news shutterstockIn our morning roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared since
Tuesday, 30 April 2019.


WORKERS DAY RALLIES

Cyril Ramaphosa woos workers at May Day rally

BusinessLive reports that with a week to go before the country’s 8 May general election, President Cyril Ramaphosa took advantage of Cosatu’s main May Day rally in KwaZulu-Natal to woo voters.  He described next week’s elections as “critical” and urged the governing party’s supporters to go out in their numbers and vote.  Ramaphosa said it was the workers who produced the wealth in the country and yet they had been denied the opportunity to share in the riches.  Cosatu was the first organisation to endorse Ramaphosa’s bid for the presidency of the ANC ahead of its 2017 Nasrec conference, and has been campaigning for a strong mandate for the president ahead of the 2019 elections.  Ramaphosa praised Cosatu for its participation in the job summit he held earlier in 2019, saying that the federation had helped identify areas where more jobs could be created and that those ideas were being implemented.  He also said the R300bn that was pledged by companies at an investment conference would be utilised to create more jobs so that “we can swell the ranks of the employed workers”, who would hopefully join unions, specifically Cosatu affiliates.  The president told workers that the government was cleaning out the rot at Eskom, saying those who were responsible would be held accountable.

Read the full original of Genevieve Quintal’s report on the rally at BusinessLive. Read too, Ramaphosa assures workers at May Day rally the government will never betray them, at Independent News. And also, Blade Nzimande calls on workers to give ANC decisive poll victory, at EWN

Ramaphosa thanks Cosatu for national minimum wage, vows to fight for effective implementation

News24 reports that speaking on Wednesday in Durban, where the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) hosted its national Workers Day rally, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa thanked the labour federation for its hand in the formulation of a national minimum wage.  "I applaud you for the victory you achieved in raising this issue of national minimum wage with the ANC.  This is your victory.  It was you who said there should be a national minimum wage.  You were doing this for many workers not only members of unions, but you felt duty bound this will benefit all workers.  Cosatu is the voice of our working people in our country," Ramaphosa told the assembled crowd.  He went on to indicate that he would do everything to ensure the minimum wage was implemented without fail and effectively “so workers move from poverty wages to decent wages as we move toward a living wage."  Among other issues, the president indicated that he wanted to improve train transportation.  "We want you to go to work with ease.  I experienced the challenge of transport recently," the president noted, referring to his experience in March when the train he was on in Pretoria was delayed by three hours.  Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said the trade federation was "born and raised to conquer class enemies" and she affirmed her support for the ANC come the general elections on 8 May.

Read the full original of Kaveel Singh’s report on the rally at News24

Cosatu’s Zingiswa Losi calls for action against mining firms who violate safety standards

EWN reports that Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Zingiswa Losi has appealed to the government to revoke licenses of mining companies that are not safety compliant.  Addressing the labour federation’s main Workers Day rally in Durban, she cited this week’s scare at Sibanye-Stillwater, where nearly 2,000 workers were temporarily trapped underground at a platinum shaft.  Losi reminded workers that May Day was a holiday because the federation fought for it and assured them that Cosatu would continue their fight.  She added that more must be done to protect the lives of miners to avoid incidents such as the scare at Sibanye-Stillwater on 30 April.  Her address indicated that the tripartite alliance was presenting a united front in respect of the upcoming general elections.  She sang praises about the gains made under the ANC government, including the national minimum wage and improved maternity leave and unemployment benefits.

Read the original of Nthakoana Ngatane’s report on the above by EWN

National minimum wage not a living wage, but a milestone towards it, Mabuza tells May Day rally

News24 reports that speaking at a May Day rally held in Mbombela on Wednesday, Deputy President David Mabuza said the ANC believed the national minimum wage (NMW) was not a living wage but a significant milestone towards it.  In January, the NMW came into effect after it was signed into law in 2018.  "We know that some will want to say the minimum wage is too little, but we know that it is a minimum not a maximum wage," Mabuza said.  He urged trade unions to continue working with government to ensure that employers were not paying employees anything below the set minimum wage.  Mabuza said that government also continued to call for a safe working environment for miners and all those who worked in harmful conditions.  Meanwhile, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, speaking in Ekurhuleni, gave an assurance that there were no plans by government to privatise state-owned enterprises, saying that no workers would be losing their jobs.  He also reiterated Mabuza’s sentiments that government would ensure that the NMW and the National Health Insurance were implemented as per the resolutions of the ANC’s 2017 national conference.

Read the full original of Sesona Ngqakamba’s report in the above regard at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Give workers a share of strategic sectors, says Malema, at News24


MINING LABOUR

Employee of Harmony Gold killed in fall-of-ground incident at Doornkop mine

Mining Weekly reports that Harmony Gold indicated on Tuesday that a fall-of-ground incident at its Doornkop mine, near Johannesburg, had claimed the life of an employee.  The gold producer stated that an investigation into the incident was under way.  Management expressed its deepest condolences to the deceased employee’s family, friends and colleagues.

A short report is at Mining Weekly. Harmony’s short press statement is at Harmony News

Sibanye-Stillwater safely returns all 1,800 platinum miners to the surface

BusinessLive reports that Sibanye-Stillwater indicated on Wednesday that it had safely returned 1,800 miners to surface at its Thembelani platinum mine after the shaft was closed due to an accident.  Railway lines dropped down a shaft around 1pm on Tuesday at the platinum mine near Rustenburg prevented 1,800 workers from coming up from underground for hours.  An inspection of the shaft showed it was safe to hoist people, and work to return all of the miners to the surface and work was completed just after midnight.  Employees underground completing their day shift had been kept near the shaft for when it re-opened.  No one was hurt in the incident.  

Read the full original of Allan Seccombe’s report in the above regard at BusinessLive

Sibanye-Stillwater says miners never trapped at platinum shaft, kept underground for safety

EWN reports that precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater insists that 1,800 miners who were reportedly stuck underground were never trapped but only kept in a shaft for safety reasons.  The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Tuesday indicated in a statement that it had received reports that more than 4,000 miners were stuck underground in Rustenburg.  Sibanye denied this and said that management took a decision to keep workers below the surface after rails that were being transported underground fell down the Thembelani shaft.  Company spokesperson James Wellsted said that employees were kept underground while a safety inspection was being conducted on the shaft infrastructure.  “We had an alternative output at another shaft, which is adjacent to Thembelani where the incident happened.  We could have taken them out at that shaft but preferred not to have employees walking that distance underground,” he indicated.  No injuries were reported and all miners were brought to safety.  Amcu's Joseph Mathunjwa said they wanted answers.  "Sibanye-Stillwater's safety record is a concern.  You'll remember last year, they are a company that contributed to the 41 fatalities that happened last year."

Read the full original of Mia Lindeque’s report in the above regard at EWN

Mining must both prepare for the 4th Industrial Revolution and also transform, says Mantashe

Mining Weekly reports that Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has warned that the SA mining industry must carry out skills development to prepare itself and its employees for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).  Automated mining activities were no longer scarce and the 4IR was coming, he pointed out on Monday at a colloquium hosted by Unisa in partnership with the minerals technology and beneficiation council Mintek.  Mantashe highlighted that, while the 4IR was destroying old jobs, it was also creating new jobs and the country’s mines had to develop new skills as a result.  “The more we improve technology in the mining industry, the safer the industry is.  Technology must be part of finding solutions to many of these [mining] problems,” Mantashe exhorted.  Regarding the Mining Charter, he observed that it was “part of the broader South African transformation agenda. … The Mining Charter was but one tool that was drafted to guide us in the transformation of this society.”  Transformation was not about replacing white faces with black faces, but about real economic empowerment, the minister noted.  He cautioned that economic growth without broad transformation would only sustain previous patterns of inequality, while transformation without growth would be narrow and unsustainable.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Mining Weekly

Mantashe officially hands over 50% shareholding of Arnot mine to former Exxaro employees

Mining Weekly reports that Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe on Wednesday officially handed over a 50% shareholding held by mining company Exxaro in the Arnot coal mine, in Middleburg, Mpumalanga, to former Arnot Coal employees.  In a statement on Tuesday, the Department of Mineral Resources highlighted the handover as an industry milestone towards the inclusion of workers as meaningful stakeholders, as enshrined in the Mining Charter that came into effect in 2018.  A Section 11 approval in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act was granted by the department last week and will result in 50% of the Arnot mine being owned by the former Exxaro employees.  The balance will be owned by Wescoal.  The former employees and mineworkers will reopen the mine and supply coal to power utility Eskom.

Read the original of the report on this story at Mining Weekly


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Nehawu warns of strike action at justice department over health and safety non-compliance at buildings

ANA reports that the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said on Monday that it was mulling over strike action at the Department of Justice over concerns about non-compliance with occupational health and safety (OHS) standards at some of the buildings occupied by the department.  Indicating that its demands had been “perpetually ignored”, the union advised that last year it had received a certificate to strike and was now considering serving the employer with a notice of strike action.  Problems at the offices of the Master of the High Court in Marshal Street in Johannesburg and the filing offices in both Johannesburg and Cape Town were singled out.  “If the employer is to avert the strike action, then the issues raised must be addressed with immediate effect,” the union warned.  Nehawu said it was also seeking, among several other demands, that representatives of the department at the bargaining chamber be changed and a senior person be immediately appointed.  All vacant posts must be filled and all contract employees who had been with the department for more than three months must be deemed permanently employed, the union said.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Striking Cell C staff join Tiso Blackstar strike, at The Citizen


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Angry eThekwini workers trash Durban CBD on Tuesday over MK vets salary increases

Daily News reports that staff employed by Durban Solid Waste (DSW) overturned bins and strew litter on the streets of Durban as they made their way to the city hall on Tuesday morning.  They were protesting about salary increases given to MK vets at the Water and Waste Department.  Staff driving various waste removal trucks made their way from depots around the municipality and in the Durban city centre tipped over trucks filled with waste onto the streets of the CBD.  According to DSW workers, their protest was in solidarity with their colleagues at the Water and Waste Department, who downed tools last week after it emerged that MK vets employed by the city had had their pay increased from R9,000 to R20,000.  The workers’ demand is for pay equal to that of the MK vets and they have vowed to bring the city to its knees if their demand is not met.  "The so-called MK vets that were employed have not touched a tool yet but they (are) getting a high salary.  We are now fed up.  This is quite an extensive problem also affecting the Durban Metro police, the roads department, water and sanitation and electricity departments," a worker commented.

Read the full original of Zainul Dawood’s report on the protest at Daily News. Read too, Striking workers turn city centre into 'dirtbin Durban', at TimesLIVE. And also, eThekwini municipality to haul striking water workers to court, at TimesLIVE


ESKOM UNBUNDLING / IPPs

NUM calls for reskilling of Eskom workers to equip them for clean-energy jobs

Mining Weekly reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called for greater attention to be given to the reskilling of Eskom workers “so that they can be absorbed” into clean-energy technology work opportunities.  In a statement following its national executive committee (NEC) meeting on 25 and 26 April, the NUM continued to express misgivings over independent power producers (IPPs), as well as the proposed unbundling of Eskom into three separate businesses of generation, transmission and distribution.  It reported, however, that it had resolved to seek expert advice on IPPs and to assess alternatives.  The union urged government to extend its focus beyond the introduction of new power generating technologies and to pay greater attention to the reskilling of the current Eskom workers “so they can be absorbed into the envisaged clean-energy technology, if indeed it is going to create more jobs as they claim”.  “The government is still not clear on the possibility of job losses as well as privatisation of Eskom,” the NUM said, while lambasting Energy Minister Jeff Radebe and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni for treating its concern over Eskom “with disdain”.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Mining Weekly. Read the NUM’s press statement on the outcomes of matter deliberated on at the NEC meeting at Polity


APPOINTMENTS / RECRUITMENT

SABC appoints IT specialist Dr Craig van Rooyen as acting COO to replace fired Chris Maroleng

TimesLIVE reports that Craig van Rooyen, a technology operations specialist with previous experience at Telkom and Vodacom, has been appointed as the new acting chief operations officer (COO) at the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).  He joined the SABC in November 2018 as group executive for media, technology and infrastructure, which included enterprise broadcast architecture, so driving the digital strategy as well as information technology and systems.  Van Rooyen holds a PhD (management of technology); MBA (Milpark); MMP (GIBS); and National Technical Diploma (telecommunications technology).   He is also a member of the SA Institute of Electrical Engineers.  Van Rooyen replaces Chris Maroleng, who was dismissed last month.  Maroleng was appointed in January 2018, taking over from Hlaudi Motsoeneng.  He was found guilty of three of four charges he faced at a disciplinary hearing.  He has indicated that he intends appealing his dismissal.  

Read the full original of the report on the appointment at TimesLIVE

Transnet lets contract of acting CEO Tau Morwe lapse, acting CFO Mohammed Mahomedy to take over

BusinessLive reports that Transnet has decided not to extend the contract of acting CEO Tau Morwe, the state-owned logistics company announced on Wednesday.  His contract comes to an end on Friday.  Morwe was appointed as acting CEO in November 2018 after the axing of Siyabonga Gama.  Morwe will be replaced by acting CFO Mohammed Mahomedy, who will now be acting CEO.  It is not clear why Morwe's contract was not extended.  The entity's board acknowledged the "good work" done by Morwe since he took office and expressed its appreciation.  "To this extent the board commits to continuing with the programme and plans started by Mr Morwe," chairman Popo Molefe said in a statement on behalf of the board.  Molefe added that the board was working on filling critical vacancies at Transnet, including group CEO and CGO, in the coming months.  Transnet was one of the state-owned entities looted during the state-capture project.

Read the full original of Genevieve Quintal’s report on the above at BusinessLive


INSOURCING

Joburg mayor welcomes over 900 security guards as insourcing programme expands

News24 reports that City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and a number of his mayoral committee members celebrated Workers Day by welcoming 939 security guards into the council's ranks.  He indicated that over 3,700 security guards had been moved off the books of contractors and into the employment of the City since 2018.  "Insourcing represents a departure from the past practices of the City of Johannesburg, which saw over R700m being paid annually to politically connected security companies," Mashaba said on Wednesday.  The mayor thanked several parties in partnership with the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the City of Johannesburg, most notably the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).  He was joined by EFF councillor Donald Mabunda.  On Tuesday, Mashaba promised that by 1 July the City would end cleaning services contracts, currently run by "politically connected tenderpreneurs".

Read the full original of Ntwaagae Seleka’s report on this story at News24


RESTRUCTURING / RETRENCHMENTS

No forced retrenchments at South32’s Hillside smelter

BusinessLive reports that retrenchments at South32’s Hillside smelter will be avoided as an estimated 400 employees have opted for voluntary separation and early retirement packages.  In a statement, the mining and metals company said that restructuring consultations had concluded with an agreement between all parties that would be ratified in the coming weeks.  According to Hillside Aluminium’s Calvin Mkhabela, in addition to the voluntary separation and early retirement, a salary freeze for the next three years had been agreed, while the smelter would continue to implement other cost-saving initiatives.  In February, the company had notified workers that it would be embarking on a restructuring process at the smelter and it estimated that more than 500 jobs were at stake.  Although a forced retrenchment process has now been averted, the voluntary exit of workers will significantly reduce the headcount of 1,370 at the smelter.  Marius Croucamp of trade union Solidarity commented that, although retrenchments had been avoided, the reduction in headcount was not a good outcome for labour.  But, he noted that the circumstances faced by the smelter had to be considered.  “We have to live with it for now and take it from here.  Hopefully, Hillside is now on the path to sustainability,” Croucamp said.

Read the full original of Lisa Steyn’s report in the above regard at BusinessLive


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • Gauteng police destroy R500m worth of counterfeit clothes, at News24
  • Teacher who filmed Carletonville crèche beatings arrested, says gender equality group, at TimesLIVE
  • 'Drunk' PE hospital clerk suspended pending investigation, at TimesLIVE
  • What Eskom’s Pension and Provident Fund thinks about prescribed assets, at Moneyweb
  • Nine people, including two eThekwini municipal officials, nabbed for waste tender fraud, at News24
  • New A Re Yeng bus route launched in Tshwane, at The Citizen
  • Intoxicated taxi driver crashes into JMPD patrol van, at TimesLIVE
  • Robbery at gunpoint was not inside Rhodesfield station, says Gautrain, at TimesLIVE
  • KZN economic development MEC Sihle Zikalala launches women-owned clothing manufacturing firm in Msinga, at SA Govt News (press statement)
  • Fedusa demands greater accountability towards workers on World Day for OSH, at SA Labour News (press statement)

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page