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 roundup of weekend news, see
summaries of our selection of South African
labour-related stories that appeared since
Friday, 10 May 2019.


TOP STORY – PATERNITY LEAVE

Labour department delays in implementing paid paternity leave because UIF not systems-ready

The Sunday Times reports that countless fathers have been left out in the cold after the government failed to make good on new legislation giving them 10 days’ paid paternity leave.  An amendment to the law was ratified last November and 1 January was earmarked for implementation, but the Department of Labour has not implemented it.  Men currently do not qualify for any paid paternity leave.  Labour lawyer Michael Bagraim, who joined the fight for the new legislation, said he was “gobsmacked” that six months had passed since the new legislation was approved.  Hendri Terblanche, of Cape Town, began the campaign for paternity leave five years ago after his twins were born prematurely.  “Why should South Africans be penalised for government departments not operating as they should?” he asked.  Labour department spokesperson, Thembinkosi Mkalilpi, said parental leave was “passed by parliament and signed into law by the president”, but the UIF was “not ready with their systems”.  UIF spokesperson Lungelo Mkamba said on Thursday:  “We are busy finalising regulations and working around the clock to be systems-ready before we start implementation.  The matter is receiving our urgent attention and we hope to start the implementation soon.”

Read more of Tanya Farber’s The Sunday Times report on this issue at SA Labour News


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Stellenbosch security guard run over by vehicle is stable, but family 'very worried'

News24 reports that according to the family of the security guard who was recently run over by a vehicle in a parking area while directing traffic was in a stable condition, but only time would reveal the extent of his injuries.  A video recently emerged on social media of Mzwanele Wellem, 39, being run over by a motorist at a shopping complex in Stellenbosch on 30 April.  Johan Steyn, 39, has since appeared in court after handing himself over to police.  He was granted R2,000 bail and said he intended to plead not guilty to a charge of attempted murder (with an alternative charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm).  Those who know Wellem say he is shocked, traumatised and understandably not in a condition to speak to the media.  His brother Anele said that Wellem had been for a few medical check-ups and was in a stable condition for now.  "He is healing well, but he has a very big cut on his head which I am very worried about," he indicated.  The extent of other possible injuries is not yet clear.  The Ipic Property Group, which owns the shopping centre, said they were constantly liaising with Wellem's employer to obtain information on his condition and assist where possible.  Two lawyers have offered to represent Wellem in the case pro-bono.

Read the full original of Jenna Etheridge’s report on the above story and vie the video at News24. Read too, Man wat karwag glo omry in hof, at Maroela Media


MINING LABOUR

AngloGold selling Mponeng mine not an indictment of SA, CEO Kelvin Dushnisky insists

BL Premium reports that AngloGold Ashanti CEO Kelvin Dushnisky insists that the company’s decision to sell its last remaining SA gold mining assets is "not an indictment" of SA.  The decision to sell its last deep-level SA mine and two tailings retreatment operations was motivated by a practical business choice about where to find the best returns, Dushnisky said on Thursday.  "This is not a statement about not investing in SA ... It’s not an indictment of SA as an investment destination.  It’s very specific to the asset," Dushnisky stated.  The new investment metrics Dushnisky implemented at AngloGold since he started eight months ago apparently meant Mponeng simply did not match up to those targets.  AngloGold would retain a listing in Johannesburg — possibly not a primary one though — and keep a presence in the city, where Dushnisky said there were world-class skills it wanted to retain.  While Sibanye-Stillwater and Harmony Gold were logical owners of Mponeng, owning the nearby Driefontein and Kusasalethu gold mines, there was the option of a Chinese buyer wanting the assets, said Nedbank analyst Arnold van Graan.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said any sale had to protect workers at the assets and keep their conditions of employment.  "This doesn’t come as a surprise. AngloGold has in recent years sold or shut most of its other SA mines after using their profits to build and buy mines overseas," said NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu.

Read the full original of Allan Seccombe’s report in the above regard at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Lonmin CEO still backs Sibanye-Stillwater takeover offer even as profit rebounds

Bloomberg reports that platinum producer Lonmin, which has struggled through years of losses, believes its return to profit does not undermine the logic of the takeover offer from Sibanye-Stillwater.  While some analysts have questioned the value of Sibanye’s offer, Lonmin Chief Executive Officer Ben Magara continues to recommend it, saying the rebound in earnings is not sufficient to resolve the company’s long-term challenges.  “Despite the progress made, this does not provide a long-term solution to the capital structure challenges faced by Lonmin, as it is still inadequate to invest in the new projects necessary to avoid shaft closures and job losses and maintain our production profile,” Magara indicated in a statement on Friday.  Lonmin shareholders vote this month on the takeover by Sibanye, which agreed last month to raise its all-share offer for Lonmin, citing an increase in metal prices since the deal was announced in December 2017.  In addition to requiring shareholder approval, the deal is also facing a legal challenge from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which has appealed the conditional approval granted by competition authorities.  That has compounded operational challenges, Lonmin said.

Read the full original of Felix Njini’s report on the above at Moneyweb. Read too, Low morale, management turnover hit Lonmin output, at Mining Weekly

Aurora’s Khulubuse Zuma can’t be located by Pamodzi liquidators over R1.4bn debt

BusinessLive reports that lawyers acting for the liquidators of the Pamodzi mining group want to locate Khulubuse Zuma in their continuing attempts to recover the more than R1.4bn that he personally owes to creditors.  A provisional liquidation order was granted against former president Jacob Zuma’s nephew in January, but on the return date in early March, there was no response from Zuma.  Adv. Clayton Edy, for the liquidators, asked at the time that the matter be adjourned until Friday “because there are attempts to settle the matter”.  But when the matter was called before the judge on Friday, Edy said the provisional order had been served on Zuma only via e-mail and there had been no response.  “We believe he is continuously travelling abroad,” Edy said.  The matter was adjourned until June.  Pamodzi’s mines were placed in liquidation in 2009.  Aurora Empowerment Systems, of which Zuma was one of five directors, took control of the mines and “stripped” them of their assets and gold produce.  Aurora was liquidated in October 2011.  Zuma and the other directors were then held personally liable for the debts of the company.  Two claims for R1.4bn and R122m were proven against Zuma, who undertook to pay off what he owed with a down payment of R5m and then payments of R500,000 in monthly instalments.  Liquidator Johan Engelbrecht advised that while Zuma made the down payment and some instalments, these had dried up and the full amounts were now due and payable.

Read the full original of Tania Broughton’s report on this story at BusinessLive


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Vaal University of Technology staffers on pay strike, but non-quorate council can’t take decisions

SowetanLive reported on Friday that lecturers, cleaners and security guards were on strike at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), bringing operations to a standstill and leaving its 22,000 students in the lurch ahead of mid-year exams.  Yet, the university council, its highest decision-making body, could not make any decisions - including about salary increases - because it had too few members for a quorum.  At least nine council members, including the deputy chairperson, have resigned since October.  The head of the council, Tebogo Hlapalosa, advised staff in a letter as follows:  "Having promised that we shall come back to you with a written response by no later than May 2, we wish to advise that the council meeting could not take any decision on the issues raised due to the fact the meeting did not quorate (insufficient members) [sic].  However, the issues remain in this agenda of the next council and after we have filled all vacant positions."  In a letter on Thursday, vice-chancellor and principal Professor Gordon Zide urged staff to "resume operations as a matter of urgency", promising that a special council meeting would be held on 17 May.  "Staff are requested to please bear with management as the matter is being escalated to council for a resolution," the letter reads.

Read the full original of Katharine Child’s report on the strike at SowetanLive

Clean-up operations get underway on Friday after eThekwini wildcat strike

ANA reports that clean-up operations started in most parts of eThekwini on Friday following a destructive wildcat strike by municipal workers last week.  According to the municipality, teams from various departments – particularly Durban Solid Waste – would work throughout the weekend “to cover the backlog and ensure that the situation is restored to normality”.  The strike took place on Tuesday and Thursday last week, with about 3,000 municipal workers having gathered at Durban City Hall while their colleagues gridlocked the area with municipal trucks.  Rubbish was strewn in the streets and set alight, refuse wasn’t collected throughout the metro and water was cut to several areas.  The municipality said that the wage-related dispute had been “amicably resolved” on Tuesday.

Read the full original of the report on this above at The Citizen


UNION NEWS

Fedusa's general secretary Dennis George will soon know his fate

Fin24 reports that the future of Dennis George, suspended general secretary of the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa), will be decided this week.  A two-day disciplinary hearing at the union federation’s headquarters was concluded on Friday.  The recommendation of the disciplinary hearing will be passed on to the Fedusa executive and a final decision about George’s future will be made when the executive meets on Thursday.  The matter initially concerned the decision by George, without prior permission, to establish a company to purchase shares in the controversial AYO Technology Solutions company.  Permission was then retroactively granted.  However, subsequent media reports revealed that George had established a company, Difeme, which had bought 11 million shares in AYO at a heavily discounted price.  This action resulted in the Fedusa executive suspending George.  He claimed to have bought the shares on behalf of the federation and was "warehousing" them until Fedusa made a decision to establish an investment company into which the shares would be transferred.  George also faced charges of bringing the federation into disrepute for using social media to promote both AYO and controversial businessman Iqbal Survé, who is associated with AYO.

Read the full original of Terry Bell’s report on the above story at Fin24


LABOUR AND POLITICS

Numsa’s Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party falls flat at the polls

The Sunday Independent reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has defended the dismal performance of its newly formed political party at the general elections last week.  Numsa resolved to form a socialist party in 2013 after abandoning the ANC-led alliance and it set up the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) late last year.  The party, led by Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim, secured only 24,439 votes, which was 0.14% of the more than 17.5 million total votes cast in the national ballot.  Numsa national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said while Numsa had given birth to the SRWP, it was not a given that its membership would throw its weight behind it.  “Yes, Numsa took the decision that a political party must be formed but that political party still has to win the hearts and minds of Numsa members… The fact of the matter is that we still have to do the work of winning members of Numsa the same way we have to win all other members of the working class,” Hlubi-Majola said.  She went on to state that the SRWP had not expected to secure significant voter support as it was new, explaining that the decision to contest was mainly aimed at profiling the party and putting socialism on the map.  Political analyst Lukhona Mnguni described the SRWP as what appeared to be a vanity project for Jim and his collective.

Read more of this The Sunday Independent report by Siviwe Feketha at SA Labour News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

Cosatu welcomes ANC Western Cape decision to return R1m donation from Dr Iqbal Surve, at Cosatu News


RESTRUCTURING / RETRENCHMENTS

Tiso Blackstar under fire from Fedusa over job cuts amid consultations

Fin24 reports that the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) has called on the Tiso Blackstar Group to halt retrenchment proceedings amid ongoing consultations with its affiliate, the South African Typographical Union (SATU).  The federation is of the view that continuing with the retrenchments is in flagrant breach of discussions with SATU which were instituted in terms of Section 189A of the Labour Relations Act.  "The insensitive determination to proceed with these retrenchments flies in the face of clear commitments to save jobs, made by both government and the private sector at the Presidential Jobs Summit in October last year.  Furthermore, Tiso Blackstar is violating our affiliate’s organisational rights by threatening to stop processing members’ subscriptions," said Fedusa acting general secretary Riefdah Ajam in statement.  Tiso Blackstar is currently in the process of a section 189 process in terms of the Labour Relations Act, which allows employers to dismiss employees in order to keep operations going in a sustainable manner.  SATU general secretary Edward De Klerk said it was a matter of great concern that Tiso Blackstar seemed determined to condemn workers to the rank of the jobless in the context of extremely high levels of unemployment and slow economic growth in the country.

Read the full original of the report on the above at Fin24. Read Fedusa’s press statement at SA Labour News. Read too, New union accuses Tiso Blackstar of jumping the gun with staff cuts, at Fin24


WORKPLACE CRIME

Employee bust with three accomplices after Post Office robbery in tiny Karoo town of Somerset East

TimesLIVE writes that there's no quick getaway in a town so small that everyone knows everyone, as four suspects now behind bars have discovered.  The group, aged between 23 and 49, were arrested within hours after the Somerset East post office was robbed at midday on Friday.  Two of the three suspects were arrested as they were crossing the river bank on their way to a hiking spot on the N10 national road.  They were found in possession of three firearms with live ammunition.  Further information led the police to another suspect at Bongweni locality in Cookhouse, who was found in possession of an undisclosed amount of money.  The final arrest took place in Somerset East where one of the Post Office employees was arrested.  All four suspects will appear soon in the Somerset East Magistrate's Court on charges relating to possession of suspected stolen money and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

Read the full original of the report on the above story at TimesLIVE


OTHER REPORTS

Vavi and wife in need of counselling after 'harrowing' crime at her B&B

TimesLIVE reports that a “harrowing” run-in with eight armed robbers has left SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and his wife Noluthando in “desperate need of counselling”.  In the incident on Friday evening in Morningside Manor, Johannesburg, the armed robbers beat up two security guards before entering the bed and breakfast which Noluthando runs, tying up the guests.  Noluthando managed to flee to her office and lock herself inside, where she called for help.  The thieves looted televisions, refrigerators, cellphones, guests’ clothes and laptops.  Zwelinzima and his bodyguard were driving back to Johannesburg from a meeting in Pretoria when Noluthando called and said “criminals have invaded”.  He related further:  “In a panic, I didn’t ask questions as I assumed she was at home.  I was about five minutes away from home when she called.  We drove straight home, flying, only to find out that she was calling from her business offices which we had passed as we were flying home … Had we driven there first, both me and the protector would probably have died.”

Read the full original of the report by Nico Gous on the above story at TimesLIVE. Read too, Vavi believes he could have been killed by robbers, at News24


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES

SA economy looking 'dramatically dismal' in first quarter, says economist Mike Schüssler, at Fin24

Local vehicle production expected to grow by 6.2% in 2019, at Engineering News

March manufacturing output better than expected, at Engineering News

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page