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, 12 August 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Joburg metro cop and bystander shot dead in Vlakfontein on Sunday

TimesLIVE reports that an off-duty Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officer and a bystander were shot dead on Sunday evening.  JMPD spokesperson chief superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the two were killed during an alleged robbery at a place of entertainment in Vlakfontein, south of Johannesburg.  "The motive for the shooting appears to be robbery, as an undisclosed amount of money was taken.  There is a search for five armed suspects in a white Ford Laser."  No arrests have been made.

Read the original of the above report by Iavan Pijoos at TimesLIVE. See too, Off-duty JMPD officer shot dead in Vlakfontein, service pistol stolen, at News24


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES ESSENTIAL SERVICES

Ceppwawu emphatic that fuel industry is not an ‘essential services’, threatens ‘mother of all battles’

Sunday Independent reports that Cosatu affiliate, the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (Ceppwawu), has rejected the essential services committee’s plan to declare the fuel industry an essential service.  Such a declaration would prevent workers in that sector from striking.  The union has threatened to strike if the production, transport and distribution of fuel is declared an essential service.  “Ceppwawu rejects this outright and the union will organise all union members to mass pickets outside these hearings,” the union indicated last week.  The committee, which reports to the Department of Labour, recently announced that it would hold hearings across the country next month as part of its investigation.  It advised Independent Media that the bid to declare the production, transport and distribution of fuel an essential service was a self-initiated investigation in terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA).  “The union objects and rejects the intention to declare the petroleum industry an essential service, and as we speak, we are mobilising our members and shop stewards on the ground to prepare for a mother of all battles,” Ceppwawu stated.  The chemical union is planning to mobilise through Cosatu for the federation’s affiliates to join it in the fight against the committee’s plans.  Separately, the committee has launched a probe into the possibility of altering its September 1997 declaration of correctional services and services required for the functioning of courts as an essential service.

Read the full original of the above report by Loyiso Sidimba at SA Labour News


LABOUR MARKET / JOB CREATION

Jobs target likely to fail, warns expert

The Citizen reports that SA may not be able to achieve its employment target as set out in its Industrial Policy Action Plan (Ipap), due to slow growth in manufacturing.  According to David Kaplan, professor emeritus at the School of Economics, University of Cape Town, the decline in manufacturing employment has arisen not only because of the slow rate of manufacturing growth, but because the employment intensity – the number of jobs per unit of output – is low or declining.  Despite the declared objective of Ipap to create an additional 350,000 manufacturing jobs by 2020, manufacturing employment has fallen by 32,000 jobs from its 2008 figure, with manufacturing output still below that of 2008.  In contrast, emerging markets overall have increased manufacturing output by some 50%.  In a paper published by the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), Kaplan argues that while the declining employment intensity of growth is not confined to SA, it is far more pronounced here.  SA’s manufactured exports have grown far slower than its peers and manufactured exports are well below potential, Kaplan points out.  The country’s labour market flexibility is low and its costs of labour, including the costs of hiring and firing, are increasing.  Moreover, the national minimum wage will result in significant cost increases, particularly for labour-intensive firms.

Read the full original of the above report by Eric Naki at The Citizen


STAFFING / VACANCIES / SEPARATIONS

Tshwane Council to clarify Tshwane city manager’s future in special Tuesday sitting

SowetanLive reports that the Tshwane metro council will hold a special sitting on Tuesday to discuss the future of its city manager.  There has been much confusion over the position of city manager after the council resolved to part ways with Moeketsi Mosola at the end of last month.  But, he remains in the position after failing to agree separation terms with the city, even though the council nominated current chief operations officer, James Murphy, to take over from 1 August, when Mosola had been due to depart.  Mayor Steven Mokgalapa's spokesperson Omogolo Taunyane indicated on Sunday that the council would convene on Tuesday to deal with the delay in Mosola's departure, which was now expected at the end of the month.  The mayor will also brief council about new information brought to him about Murphy, subsequent to which there will be a directive on how to take the matter forward.  The Tshwane mayor's office was asked, more than a week ago, to provide proof in support of a claim that Murphy had been flagged in a report by the auditor-general relating to allegations that Murphy was a person of interest in a probe over donations to NGOs by the city about five years ago.  Taunyane said Mokgalapa would look into the AG’s report that mentioned Murphy.  Meantime, the city's audit and risk department has cleared Murphy of any wrongdoing, stating that the AG’s report has withdrawn on the basis that it was deemed "unreliable."

Read the full original of the above report by Isaac Mahlangu at SowetanLive. Read too, Tshwane in city manager appointment impasse, on page 8 of City Press of 12 August 2019

Acting chief operations officer at SABC quits after just three months

TimesLIVE reports that three months after being appointed into the hot seat at the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) as acting chief operations officer, Craig van Rooyen has resigned.  Citing personal and family reasons for the decision, he said his last day would be 9 September.  He noted:  "Having been involved in crafting the SABC’s turnaround plan, I am confident the SABC will overcome its challenges in the short term and become successful in the long term."  SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini commended Van Rooyen, who was also group executive: technology, and said:  “Dr Van Rooyen has played a meaningful role in developing the digital strategy of the SABC, including preparing the SABC for digital migration and becoming a multi-platform, multi-channel player.  In the past three months, he was also acting as the corporation’s COO.  He has modelled the way for future COOs by demonstrating ethical leadership, technical expertise and business acumen.”  In order to ensure stability in leadership, the board will be interviewing potential candidates for the COO role this week.

Read the original of the above report at TimesLIVE


EMIGRATION RATE

Political analyst identifies the next big wave of skilled workers, emigrants leaving SA

Fin24 reports that emigration rates from SA surged by about 20% in 2018/2019, which has been described as the start of the next big wave of skilled workers and emigrants leaving for greener pastures.  According to political analyst and author Dr Johann van Rooyen, SA is losing at least 25,000 emigrants per year and about 1,000 high net worth individuals, who are joining the estimated 1.5 million South African expats abroad.  He has been tracking SA emigration since the publication of his book The New Great Trek in 2000.  He believes the current generation of younger emigrants with in-demand skills wants to be part of the globally mobile workforce trend.  Van Rooyen explained:  "For this generation, foreign work visas, residence permits, and second passports have become sought-after commodities which can provide the financial and personal security they view as non-negotiable in the current climate.  They are joined by tens of thousands of entrepreneurs, investors and retirees, eager to reduce their risk and to become globally mobile."  According to Van Rooyen, for many South Africans, the last straw has been persistently high rates of violent crime, political and financial instability, and 18 months of infighting within the ruling ANC.  

Read the full original of the above report compiled by Carin Smith at Fin24


RESTRUCTURING / JOB CUTS

Standard Bank getting more bang for its buck from staff after jobs cuts

Bloomberg reports that Standard Bank is earning more per employee than anytime over the past five years after reducing the number of workers by almost 2,100 in the 12 months up to June.  The lender has used natural attrition and a reduction in the number of branches to trim staff to 46,168, according to an analysis of its first-half earnings released on Thursday.  A push to digitisation has resulted in Standard Bank closing about 100 branches in SA, bringing the number down to 531, to contain costs that had been growing faster than income.  The number of staff employed in SA declined to 31,201 from 32,880 with workers taking voluntary severance packages, or reaching retirement age.  Another 397 jobs were cut in the rest of Africa, bringing the employee count in other regions down to 14,352.  The bank is increasingly relying on mobile-phone banking to reduce costs associated with branches, with the volume of face-to-face transactions having declined by 13% in the six months through June from a year earlier.  Some 99% of transaction volumes now go through digital channels.

Read the full original of the above report by Vernon Wessels and Roxanne Henderson at Fin24

ANC to fire 124 staffers as a result of setback in May elections

Sunday Times reports that the ANC’s poor showing in the May elections will cost more than 120 of its employees their jobs, because fewer MPs means sharply lower parliamentary allowances.  The decision to retrench up to 44 party staff in Cape Town and 80 more at its parliamentary constituency offices across the country was communicated by chief whip Pemmy Majodina at a tense four-hour staff meeting on Wednesday.  Majodina told the meeting the ANC parliamentary caucus could not afford to retain all its estimated 460 workers.  She said the party was millions of rands poorer in terms of its parliamentary administrative and constituency allowances because of the 23 seats it lost in the May elections, when its support dropped to 57.5% from 62.15% in 2014.  But the disgruntled employees are not taking the matter lying down, and challenged Majodina and her deputy Dorris Dlakude and NCOP chief whip Seiso Mohai to do away with luxuries such as phone allowances for senior managers, rented photocopiers in every office in parliament and a leased car for the chief whip.  Khaya Xaba, spokesperson for Nehawu, which represents the majority of ANC employees, said:  “As much as we understand the fact that we have lost seats in the last election, our view is that the employer has not canvassed various avenues to avoid these job losses.”  Meantime, the party’s headquarters is beefing up staff.  Former ministers from Jacob Zuma’s tenure have been appointed to posts at Luthuli House, allegedly at ministerial salaries.

Read more of the above Sunday Times report by Andisiwe Makinana at SA Labour News


RETIREMENT FUNDS

Solidarity to take further action against former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe

ANA reports that Solidarity said on Monday it would be taking comprehensive steps to bring former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe to account over his role in the struggling State-owned power utility's woes.  In a statement, the trade union said the steps would include possible private prosecution by advocate Gerrie Nel from lobby group AfriForum and the possible seizure of Molefe’s assets.  It will reveal details on Tuesday.  "These steps follow due to the National Prosecuting Authority’s (failure) to begin with prosecution, following the criminal complaint Solidarity lodged against Molefe.  Through this action against Molefe, Solidarity wants to contribute to a culture of accountability in South Africa.  We cannot allow tax looters to simply get away,” Solidarity’s chief operations officer Dr Dirk Hermann stated.  Molefe last week lost a bid at the Constitutional Court to overturn a ruling that he must pay back some of the R30-million pension he received from Eskom.  On Monday, Solidarity said that following the court ruling, it had immediately started taking steps to recover the associated cost order and "to ensure that the R10-million Molefe looted from the Eskom pension fund is reimbursed".  The union added:  "A warrant has already been issued and Solidarity is awaiting the sheriff’s instruction."

Read the original of the above report at Engineering News


DISMISSALS

Fired NPA executive Nomgcobo Jiba challenges Mokgoro report, approaches court for reinstatement

TimesLIVE reports that fired senior prosecutor Nomgcobo Jiba has lodged court papers to challenge retired Constitutional Court judge Yvonne Mokgoro's report, which found her unfit for office.  Jiba filed an application in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday to review and set aside the report.  President Cyril Ramaphosa axed Jiba in April based on the findings and recommendations of Mokgoro's report which indicated that Jiba's conduct, on multiple occasions, had shown a "lack of conscientiousness".  In the notice of motion, Jiba asked for Ramaphosa and the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) to reinstate her to the position of deputy national director of prosecutions "with all associated employment benefits with immediate effect".  Jiba has asked the court to interdict or prohibit the president and the NDPP from filling the position until her review process has been concluded.  Her lawyer Zola Majavu commented:  "All she asks for is to be treated with fairness and consistency."

Read the full original of the above report by Iavan Pijoos at TimesLIVE


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Report into massive tender looting at Emfuleni municipality fingers 31 senior managers

The Citizen reports that an interim forensic investigation report into massive tender irregularities in the Emfuleni local municipality in the Vaal has blown the lid on the extent of looting.  The progress report, by forensic investigation and risk management firm Comperio, has fingered at least 31 senior managers in tender irregularities running into more than R1 billion in 15 red-flagged tenders.  The latest irregular expenditure noted in the report, sent to the Emfuleni chief financial officer, Andile Dyakala, more than a week ago, relates to the extension of a security tender without due process having been followed, which allegedly ended up costing the battling municipality more than R108.9 million.  However, said Dyakala, the report seen by The Citizen had since materially changed.  He gave no indication as to when the final report would be released, or how the reports differed, citing “confidentiality”, but not saying why.  The “draft” forensic investigation report indicated that, based on the invoice analysis, it appeared as if the security company inflated and duplicated invoices.  Among the bizarre contracts is a fleet tender that continued running though it had not been renewed, with the municipality allegedly paying more than R45.3 million to a car dealership.

Read the full original of the above report by Sipho Mabena on page 2 of The Citizen of 12 August 2019

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Seven police officers arrested after trying to resell goods confiscated in Joburg CBD raids, at News24
  • Limpopo agriculture department CFO in court for alleged tender fraud, at News24


OTHER REPORTS

Police minister and NPA to cough up after KZN teacher spent 13 months in jail on false charge of raping pupil

News24 reports that Patrick Buthelezi spent 13 months in jail for a crime he was eventually acquitted of, but now the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the police minister will have to pay damages.  Buthelezi was arrested in November 2011 on a charge of raping a nine-year-old pupil at the school where he was teaching in Umlazi, Durban.  In December of the same year, bail was refused.  The accused remained incarcerated until the conclusion of his criminal trial on December 2012, when he was eventually acquitted of the charges against him.  In subsequent legal action, Buthelezi contended that the investigating officer assigned to the case had failed to bring to the attention of the court certain "unsatisfactory features" in the evidence of the rape victim.  He further contended that "the arresting officer and the investigating officer, in collusion with the prosecutor assigned to oppose the bail application, all knew of the existence of these facts, yet withheld them from the court hearing the bail application".  In particular, a fellow teacher at the school, whom the learner alleged witnessed the rape incident in the classroom, had deposed that she saw no such thing.  Although Buthelezi has now won a damages and costs order for his legal expenses, the amount has yet to be determined.

Read the full original of the above report by Ethan Van Diemen at News24

 


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