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, 9 September 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Joburg’s City Power pulls teams out of flash points for safety reasons

TimesLIVE reports that City Power decided for safety reasons on Sunday to withdrew its operators and technicians from Johannesburg areas plagued by xenophobic attacks.  The entity said it had been informed of new attacks on businesses and foreigners' homes in areas including the CBD, Jeppestown, Malvern, Johannesburg central, Rosettenville, Hillbrow and Berea.  Spokesperson Isaac Mangena indicated:  “These are some of the areas, that include Alexandra and Lenasia, where City Power struggled to operate, or operated limited service, during the recent attacks.  Our customers were, and will continue to be, inconvenienced with limited or no response to fault calls in areas where danger is anticipated.”  City Power CEO Lerato Setshedi explained the entity's decision to withdraw services as follows:  “We are doing this for safety reasons of our staff members and contractors… This means that as a service delivery utility, City Power may find it difficult to respond to some of the fault calls in the areas we have identified as flash points.”  Services that did not require physical visits by City Power staff were continuing, said Mangena.  City Power said it would re-assess the situation on Monday.

Read the full original of the above report at TimesLIVE. Read too, One dead, 16 arrested in attacks in Joburg, at Independent News

East London traffic cop saves robber who knifed him in the face from mob justice

TimesLIVE reports that on Sunday a traffic officer from East London saved a woman from her an attacker, and subsequently saved her attacker from mob justice.  Traffic officer Lawrence Constable was driving on Fitchett road, East London, when he saw the woman being robbed and went to her aid.  Having caught up with the fleeing suspect, the officer tried to arrest him but was stabbed above his right eye.  Community members and motorists jumped in to help, and began assaulting the suspect and hurling rocks at him.  Fortunately for the robber, the injured officer came to his rescue, firing warning shots to disperse the crowd.  "The Buffalo City Metro has applauded one of its traffic officers who went beyond the call of duty," said municipal spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya.  She advised that the officer was recovering.

Read the full original of the above report by Dan Meyer at TimesLIVE


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

British Airways flights in SA not affected by pilot strike in UK

Fin24 reports that the strike by the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) would not affect British Airways flights operated by Comair in South Africa, a spokesperson for the airline confirmed on Monday.  Comair operates under its low-fare airline brand, kulula.com, as well as under the British Airways livery, as part of a license agreement.  Bloomberg reported earlier that British Airways cancelled hundreds of flights as chances dwindled for a breakthrough in negotiations with the BALPA.  It was expected that disruptions would mainly affect London.  The issue relates to a pay dispute.

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


SOEs IN CRISIS

Denel announces appointment of new chief financial officer

Fin24 reports that state-owned arms manufacturer Denel announced on Monday that it had appointed Carmen le Grange as its new group chief financial officer, adding that she would help improve its culture of corporate governance.  Le Grange's appointment comes 10 days after the company was granted a R1.8 billion lifeline.  She will oversee the financial affairs of the group, and work on improving Denel's audit results, financial systems and capability.  In a statement, Denel group CEO Danie du Toit said Le Grange's appointment came as the group was beginning to see improvements in corporate governance.  Government’s recent decision to recapitalise the organisation would put Denel on a sustainable growth path, he opined.  Du Toit described La Grange as a "seasoned chartered accountant".  She worked as a partner at PwC for more than a decade before founding an advisory consulting practice.

Read the original of the above report by Khulekani Magubane at Fin24


RECRUITMENT / APPOINTMENTS

Absa’s successor CEO to be revealed in January

BL Premium reports that according to Absa Group chair Wendy Lucas-Bull, the group had to do an about-turn on naming its permanent successor to Maria Ramos at the request of the SA Reserve Bank.  Absa had previously stated it would name the person before the presentation of its interim results on 13 August.  “The individual is fully contracted and their start date is 15th of January.  We've been through the regulatory process and one of the conditions from the regulator is that I can’t announce it until January,” Lucas-Bull indicated last week.  She reiterated the individual was South African.  By the time the new CEO starts work, Absa’s separation from Barclays will be substantially complete.  Former Reserve Bank deputy governor Daniel Mminele is regarded as the most likely candidate for the job.  Mminele retired from the Bank at the end of June after a distinguished 20-year spell there.  The central bank recently introduced “cooling-off” periods for senior executives of financial institutions, which entails them taking breaks of anywhere between six months to a year before starting work at another institution.

Read the full original of the above report by Lukanyo Mnyanda and Warren Thompson at BusinessLive (paywall access only)


NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

National minimum wage takes toll on labour-services group Workforce Holdings

BusinessLive reports that labour-services group Workforce Holdings said on Monday its diversification strategy was paying off, even as it took a profit hit in the six months to end-June, partly as a result of the implementation of the national minimum wage (NMW).  Workforce reported an 8.4% fall in after-tax profit to R41.2m for the period despite an increase in revenue.  Cash generated by operations jumped 28.5% as it focused more on training and financial services in addition to its recruitment operations.  The company, which has been hit by regulatory changes such as those affecting labour broking, said on Monday that while the NMW did not affect turnover during the period, it had affected profitability.  The group’s staffing business constituted 79% of revenue during the period, down from 81% in the period of the year earlier.  The staffing and outsourcing cluster reported a 15% fall to R65m in earnings.

Read the original of the above report by Karl Gernetzky at BusinessLive


RETRENCHMENTS / JOB CUTS

DA jobs on the line as funders jump ship following party’s poor election results

The Star reports that an underwhelming showing at the 2019 elections, including allegations of a “squandered” R400-million campaign chest, are pointing to job losses for Democratic Alliance (DA) staff as funders ditch “a sinking ship”.  These new revelations came after reports last week that the party was unable to pay its staff bonuses this year because of cash-flow problems.  A letter dated 3 September 2019 from DA chief executive Paul Boughey informed staff members that the party would look into cutting jobs to meet its 2021 local government “elections objectives”, including the organisation’s “financial obligations”.  “This is an unfortunate situation, and we acknowledge that this is a difficult time.  However, it is as a result of looking at several alternatives to streamlining our operations over the last while that we have reached a decision to embark on a restructuring process,” Boughey wrote.  Sources close to the DA have revealed that party funders “had started ditching the sinking ship” because of its almost 1.5% drop in support at the May general elections from 2014.  This supposedly necessitated the cutting of jobs.  It was also claimed that the DA, which apparently had a R400m war chest to fight the election, “squandered” the money through alleged corruption, including one Gauteng field support officer who apparently twice robbed R60,000 of party funds in separate incidents.

Read the full original of the above report by Khaya Koko at The Star


SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / TRAINING

DA outraged after R2.8m spent to fly 45 interns to Germany, only 11 of whom were employed

Independent News reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has accused the provincial government of destroying the future of more than 30 interns who were promised jobs in their artificial intelligence unit following government-paid training in Germany.  DA spokesperson on finance and e-Government Adriana Randall said the provincial government spent R2.8 million to fly 45 interns to Germany to learn about artificial intelligence (AI), but only a few of them managed to secure permanent jobs.  Randall said the DA was shocked to learn that, after promising permanent employment, the department of e-Government had only retained 11 of the 45 interns.”  She indicated further:  “As part of the agreement after completing the year-long internship would be the offer of permanent employment but this did not happen.  Some of the interns left their existing jobs to join the programme because an expectation was created that they would be offered permanent employment only to find out later that this was not the case.”  According to Randall, her party would investigate whether it would be possible to take action against officials in the department for improper conduct in the handling of the internship programme.

Read the full original of the above report by Baldwin Ndaba at Independent News


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Axed CEO Peter Moyo barred again from returning to work at Old Mutual

BusinessLive reports that Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo was once again barred from returning to work on Monday.  Moyo presented himself for work on Monday morning following a court order upholding his reinstatement as CEO that was handed down by Judge Brian Mashile on Friday.  Moyo’s attorney Eric Mabuza said his client was ushered to a boardroom and informed that the company would be filing an urgent application to seek a declaratory order effecting Moyo’s second letter of dismissal sent to him on 24 August.  Mabuza indicated further:  “We asked old Mutual to produce a document preventing Mr Moyo from returning to work.  They have been unable to do so.  We don't want to cause any scuffle.  We will leave not because we are not entitled to be here but because it is out of respect for court processes.  We will wait for them to bring another urgent application.”  Old Mutual said on Monday it had met Moyo to explain that he would not be returning to work, as its contractual rights remained intact with it having served him with a termination letter in August.  The insurer said it would be filing appropriate appeal papers over the next few days.  It pointed out that the court had noted in granting it leave to appeal that "the current position is that the relationship between the parties was unwholesome".

Read the full original of the above report by Warren Thompson at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Over R2m paid by Gauteng health department to 18 suspended officials, at


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Two Baviaanspoort warders suspended for drug dealing in prison

SowetanLive reports that a cellphone seized from an inmate at the Baviaanspoort correctional services centre has revealed how two prison warders were behind illegal activities at the facility.  Two warders at the centre just outside Pretoria were suspended at the weekend after WhatsApp and text messages were found on an inmate's cellphone.  The inmate was apparently instructed by the two warders to move drugs and money inside the prison.  An insider at the correctional facility told Sowetan that the two warders were suspended after a routine search of inmates led to the discovery of a cellphone.  "WhatsApp messages and text messages on the device revealed that two warders were in communication with him and giving him instructions of illegal activities inside the prison," the insider indicated.  The officers were apparently then served with suspension letters and suspended with immediate effect.  Correctional services department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the matter was under investigation.  Offenders are not allowed to have cellphones in their possession.

Read the full original of the above report by Promise Marupeng at SowetanLive


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Cape Town gives taxi associations deadline of 28 September for reopening of MyCiTi N2 route

Weekend Argus reports that taxi association Codeta is canvassing members in response to the City of Cape Town’s ultimatum regarding the operation of the MyCiTi N2 Express.  Last Thursday the City told shareholders of the N2 Express Company, which include taxi associations Codeta and Mitchells Plain Route Six, that it had set a 28 September deadline for the bus service to be reinstated, almost four months after it ground to a halt.  The city warned it would appoint a different company to operate the N2 Express Service as engagements with the shareholders aimed at concluding a new agreement had failed to resolve the impasse.  The suspension of the N2 Express service has had a considerable impact on the Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain commuters.  The N2 Express service, which began operating from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain to the Cape Town CBD in 2014, offered a critical transport option to the unreliable Metrorail service.  Codeta said it would make its decision known before the 28 September deadline.

Read the full original of the above report by Bulelwa Payi at Weekend Argus

Cape Town law enforcement officers to start performing duties on Golden Arroe buses

ANA reports that the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement department has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS) that will pave the way for law enforcement officers to do duty on buses.  Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said in a statement on Sunday that on board enforcement would add value to the service and ensure the safety of passengers.  The appointment of 20 law enforcement officers was made possible by the city’s expanded public works programme (EPWP).  The key focus of the law enforcement officers will be to have a high visibility on GABS buses so as to not only protect and serve, but also to be a deterrent to possible criminal activity on buses and at bus depots.  In doing so, the officers will conduct stop-and-search operations, including random searches, at predefined bus stops and shelters.  GABS general manager Derick Meyer said they were optimistic that the new GABS-funded unit would be a success.  The MoA will be in place until February 2020, with the hope that it be reviewed and extended.

Read the full original of the above report at Independent News

Transport union Untu says Prasa's 'war room' is ineffective and hasn’t impacted train services

ANA reports that the United National Transport Union (Untu) said on Monday that the Passenger Rail Agency of SA’s (Prasa's) state-of-the-art nerve centre known as a "war room" was ineffective and has had no impact on the train services.  Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula launched the Germiston-based nerve centre last month, promising an end to commuter train service problems.  The union commented as follows a month after the establishment of the facility:  "To date, no train drivers belonging to the Untu, the majority union in Prasa, has a telephone number for the “war room" where they can report occurring problems on their routes.  It's business as usual to them since the establishment of the “war room” as they continue to bear witness to the stripping of the remaining infrastructure by criminals."  General secretary Steve Harris went on to state:  "Abnormal working of the trains continues with thousands of manual authorisations issued per month nationwide.  Train drivers throughout the country, also those working for Transnet Freight Rail, are reporting the theft of overhead cables daily."  Harris also said train services in KwaZulu-Natal had "gone from bad to critical."  Launching the "war room", Mbalula had said it would be a "game changer" for train services.

Read the full original of the above report at Engineering News


OTHER REPORTS

Calls for accountability for Uyinene’s death after Post Office ignored report flagging 300 employees

SowetanLive reports that gender activists and civil society movements have slammed SA Post Office (Sapo) for sitting on a report which flagged 300 employees, including the man who murdered University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana.  The man who confessed to killing Mrwetyana in a post office was found to be a convicted criminal who had served time.  This was after Sapo had vetted all employees who were going to work on the distribution of social grants last year.  The Sunday Times reported over the weekend that for more than a year, Sapo was aware that Mrwetyana's alleged killer was a convicted hijacker.  However, no action was taken.  Loyiso Saliso, one of the organisers of the #TotalShutdownMovement, said government as a whole needed to be called out and also be sued for Mrwetyana's killing.  Saliso said it was "highly disturbing" that Mrwetyana's alleged killer "and 299 other criminals" could be appointed with ease despite criminal records".  Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has written to the Sapo board to "urgently provide reasons why the 2018 report was not implemented".  Her spokesperson indicated that she wanted "appropriate action" taken against the 299 employees still at the post office depending on the gravity of the offences they were guilty of.

Read the full original of the above report by Isaac Mahlangu at SowetanLive


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • What we do and don’t know about NHI and our health care, at BusinessLive
  • Amy'Leigh's mom weeps as friend and teacher among three in dock after kidnapping, at TimesLIVE
  • Opinion: Employers must chart course in tackling gender-based sexual violence, at BusinessLive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page