality healthcare service will continue to suffer severely."  Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the central message of Wednesday’s strike was to highlight the fight against job losses in the public and private sectors.  He said thousands of workers were expected to strike.

Read the original of this report by Naledi Shange in full at TimesLIVE. See too, These are the cities Cosatu will be ‘shutting down’ this morning, at The Citizen. And also, Sadtu members to join Cosatu national strike on Wednesday, at SABC News


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Unemployed stop work at Bospoort Dam purification project in Rustenburg, demand work

ANA reports that unemployed persons in Ikageng near Rustenburg have vowed to stop work at the Bospoort Dam purification plant until such time as they are hired.  A group of unemployed, mostly young people, stopped workers from entering the plant on Tuesday.  Community leader Boitumelo Lesejane explained:  “As the youth we are unemployed, our ward councillors know this but they went ahead and hired themselves in our ward.  The Rustenburg local municipality knows its people, this means they also know who owns which companies.”  She claimed that companies owned by some councillors were given tenders at the Bospoort plant and said it was wrong for the municipality to allow its employees to commission work at the site.  Municipal spokesperson David Magae said the municipality only gave out tenders and that the main contractor decided who was sub-contracted.

Read the original of this report at The Citizen


LABOUR MARKET / JOBS

Jobs outlook dampened by Eskom’s power cuts

Business Report writes that on Tuesday Eskom extended its massive power cuts, leaving industry stuttering as the power utility cut 3,000MW from the grid.  Eskom anticipates that its load shedding will continue into the second quarter in April.  Analysts warned that the continuing power cuts would undermine unemployment, which improved marginally from 27.5% to 27.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018.  Statistics SA reported on Tuesday that the mining and manufacturing industries, which are among the country’s largest consumers of electricity, added a combined 79,000 jobs in the fourth quarter, while finance and other business services added 109,000.  But, Harmony Gold pointed to Eskom as the biggest threat to the survival of the industry in SA, saying that Eskom’s proposed 15% annual tariff hike over the next three years could shorten the lives of energy-consuming mines and place jobs at risk.  CE Peter Steenkamp pointed out that Harmony’s Kusasalethu and Moab Khotsong mines were particularly at risk and said the tariff increases “will change the life of our mines and impact on jobs.”  On Tuesday, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said:  “These outages have a massive impact on the economy – from mining, big industries, manufacturing to small businesses like coffee shops.  It also causes huge frustration, uncertainty, vulnerability and fear among communities and households.”  Econometrix chief economist Azar Jammine reckoned that the direct impact of load shedding on the economy was between 0.1% and 0.2% of the gross domestic product a week.

Read the original of this report by Kabelo Khumalo and Dineo Faku in full at Business Report. Read too, DRDGold calls “the once mighty Eskom” its “single biggest risk”, at Miningmx

Western Cape records lowest unemployment rate in the country in 2018 fourth quarter

ANA reports that Statistics SA’s quarterly labour force survey data for the fourth quarter of 2018, released on Tuesday, showed that the Western Cape created 29,000 new jobs over the past year and 26,000 between October and December last year.  This represented a year-on-year increase in employment of 1.2% for the period in question.  The unemployment rate also declined in the province, and was now at 19.3%, leading to the province registering the lowest national expanded unemployment rate, which at 23.1%, was nearly 14 percentage points lower than the national rate of 37%.  The province’s economic opportunities MEC Beverley Schäfer observed:  “If we look at the complete picture, this data shows that there are fewer unemployed people in the province, and more opportunities for employment in the Western Cape.”  Key sectors contributing to the employment growth were agriculture, which saw an increase of 10.3% year-on-year, transport, which grew by 8.2% year-on-year and the finance sector, which recorded year-on-year gains of 2.1%.  The rural unemployment rate also saw a decline to 15.7%, a drop of 3.4% quarter-on-quarter.  The Western Cape now has the lowest rural unemployment rate in the country.

Read the original of the report on this story in full at The Citizen. Read too, City of Joburg created 110,000 jobs year-on-year, says Mashaba, at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Saftu says unemployment stats still shocking (press statement), at Saftu News
  • Cosatu: The latest unemployment figures from Stats SA vindicates our assertion that "market-driven reforms" have failed (press statement), at Cosatu News
  • Seifsa welcomes improvement in employment numbers, but remains concerned about apparent trade-off between manufacturing production and employment (press statement), at Seifsa News


SECTOR TRANSFORMATION

Board in drive to transform “dinosaur” South African estate agency sector

Engineering News reports that according to Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) transformation committee chairperson Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw, estate agents in the property sector have long been bound by “dinosaur” legislation and the profession has remained untransformed since 1994.  She was speaking at an EAAB event to discuss the board’s efforts to facilitate transformation in the sector and include more previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs) by removing barriers to entry.  CEO Mamodupi Mohlala-Molaudzi said the EAAB would publish a detailed business plan in the next few months to share how it would implement transformation imperatives in the sector.  This would cover attracting more youth to the sector, promoting skills development and accommodating PDIs to enter the sector, as well as aiding matters of equity and enterprise development.  This comes as the Property Practitioners Bill is in the process of being promulgated within the next few months into legislation.  While the sector is awaiting the new legislation, the board has resolved to assist noncompliant estate agents to be issued with Fidelity Fund Certification (FFC), which is legally required by estate agents to operate.  Such applicants can base their justification for noncompliance with requirements on economic or social aspects that have hindered their progression in the sector.

Read the original of this report in full Engineering News. Read too, Use an unregistered estate agent and pay the price, at BusinessLive

SAPS promoting hundreds based on ‘political affiliation’, Institute of Security Studies claims

The Citizen reports that according to the Institute of Security Studies (ISS), the police were secretly promoting hundreds of unqualified and inexperienced officers into management positions based on their political affiliation.  According to the ISS’s Dr Johan Burger, the SAPS was promoting 600 people into management positions not necessarily because they had the skills or experience but primarily because of their political affiliation.  “According to the plan, most will jump a number of ranks and be propelled into top positions without the many years of experience needed to become an effective commander,” said Burger.  He commented that the possible implications of the move were extremely worrying.  “It is also likely to seriously undermine the morale of many hard-working and professional officers who deserve promotion but may instead end up reporting to commanders with inadequate management ability,” he pointed out.  Burger noted that little information on the project had been made public and the SAPS had tried to keep the details secret.  Tumelo Mogodiseng of the SA Policing Union (Sapu) said they were not opposed to transformation in the SAPS, but it had to be done according to regulations and policies of the SAPS.  He added:  “We are told it (the promotions policy) is a Cabinet decision.”

Read the original report on this story by Gcina Ntsaluba in full at The Citizen


MEDICAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE INTERNS

Intern doctors in Gauteng finally get January salaries, averting legal action by Sama

Sowetan reports that a last-minute payment of more than 200 intern doctors on Monday averted a legal showdown with the Gauteng department of health.  The doctors had not been paid their January salaries, leading to their association, namely the SA Medical Association (Sama), serving the department with an ultimatum to pay or face court action.  The department failed to meet a 31 January deadline for salary payments due to administrative delays.  However, Khutso Rabothatha, spokesperson for health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, indicated that the intern doctors had been paid by midday on Monday and added that there was no need for Sama to approach the high court for relief.  Sama’s Dr Rhulani Ngwenya they would verify the list of doctors to ensure that everyone was covered.  Frustrated doctors had taken to social media to share pictures of their colleagues counting out coins to buy food.  Democratic Alliance (DA) health spokesperson MEC Jack Bloom said the payments were a relief, but the salary crisis reflected poor planning and a lack of proper administration on the part of the department.

Read more of the report by Zoë Mahopo on this story at SA Labour News

PSA vindicated by judgment that prematurely terminated community service dentists in Limpopo must be re-employed

ANA reports that the Public Servants Association (PSA) has welcomed the judgment by the Limpopo High Court ordering the Limpopo department of health to re-employ seven dentists.  Their contracts were terminated by the department before the completion of their community service terms.  PSA provincial manager for Limpopo John Teffo indicated:  “The PSA is vindicated by this judgment as it has been the Union’s position that the department was wrong to terminate the contracts of these employees and that it was obliged to allow them to complete their five years in line with their contracts.  Alternatively, the department should pay them off if it intends to terminate the contracts prematurely.  The PSA will not allow the department not to honour its obligation towards these employees as per the signed contract.”  He warned that the judgment should be taken seriously by the department as other health professionals have not yet been absorbed based on their signed contracts.  Teffo commented that the failure to absorb the health professionals concerned was because of a lack of proper planning.

Read the original of this report in full at The Citizen. Read the PSA’s press statement on this matter at SA Labour News


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

It’s not the end of the road for indefatigable Tom Moyane, legal team says after ConCourt ruling

EWN reports that the attorney representing former SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane says they have noted the Constitutional Court’s (ConCourt’s) rejection of his application to appeal a judgement confirming his dismissal, but it was not the end of the road just yet.  The former commissioner approached the apex court after the High Court in Pretoria ruled in December that his dismissal was both lawful and rational.  Attorney Eric Mabuza noted that the ConCourt dealt solely with Part A of their high court application and not Part B.  Part A was an interim order application which would have suspended President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to fire Moyane until a final order was granted.  Part B was for an order declaring the decision to fire him as unlawful and for the Nugent Commission of Inquiry’s findings to be set aside.  Mabuza said he would meet with his client later this week to take instruction and put in place plans to secure a court date soon.  Meanwhile, Ramaphosa’s office welcomed the ConCourt’s decision, saying it paved the way for a period of renewal at Sars.

Read Barry Bateman’s original report in the above regard at EWN. Read too, Tom Moyane’s bid to regain Sars top job fails in Constitutional Court, at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Ekurhuleni accuses CFO of being untruthful about her suspension, at The Star


OTHER REPORTS

Solidarity to take legal action against BLF over Hoërskool Driehoek comments

ANA reports that Solidarity said on Wednesday it would be paying charges with the police and at the Equality Court against members of the Black First Land First (BLF) movement on behalf of several of the parents of the victims of the recent Hoërskool Driehoek disaster.  The trade union indicated that it would also lay a charge at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and request that the BLF be banned from participating in the upcoming general election.  This followed after BLF members, among other comments, stated that the death of three children who were killed when a walkway collapsed at the school earlier this month was a godly intervention and, based on the assumption that the children were white, that “three future problems” had been eliminated.  Solidarity’s Dr Dirk Hermann said:  “We cannot allow a fringe figure’s racial hatred to be normalised.  The statements of the BLF have reached a extremely low point where hate speech is concerned…”

Read this report in full at The Citizen

MPs told there’s already a ban on frontline home affairs officials using cellphones

News24 reports that Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on Tuesday welcomed the news that home affairs officials who were on the frontline were not allowed to use their cellphones and that citizens could call out any officials who provided bad service.  In a briefing by the department, the committee was informed that there were two circulars in place, from 2003 and 2012, which banned cellphone use.  The circulars had been agreed to by all parties, including labour unions.  Committee chairperson Hlomani Chauke last month urged the department to consider a ban on cellphones during working hours following an "excessive amount of complaints".  On Tuesday, Chauke stated:  "It is now clear that the usage of cellphones is banned and clients must not be faced with this challenge when they seek services at the Department of Home Affairs."  The department assured the committee it was reviewing policy on this issue to "strengthen it".  Chauke welcomed this as a constructive step.

Read Jenna Etheridge’s report on this story in full at News24. Read Parliament’s press statement on this matter at Parliament News. See too, Minister visits home affairs employee whose name went viral after she assisted clients after hours, at News24


OTHER MISCELLANEOUS NEWS HEADLINES

  • Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone opens 2019 internship programme to KwaZulu-Natal graduates (press statement), at Polity
  • Millions for drought-hit KZN farmers go missing, at BusinessLive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page