news shutterstockIn our afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Tuesday, 15 October 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Fire at SuperSport building at DStv on Tuesday contained, no injuries reported

The Citizen reports that a fire at MultiChoice’s offices and studio on Bram Fischer Drive in Randburg caused the evacuation of a building on Tuesday.  The building is where some of SuperSport’s content for DStv is shot.  The company later confirmed that the fire had been extinguished and that no injuries had been reported.  Johannesburg emergency services spokesperson Nana Radebe confirmed that they received a call at around 12.45pm, and dispatched two fire trucks, which arrived on the scene quickly.  A third was sent at roughly 1:30pm.

Read a short report and view video clips on this story at The Citizen. Read too, MultiChoice building in Joburg evacuated after fire breaks out, no injuries reported, at News24


PROTESTS / MARCHES / PICKETS

Nehawu to picket on Friday at Netcare head office against rising private healthcare costs

ANA reports that the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) announced on Monday it would picket against high and rising costs in the private health industry on Friday, 18 October.  This would be as part of its campaign in support of the introduction of the National Health Insurance (NHI).  The government in August tabled the long-awaited National Health Insurance Bill, which aims to contain the cost of comprehensive public health care by prioritising primary and preventative medical services.  Nehawu said it would picket at the Sandton head office of Netcare, the largest provider of private healthcare in SA.  "This protest picket is the first in the series of a range of other actions that are in the pipeline, which we shall mount with other organisations to ensure that the prevalent profiteering in the private health industry is stopped," the union said in a statement.  Nehawu added that it would press for the appropriate regulation of healthcare charges to ensure value for money and affordability for all.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Independent News

Numsa protests over neutrality of CCMA in Mpumalanga

The Sunday Independent reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) in Mpumalanga staged a protest on 10 October relating to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in Mpumalanga.  The union alleged the existence of an improper relationship between Glencore Coal SA Operation and certain CCMA commissioners, which it claimed was affecting its dealings with the union.  The march was led by regional secretary Essau Tau and Mphumzi Maqungo, national treasurer.  They also submitted memorandums to various employers.  Numsa did not mince its words as it demanded that the senior convening commissioner of the CCMA should conduct investigations as it did not believe the branch was fair or neutral in its dealings with disputes.  Tau indicated that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) received the memorandum on behalf of the CCMA.  “The DMR is the custodian of the CCMA.  If they don’t respond to our demands in 14 days, we will elevate this protest to the CCMA’s national offices,” he stated.

Read the original of the above report by Kenneth Mokgathle on page 4 of The Sunday Independent of 13 October 2019


MINING LABOUR

Together with AIDC and Richard Spoor, Amcu targets Samancor Chrome’s ‘missing billions’

City Press reports that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has partnered with the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) and human rights attorney Richard Spoor to chase billions of rands allegedly siphoned from Samancor Chrome almost a decade ago through what they claim to be fraudulent and profit-shifting transactions.  Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa, along with the AIDC and Spoor, announced last week the start of the court battle to investigate a number of transactions during which it is claimed that Samancor, including its workers’ trust, which is a shareholder, lost billions.  Mathunjwa said the case was the culmination of three years of work triggered by, among other things, the mine’s reluctance to grant the union recognition rights.  “This current case came to our attention when we saw suspiciously low returns on the Ndizani workers’ employee share ownership plan at Samancor.  We started investigating and asked the AIDC to assist in the process,” Mathunjwa said.  However, Amcu only set the ball rolling after Miodrag Kon, a former director of Samancor, approached the union last year with explosive claims about the alleged siphoning off and profit shifting by Samancor.  Mathunjwa also announced that the union had offered R100,000 to any credible whistle-blower who came forward with valuable information.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lesetja Malope at City Press


DISPUTE RESOLUTION / CCMA

CCMA's case load on a steady climb

Business Report writes that technological advances coupled with legislation changes on labour brokers contributed to a 4% year-on-year increase in the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration’s (CCMA’s) case load in the 2018/19 financial year.  CCMA director Cameron Morajane indicated on Monday that the dispute resolution body's cases jumped to 193,732 during the period from 186,902 in the previous year.  Morajane said that the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) had contributed to the job losses as it had a direct bearing on the nature and future of work by affecting business operational models and current and future work opportunities.  “When it comes to 4IR we have to make peace with the fact that it is here to stay,” Morajane said, adding that automation and artificial intelligence had hit the banking sector hard.  “While the 4IR is a serious contributor, the legal reform since 2015 has had also had an impact.  What we are seeing is that instead of receiving employees on a permanent basis after the three-month period has ended, they (employers) then decide to retrench.”  Morajane said he foresaw 25% more referrals due to the minimum wage.  He also reported that the CCMA had settled 74% of all cases heard and closed.  The body took an average of 68 days against an internal target of 60 days from referral to completion of the arbitration process.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Dineo Faku at Business Report


LABOUR MARKET / JOBS

It’s swings and roundabouts for jobs in banking sector

Mail & Guardian writes that ongoing retrenchments in the banking sector led finance sector union Sasbo to threaten a countrywide strike last month, but the overall picture may not be as gloomy as it seems.  Although some banks have been shedding jobs, other banks are hiring.  In recent months, banks such as Standard and Absa have announced retrenchments, citing the weak economy and redirecting resources towards digitalisation.  “The whole aim of the strike is to call for the stoppage of retrenchments and job losses,” Sasbo secretary general Joe Kokela indicated.  But, the day before the intended strike on 27 September the Labour Court ruled the strike unlawful.  Stuart Theobald of research and consulting firm Intellidex, said overall the sector was simultaneously hiring workers, while retrenching others.  This year Standard Bank had cut 2,097 of its 46,168 of employees, Nedbank had shed 937 people leaving it with 30,335 workers, and Absa pruned its headcount by 1,688 to 39,629 (total staff reduction at the three 4,722).  At the same time, other banks were hiring.  FirstRand increased its employees by 2,496 to a headcount of 48,780 and Capitec by 441 to 13,774.  It is set to add 600 employees in the next six months.  Theobald said the new jobs created totalled 2,937, meaning there was an overall loss at the major banks of 1,785.  “I think it’s safe to say it’s not universally the case that banks are retrenching.  Some banks are hiring and it’s not clear what the net effect is going to be,” he remarked.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tshegofatso Mathe at Mail & Guardian


EXECUTIVE PAY

FirstRand overhauls executive pay after shareholder criticism

Moneyweb reports that the pushback from shareholders at last year’s AGM, where both non-binding resolutions on remuneration failed to be approved, seemingly caught FirstRand off guard.  Both resolutions received votes in favour just under the 75% threshold.  This, said FirstRand chair Roger Jardine “gave us cause to undertake some deep introspection”.  So, the group completely overhauled its remuneration report this year and Jardine pointed out that it outlined “the process we went through to understand the issues, which we saw as partly design and partly disclosure”.  He indicated further:  “We engaged with investors and analysed proxy voter services’ reports on design and commissioned independent research to benchmark our disclosure relative to local and international peers.  We have made significant changes to both, and I hope this better demonstrates that true alignment between management and shareholders does exist.”  Chair of the board’s remuneration committee Grant Gelink said the remuneration committee believed that the changes implemented, and the improved disclosure in the report, substantially addressed concerns.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Hilton Tarrant at Moneyweb


RETIREMENT FUNDS / PENSION INVESTMENTS

PIC claims its returns on civil servant pensions beat other asset managers

Fin24 reports that MPs heard on Tuesday that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) was committed to restoring "sound corporate governance" at the institution.  PIC chairperson Reuel Khoza and other executives briefed Parliament's portfolio committee on finance on the investment corporation's annual results for 2018/19.  The PIC manages over R2.trn worth of assets of public funds such as the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).  Despite difficulties in the past year, assets under its management grew 2.3% to R2.131trn.  The PIC also boasted that its returns outperformed those of other asset managers in the market.  According to its presentation, it delivered a return on its listed investments of 11.45% a year over the past ten years to end-March for the GEPF.  The GEPF return over five years was 6.72% a year and 5.59% over three years.  In the near term, the PIC board will prioritise stabilising leadership and management by filling vacant senior positions.  Khoza told MPs the recruitment of a new CEO had begun, the position would be advertised soon.  Other steps taken to improve governance at the PIC included separating the positions of CEO and Chief Investment Officer and adding the positions of Chief Risk Officer, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lameez Omarjee at Fin24

Government committed to protecting workers’ savings, deputy finance minister assures MPs

BusinessLive reports that deputy finance minister David Masondo said in Parliament on Tuesday that the government was solidly committed to the protection of workers’ life savings.  He made introductory remarks ahead of a presentation by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) on the state-owned asset manager’s annual report for 2018/2019.  The PIC, which has assets under management of about R2.1-trillion, acts as the asset manager for the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), the Compensation Fund and other statutory funds.  “As government, we should not compel fund managers to invest in bad programmes.  If we do so we would be squandering hard-earned workers’ deferred wages.  We are committed, as government, to the life savings of workers and the PIC needs to be equally cognisant of its responsibility in this,” said Masondo.  His comments were made in the context of a debate over the possible use of PIC funds for development purposes and over the possible introduction of prescribed assets, which would require pension funds to dedicate a percentage of their funds for investment in government assets.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Linda Ensor at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Freedom fighter and pardoned fraudster Masemola must get his pension, ConCourt rules, at The Citizen


MEDICAL SCHEMES

Cost of medical scheme premiums to rise by close to 10% for 2020

Weekend Argus writes that as medical aid schemes announce annual increases for 2020, consumers can expect to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for their health-care needs next year.  Among the bigger schemes: Discovery Health has announced its increases at an average of 9.5%, up from 9.2%; Bonitas stands at an average of 9.9% up from 8.9%; Momentum Health’s annual increases average at around 8.2%; and Medshield stands at 9.9%.  Increases in medical aid premiums are mostly driven by increases in the number and size of claims that medical schemes need to pay.  Andi Tooke of LifeCheq said premium increases tended to exceed inflation rates based on a number of factors.  “The salaries of health-care professionals account for a large portion of medical costs.  Therefore, salary inflation has a greater impact on medical expenses than price inflation,” she pointed out.  “In recent years, the cost of indemnity insurance has risen exponentially due to an increase in the number of lawsuits against doctors and other health-care practitioners.  To cover this cost, health-care professionals have had to increase their fees by more than inflation year on year,” Tooke explained.  She added:  “Continuous medical advancements result in treatments becoming available for previously untreatable conditions (increasing the number of medical aid claims) and improvements to existing treatments (increasing the size of claims).”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tshego Lepule at Weekend Argus

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Members are ditching top-end Discovery Health plans, at Moneyweb


UNFAIR DISMISSALS

Former SANDF soldier cleared of rape fights to be reinstated

The Star reports a former soldier who was fired over a rape that he went on to prove he did not commit is headed to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt).  Mozamane Teapson Maswanganyi, who was axed after being convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in July 2014, is seeking a ruling compelling the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to automatically reinstate him based on his successful appeal.  He was released from prison on 16 February 2015, after his appeal succeeded and his conviction and sentence were set aside.  Maswanganyi indicated in his founding ConCourt affidavit:  “My conviction and sentence were wholly quashed on appeal.  Notwithstanding this, the SANDF has refused to reinstate me on the basis that the termination of my employment occurred automatically by operation of law.  As a result, I have lost my livelihood after years of service and am still being penalised for an incorrect conviction that has since been set aside.”  The SANDF will oppose Maswanganyi’s application at the ConCourt.  The hearing is set for 19 November.

Read the full original of The Star report in the above regard by Bongani Nkosi at Security.co.za


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

New probe into teacher’s slapping of pupil at Sans Souci

Cape Times reports that a fresh probe into the slapping incident at Sans Souci Girls’ High School has been welcomed by the Chamber of Legal Students, which had asked the Department of Basic Education Department (DBE) to investigate verbal and physical assault of the pupil.  The SA Council for Educators was also expected on Tuesday to hold a disciplinary hearing into Afrikaans teacher Clarissa Venter’s conduct.  The Chamber had complained to the DBE and Sace that the school principal and school governing body (SGB) were not “fair or impartial”.  Criminal charges against Venter, 34, were withdrawn at the Wynberg Magistrate's Court in August.  In a video which made headlines earlier this year, Venter was seen reprimanding the 16-year-old Grade 9 pupil for not having the correct book and for having her cellphone out in the classroom.  After a short exchange the pupil was seen getting up from her seat and shoving Venter, who in turn slapped her.  The parent took the matter to the Equality Court, where she is claiming R150,000 in damages.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Okuhle Hlati at Cape Times


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • Sars to quantify size of illicit economy in coming months, says Tito Mboweni, at BusinessLive
  • Taxi associations accused of terrorising immigrants in Pretoria, at TimesLIVE
  • ‘Artisan is not a man’s job’, at SowetanLive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page