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
Wednesday, 16 October 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Head-on collision between two coal trains claims two lives, two others seriously injured

Mining Weekly reports that Transnet on Wednesday announced two fatalities and two severe injuries after a head-on collision between two trains at the Matlabas crossing, located between Thabazimbi and Lephalale, in Limpopo.  The collision happened on Tuesday evening between a train with 100 loaded coal wagons and a stationary train with 89 empty wagons.  The train driver and assistant train driver of the empty train were fatally injured, while the driver and assistant driver from the loaded train were severely injured and taken to a nearby hospital.  Transnet preliminarily reported that the empty train set had two burnt out locomotives and one derailed on its side.  Transnet said a board of inquiry would be set up by an independent arbiter.

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

Air conditioner sparked fire on Tuesday at MultiChoice building

The Star reports that a swift response resulted in workers being safely evacuated after fire engulfed one of the MultiChoice buildings in Randburg on Tuesday.  The SuperSport section caught fire and forced the pay TV provider to broadcast international new feeds until programming could resume.  The emergency management services, located a few metres from the building, responded to the blaze and on arrival they conducted preliminary investigations which showed that the fire was started by an air conditioner.  Spokesperson Nana Radebe said:  On arrival, there was a fire on top of the roof.  Our investigation has shown an air conditioning system was on fire on the roof.  The smoke went inside and fortunately everyone had been evacuated from the building.”  Radebe said they had ventilated the building and there was no smoke left, but the company would decide when it was safe for workers to return.  The fire is believed to have started around 12:30pm and while some employees were rushing to their cars, several were treated for smoke inhalation.  

The original of the above report by Yethu Dlamini appeared on page 2 of The Star of 16 October 2019


MINING LABOUR

Sibanye-Stillwater still hoping to avert Amcu platinum strike after wage deadlock

Fin24 reports that Sibanye-Stillwater is hopeful that a wage agreement can be reached with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) to avert a wage strike at its Rustenburg and Marikana platinum operations after negotiations deadlocked.  Company spokesperson James Wellsted said on Tuesday the company was continuing engagement with the union after a dispute was declared last month over the issue.  The matter has now been referred to the CCMA.  We continue to engage with Amcu on the side.  Hopefully we will reach a sustainable resolution.  We still not quite there.  There is still a gap, but I think we can get there," said Wellsted.  The union is demanding wage increases of between R1,000 and R1,500 for entry level employees.  The wage offer for the Marikana operations consists of an increase of R400 per month for the first year, followed by R600 per month for the second year and R800 per month for the third.  Sibanye took control of the Marikana platinum operations after its acquisition of Lonmin with a transaction concluded in June.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sibongile Khumalo at Fin24


INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT / JOB CREATION

Tshwane automotive special economic zone will undoubtedly create jobs, says Gauteng MEC

Engineering News reports that according to Gauteng Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development MEC, Morakane Mosupyoe, the establishment of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will – “without a doubt” – aid in job creation and economic growth.  The proposed SEZ will be developed on 162 ha of land in Silverton, in the east of the City of Tshwane and will focus on automotive component manufacturing, and should cater for what is believed to be significant further capacity expansion at the nearby Ford plant.  The establishment of the SEZ is currently the focus of a public consultation process, set to conclude on 1 November.  Thereupon, a report will be submitted to the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel for final consideration.  “The automotive sector has been one of the most visible sectors receiving foreign investments, and this SEZ provides the necessary impetus for attracting both foreign and domestic direct investments into the economy,” Mosupyoe observed.  The automotive hub will be developed through a joint partnership between the City of Tshwane, Gauteng Provincial Government and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.

Read the original of the above report at Engineering News


JOBS AT RISK

With jobs on the line, cement industry lobbies parliament to support its calls for tariff increases

BusinessLive reports that the local cement industry has called on parliament to back its application for tariff increases for cement imports, arguing that the sector is facing an existential crisis.  Local cement industry players recently lodged a tariff increase application with the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac), the organisation tasked with customs tariff investigations, trade remedies, and import and export control.  Bryan Perrie, an industry spokesperson and MD of The Concrete Institute, said the recent surge in cheap cement imports would add to the jobs crisis in SA.  The construction industry accounts for 8% of total formal employment in SA and 17% of its total informal employment.  The cement sector on its own directly employs more than 7,000 people and has created an additional 35,000 indirect jobs.  Without tariff protection, these could all be under threat, said Perrie.  “Urgent action is required.  We have asked Itac for a safeguard action against cheap cement imports which are undercutting local producers by almost 45% and skewing market prices,” he warned said.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Bekezela Phakathi at BusinessLive


REMUNERATION / SALARY ADMINISTRATION

Major victory for deputy directors of public prosecution after decade-long salary battle

News24 reports that past and present deputy directors of public prosecutions (DDPPs) will finally receive their increases and benefits after a decade-long battle.  The North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday ordered the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to comply with its contractual obligations relating to salary structures for DDPPs and chief prosecutors (CPs).  Through the Public Servants Association (PSA), DDPPs and CPs went to court, arguing that unions and the government agreed in 2007 that they would be entitled to the benefits of an improved salary dispensation, as gazetted in 2010, for legal professionals working in the justice sector.  However, DDPPs and CPs were left out in the cold because they were seen as part of senior management, which led to a situation in which junior and senior prosecutors earned the same as or more than DDPPs and CPs.  Judge Corrie van der Westhuizen ordered the NPA to comply with the government notice of 2010 and ordered it to pay costs.  The judgment means all DDPPs and CPs will fall under a new salary model, namely occupation specific dispensation (OSD) on level LP10.  In effect, it means they will receive the original salary increase and affected DDPPs will receive pay backdated to 2007.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Alex Mitchley at News24


WORKPLACE CONDITIONS

'Abusive' Eastgate Mall salon owner seeks legal advice after being caught on camera swearing at employees

TimesLIVE reports that Eastgate Mall management has condemned the "abusive" behaviour of an upmarket salon boss towards staff members.  Her actions were captured in a series of video clips and occurred at the "Nail Me" salon on Tuesday.  The videos caused an uproar on social media, with calls for the salon to be shut down.  In the videos, a woman - believed to be the salon owner - can be seen shouting and swearing at staff members.  Eastgate Mall spokesperson Alana Hoskin condemned the incidents, which she said did not reflect the values of the centre.  "As the centre, we do not condone the incident.  The owner of the store is getting legal advice on the matter," she said.  Hoskin confirmed that the store remained closed on Wednesday.  A number of people had written reviews of the salon on Facebook, many of which also highlighted the alleged abuse of the owner.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nonkululeko Njilo at TimesLIVE


RETIREMENT FUNDS / PENSIONS

Hlaudi in court in bid to get his R8m SABC pension payout released

SowetanLive reports that former SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng has gone to court to challenge a five-year-old report by the public protector in his latest bid to force the public broadcaster to release his R8m pension payout.  He is also attempting to stop the Special Investigating Unit's (SIU's) civil suit which seeks to recover R21m from him.  In court papers filed on Tuesday, Motsoeneng argued that the remedial actions by then public protector Thuli Madonsela were not meant to be used as evidence in a current civil claim by the SIU.  He also argued the SABC needed to test the findings of Madonsela's report in an internal disciplinary process.  Madonsela found that Motsoeneng irregularly increased salaries of staff to the tune of R29m and directed the SABC board to take steps to recover such monies.  She also directed the SABC to take disciplinary action against him for misrepresenting his qualifications, abuse of power, improper appointments and salary increments.  This recommendation, according to Motsoeneng, meant that the adverse findings against him were neither binding nor "evidence that I was guilty, otherwise that would render superfluous the remedial action to subject me to a disciplinary process".  Following the release of the report, the SABC undertook a disciplinary hearing which cleared Motsoeneng, but it was set aside by a court of law, which ruled that a new process had to be instituted.  Motsoeneng has now argued that because that hearing never took place, he has had to resort to court to review and set aside the report, which was being used to "interfere with his right" to access his pension.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kgothatso Madisa at SowetanLive

Struggle pension of 92-year old ANC stalwart to be paid as a result of fraud pardon

SowetanLive reports that ninety-two year old liberation struggle activist Nathaniel Mashilo Masemola must receive a special pension, the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruled on Tuesday.  He lost his special pension after a fraud conviction, but received a pardon from former president Jacob Zuma in July 2011.  The ConCourt ordered that the pension be reinstated because of the pardon.  In 1997 Masemola applied for and was awarded a special pension.  However, he was convicted of several counts of fraud and sentenced to five years' imprisonment in 2001.  He served six months.  Masemola continued to draw his special pension until he received a letter from the Special Pensions Appeal Board in 2008 stating that, because he had been convicted of fraud, the Special Pensions Act disqualified him from receiving the remuneration.  His pension was stopped in June 2008.  In a unanimous judgment, the ConCourt said the result of the presidential pardon was that Masemola, for all intents and purposes, and with effect from July 2011, was legally to be treated as a person who had not been convicted of an offence.  The court ordered that the money be paid within 14 days.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ernest Mabuza at SowetanLive


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Gauteng cop arrested for selling SAPS recruitment forms for R3,500 each

News24 reports that Gauteng police have nabbed one of their own for allegedly selling SA Police Service (SAPS) recruitment forms.  The 39-year-old policeman attached to the Florida police station was arrested on Monday by the Gauteng Provincial Anti-Corruption Investigating Unit (ACIU).  Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said the arrest came after police were alerted on 10 October about what was happening.  "It was reported that the constable was selling a single application form for R3,500, and applicants had to pay R2,000 upfront.  The ACIU team operationalised the tip-off and, on the afternoon of October 14, they arrested the suspect at a fast-food restaurant in Roodepoort.  He was found in possession of the deposit that had just been paid by a 'victim' who was part of the crime prevention operation," said Peters.  Three other victims had been scammed by the same police officer.  He was scheduled to appear in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, facing charges of corruption and fraud.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ntwaagae Seleka at News24

Three Limpopo traffic officials out on bail rearrested after allegedly committing fraud again

News24 reports that three Limpopo traffic officials are in custody after they allegedly contravened their bail conditions by committing an offence similar to the one they had been arrested for earlier this year.  A fourth colleague was also arrested.  Zwelihle Khumalo, 37, Lebogang Rapetsoa, 24, Peter Schutte, 62, and Makwena Silas Mashala, 28, were arrested on Monday for alleged fraud.  Rapetsoa, Schutte and Mashala were all out on bail following their initial arrest for allegedly issuing fraudulent roadworthy certificates.  Khumalo was arrested for the first time.  The officials were all from the Phalala vehicle testing station.  Limpopo Hawks spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke said investigations revealed that, despite the warning, Rapetsoa, Schutte and Mashala were alleged to have continued using the details of the same victims to issue more fraudulent vehicle roadworthy certificates.  The accused appeared in the Lephalale Magistrate's Court on Tuesday facing fraud charges.  They were all remanded in custody until 18 October.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ntwaagae Seleka at News24


OTHER REPORTS

A hundred senior Eskom officials refuse to undergo security vetting

TimesLIVE reports that one hundred senior officials at troubled power utility Eskom have refused to undergo the security vetting processes of the State Security Agency (SSA).  This was revealed by SSA minister Ayanda Dlodlo and her department's senior officials at a meeting with parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).  Dlodlo painted a grim picture of the SSA's capacity to probe the trustworthiness of senior government officials and executives at state-owned firms, with the minister reporting that many were simply refusing to be subjected to the security screening.  Scopa has for some time been demanding the vetting of senior government officials involved in government procurement spending or in the state's supply chain management.  The SSA's Sipho Blose said only 21 out of 121 top Eskom executives had complied or agreed to participate in their vetting processes.  In the cases of some other government entities, the outcomes of the processes were completely disregarded.  Dlodlo said her department was sitting with a huge vetting backlog as the spy agency did not have enough personnel to carry out the background checks, while it heavily relied on other government agencies such as the SAPS and SARS for information.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Thabo Mokone at TimesLIVE. Read too, Why SOE chiefs must be vetted, at SowetanLive


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • Food insecurity threatens SADC region, at BusinessLive
  • Opinion: NHI’s success hinges on improving infrastructure at all hospitals, at BusinessLive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page