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
Thursday, 17 October 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

JMPD officer run over and killed while she was directing traffic on M1 in Joburg

TimesLIVE reports that a Johannesburg metro police department (JMPD) officer died after she was run over on the M1 on Thursday morning.  JMPD spokesperson chief superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the officer was hit while directing traffic at about 8am.  He added:  “It was a female motorist and she was also injured in the incident.”  The accident happened on Marlboro Drive, on the M1 off-ramp.  A case of culpable homicide has been opened against the driver.

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

Pretoria factory worker crushes arm in freak accident

News24 reports that a Gauteng factory worker sustained a "traumatic injury" when he slipped and fell, in the process crushing his arm in a roller.  According to Netcare 911’s Shawn Herbst, paramedics responded to reports of an industrial incident on Erma Street in Kirkney, Pretoria, at 16:03 on Wednesday afternoon.  "Reports from the scene indicate that a 28-year-old male sustained a crush injury to his left arm when - it is believed - he slipped, getting his arm caught in a roller," Herbst indicated.  Safety officials isolated and locked out the machinery allowing rescue crews access.  "The patient was found to have sustained a serious traumatic injury and required advanced life support intervention to stabilise him.  Due to the nature of his injuries the Netcare helicopter ambulance was called to scene to airlift the patient to a specialist facility," Herbst indicated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Riaan Grobler at News24


UNION NEWS / UNION STRUCTURES

Insolvent Samwu demands R29m in withheld subscription fees from City of Joburg

BusinessLive reports that the cash-strapped SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) is gunning for R29m that it accuses the City of Johannesburg of illegally withholding in contravention of the Labour Relations Act.  Samwu declared insolvency six months ago, stating that it had been struggling to pay staff salaries since August 2018.  The current Samwu national leadership under general secretary Koena Ramotlou accused the previous leaders, who were booted out from the union through a motion of no confidence in April, of presiding over the disappearance of R160m from Samwu coffers.  On Thursday, the Samwu leadership and its members marched to the Joburg municipal chambers, where they delivered a memorandum of grievances to the metro led by DA mayor Herman Mashaba.  Among other grievances, Samwu accused the city of unilaterally stopping depositing subscription funds — equating to R29m — from members to the union.  The union in the region has been rocked by a leadership dispute that saw one of the factions signing a historic pact with Mashaba and rival union Imatu in August.  The current leadership has repudiated the pact.  But, high on the agenda was the issue of the R29m.  “It must come to an end that they must interfere with the business of the union.  They have done this act of keeping the money here to collapse [and] weaken Samwu, so that Samwu cannot be united,” Ramotlou claimed.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Luyolo Mkentane at BusinessLive


LABOUR MARKET / JOB CREATION

Hopes for more jobs on the ground in Northern Cape, as SKA reaches for the sky

BusinessLive reports that according to Northern Cape premier Zamani Saul, the Square Kilometre Array’s (SKA’s) huge scientific project in the Northern Cape should boost the local economy by creating employment.  Delegates and representatives of the member states of the SKA project gathered at the project’s base near Carnarvon on Tuesday as part of an annual meeting.  The government has pumped R3.2bn in project investment into the MeerKAT telescope project – the precursor to the internationally funded SKA telescope.  A media release by the SA Radio Astronomy Observatory (Sarao) indicated that more than 100 local women were directly employed by Sarao from 2015 to 2017 and nearly 1,300 by subcontractors.  Through Sarao’s involvement, a local schools programme provided bursaries to promising students, and teachers have been appointed at Carnarvon High School.  But, Takalani Nemaungani of the department of science & innovation, said the budget for social outreach and other programmes was limited as the project was hugely infrastructure heavy, to which most of the budget had been allocated.  “We can only do so much.  We need the Northern Cape government to partner with us in terms of working towards realising some of the socioeconomic goals that we have,” he pointed out.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ali Bruce at BusinessLive


REMUNERATION / BONUSES

MPs hear that PIC is having 'fruitful' talks with Treasury over staff bonuses

Fin24 reports that the Members of Parliament (MPs) heard on Tuesday that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) would table a revised remuneration policy at the next Annual General Meeting with the shareholder - Treasury - in November.  Executives of the investment corporation, including chairperson Reuel Khoza and acting CEO Vuyani Hako, were briefing Parliament's standing committee on finance on the 2018/19 financial performance.  The matters raised by MPs included staff members holding pickets over caps on bonuses, as imposed by Treasury.  Earlier this month members of the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers, who work at the PIC, held lunchtime demonstrations at its head offices in Pretoria over poor governance and leadership of the organisation.  According to the union's general secretary, Yongama Mabece, the organisation's remuneration policy was not being followed and this was a governance risk.  The PIC's Hako confirmed that there had been engagements with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni about the bonus caps.

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


RACIAL ABUSE

Lie detector test clears Shoprite regional manager accused of racial slur

TimesLIVE reports that a Shoprite regional manager who was under investigation after allegedly referring to black employees as lazy k*****s has been found not guilty.  In a letter seen by TimesLIVE, Shoprite indicated that the manager was cleared and found not guilty after she, alongside a branch manager, were subjected to polygraph tests, the results of which indicated “no deception”.  The charges were that the manager used unacceptable derogatory language when addressing the staff, that (her) actions brought the company's name into disrepute and that her actions were in breach of company rules and regulations.  Last month, workers at three supermarkets in Johannesburg, including Southgate and Ridgeway, halted work protesting against alleged abuse suffered under the manager.  The alleged k-word incident was what prompted staff members to embark on protest action for four days.  During the protest action, a case of crimen injuria was opened at Mondeor police station and the manager was apparently arrested.  A police spokesperson confirmed a police investigation was under way.

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


RESIGNATIONS

Payouts made to get tainted Sars executives to leave

Financial Mail reports that the clean-up at the SA Revenue Service (Sars) is continuing apace, but senior officials who served under former commissioner Tom Moyane have received payouts to leave the tax collector.  Apparently, former Sars IT boss Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane agreed to a six-month payout.  Her resignation, along with that of former group head of employment relations Luther Lebelo, was announced this month.  Makhekhe-Mokhuane was appointed through a flawed process by Moyane in 2017.  She was suspended in August, but had been on discretionary leave for four months before then.  She reportedly turned down a settlement offer of four months’ pay in exchange for her resignation.  Through mutual agreement, she apparently received R1.8m — a six-month payout — and has left the tax agency.  A similar settlement offer was apparently extended to some other senior executives who served under Moyane.  Former chief officer for human capital & development Teboho Mokoena resigned last week and enforcement head Hlengani Mathebula resigned in August.  All of the individuals who have now left formed part of the executive committee — a key leadership structure which provided critical support to the commissioner in running Sars.  Having the tainted individuals depart speedily enables new commissioner Edward Kieswetter to appoint a new executive team to speed up the rebuilding of the institution.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Natasha Marrian at BusinessLive (paywall access only)


DISMISSALS

Axed CEO Peter Moyo wants Old Mutual directors jailed for at least six months

BL Premium reports that axed Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo says jail terms are the appropriate punishment for Old Mutual directors for the contempt of court he is accusing them of.  Responding to Old Mutual’s court papers filed last week when the insurer argued there was no basis for the court to find that its directors disobeyed its order, Moyo said anything less than a term in custody would be “disturbingly inappropriate” because Old Mutual has committed the worst type of court disobedience.  Moyo filed a contempt of court application in August after the insurer barred him from resuming his duties at its Sandton office after a high court ruling that he should be temporarily reinstated.  His legal team has since added a list of contempt of court charges, including Old Mutual’s move to fire Moyo for the second time in August and the appointment of Iain Williamson as acting CEO.  Moyo was fired by the insurer over an alleged conflict of interest relating to NMT Capital.  The high court in Johannesburg has issued two orders for his reinstatement, but Old Mutual maintains that the second axing is valid.  In the court papers filed on Wednesday, Moyo, who is suing the insurer for R250m for damages and for what he would have earned had he not been fired, maintained that the directors must be committed to prison for at least six months.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Londiwe Buthelezi at BusinessLive (paywall access only). Read too, A company must have the right to fire its CEO, says Old Mutual, at Fin24

Parliament set to axe its secretary Gengezi Mgidlana for serious misconduct

EWN reports that the National Assembly was due on Thursday to decide on the summary dismissal of suspended Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana after he was found guilty of serious charges of misconduct.  Parliament’s presiding officers accepted the findings of the disciplinary committee in September, but both houses of Parliament had to endorse its findings in order to effect Mgidlana’s sacking.  Mgidlana was put on paid special leave in June 2017.  His contract is set to expire next month.  Charges on which he was found guilty included accepting an ex gratia payment of more than R71,000, allowing his wife to travel with him at Parliament’s expense, and appointing a chief information officer who did not meet the minimum requirements for the post.  He was also found guilty on several other charges.  Mgidlana protested his innocence throughout the lengthy process and last month indicated he was considering challenging the disciplinary committee’s findings.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Gaye Davis at EWN


SUSPENSIONS

Twitter crowdfunding campaign raises enough money to cover salary of suspended EWN journalist Barry Bateman

News24 reports that EWN reporter Barry Bateman will be able to pay his bills at the end of the month after a "crowdfunding" campaign managed to raise enough money to cover his October salary.  Bateman was caught on camera calling Julius Malema a p**s following a briefing by the EFF leader outside the Hawks' offices on 10 September.  He was pulled off air after a video of the incident went viral.  Bateman and EWN have since apologised for the incident.  Bateman was suspended for one month without pay for October and given a final written warning, which is valid for 12 months.  Medical doctor and co-founder of radio show Renegade Report, Jonathan Witt, tweeted details of the crowdfunding effort on Tuesday.  The tweet contained Bateman's bank account details.  By Wednesday morning, Witt tweeted that enough money had been donated to cover Bateman's monthly expenses and he deleted his original tweet about crowdfunding.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by News24. Read too, Malema unhappy as ‘racist and sexist’ Barry Bateman’s salary paid for by crowdfunding campaign, at The Citizen


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Eleven more employees of Limpopo vehicle testing station, including owner, nabbed for roadworthy certificate fraud

News24 reports that eleven employees of a vehicle testing station in Limpopo, including the owner, were arrested in Marble Hall on Wednesday for allegedly issuing fraudulent roadworthy certificates.  The arrests came after four others were re-arrested at the Phalala vehicle testing station in Lephalale on Monday.  The suspects allegedly used the personal details of innocent individuals to issue roadworthy certificates for scores of vehicles, which were never brought to the station for physical examination.  The vehicle testing owner, manager, examiners and an administration clerk are among those who were apprehended.  Documents, computers and cellphones were also seized.  Four other suspects, who included three examiners and an administration clerk, were re-arrested at the Phalala vehicle testing station on Monday.  The suspects appeared before a local magistrate on Tuesday.

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


SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Video allegedly featuring former Bishops teacher who had affair with a matric pupil lands up on porn site

News24 reports that an explicit video has been loaded on to a well-known pornographic website citing the name of Fiona Viotti, the Bishops Diocesan College water polo coach who resigned last week amid allegations of a sexual affair with an 18-year-old matric pupil.  But, News24 has not been able to independently verify that the woman in the visual material is indeed Viotti.  On Thursday, Viotti's attorney William Booth said he would be taking steps to have the video removed from the website as it was posted without her permission.  Viotti left the school in Rondebosch in Cape Town with immediate effect last week and the school has reportedly appointed an attorney to investigate what the principal described as "serious misconduct".  No crime is being investigated as the pupil in question is not underaged.  Reportedly, the pupil had tried to break off the relationship and, according to a source, Viotti sent threatening WhatsApp messages to the learner.  News24 earlier reported that more pupils have been "affected over a number of years" by the alleged "serious misconduct" of Viotti.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at News24


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Integrated ticketing one step closer, with Gautrain to accept contactless bank cards

Engineering News reports that from 31 October, public transport in SA will move one step closer to integrated ticketing with the Gautrain to accept contactless bank cards for payment of its train, parking and bus services.  This means Gautrain customers can tap in and out of the system using their credit, debit and cheque cards, as well as National Department of Transport cards used on the A Re Yeng bus system in Pretoria, the Rea Vaya bus system in Johannesburg, and the MyCiTi bus system in Cape Town.  All standard rail-user discounts will still apply when paying with these cards.  Bombela has advised customers to take their cards from their wallets when tapping in and out of the system to avoid multiple cards paying for the same trip.  The golden Gautrain cards will remain a valid payment method, with contactless cards being added to the range of payment options available to customers.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Engineering News


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • How construction companies struggle to get paid, at BusinessLive
  • SA faces possible tax revenue shortfall of R50-R98bn, at Moneyweb

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page