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 roundup of weekend news, see
summaries of our selection of South African
labour-related stories that appeared since
Friday, 18 October 2019.


TOP STORY - NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

National minimum wage begins to eat jobs

Sunday Times Business Times reports that new referrals to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) linked to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Act are expected to increase the agency’s dispute caseload by 25% this financial year.  This is according to William Thomson, acting national senior commissioner for dispute prevention and training at the CCMA.  There have been 19,500 referrals so far this year in terms of the NMW Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act.  The "jobs bloodbath" referred to by President Cyril Ramaphosa is "just beginning", Thomson commented.  The CCMA, which tabled its 2018/2019 annual report last week, was coping, "but we are stretched", Thompson indicated.  In an effort to slow down the flood of referrals, the CCMA is being more proactive in trying to persuade employers not to cut jobs.  Out of 38,588 referrals in 2018/2019, Thompson advised that 15,787 jobs had been clawed back.  In spite of recent efforts to connect retrenchments to the technology revolution, they have "far more" to do with the NMW Act combined with the dire state of the economy than the fourth industrial revolution, Thompson pointed out.  "We cannot say the retrenchments we're experiencing are directly related to the fourth industrial revolution," but it will start happening, and employers and workers need to focus more creatively on how to address technological change, he opined.

Read Chris Barron’s full interview with William Thomson at BusinessLive (paywall access only)


UNION NEWS / UNION STRUCTURES

Food and Allied Workers Union faces deregistration

Mail & Guardian reports that the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), shaken by factional battles and a multimillion rand financial scandal, faces deregistration because of poor corporate governance and alleged mismanagement of membership fees.  Last month, Fawu, the second largest affiliate in the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), fired its long-serving general secretary, Katishi Masemola, for misconduct regarding a R19.2-million write-off at its investment wing, Basebenzi Investment Group, and other charges.  Masemola’s dismissal came after two years of behind-the-scenes battles between a faction supporting him and a rival grouping backing Fawu president Atwell Nazo and the acting deputy general secretary, Mayoyo Mngomezulu.   In May the crisis regarding the union’s finances reached a head when the labour relations registrar, Lehlohonolo Molefe, threatened to deregister Fawu or go to the labour court to have the union placed under administration.  Fawu had failed to submit its annual financial statement for 2017/2018 and submitted its 2015/2016 statements — for which it received an audit disclaimer — to the registrar only in April 2018.  It had also failed to put in place a system of internal controls for more than R73-million in membership fees.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Paddy Harper at Mail & Guardian

Actors must have a union, says actor Seputla Sebogodi

SowetanLive writes that venerable actor Seputla Sebogodi has come a long way from being jailed for his political plays to being one of the most revered actors of our time.  In a candid interview with Sowetan, Sebogodi said not much has changed in the entertainment sector for black actors.  Despite new opportunities and the inclusion of black people in drama schools, many battles being fought in the present day, such as financial hardships, have existed since his times at classic productions such as Bophelo ke Semphekgo.  "I want the industry to be regulated and I would love for a union that can take care of the actors.  And I hope development is something that our government can do.  This is an industry that can create a lot of jobs and is an industry that helped break the walls of apartheid.  People knew about apartheid because of plays," said Sebogodi when asked about his dreams for the entertainment sector.  The Atteridgeville-born actor was a part of the Generations16 who were fired for standing up against poor wages.  Sebogodi said despite the hardships, acting was an industry of passion.  He also lamented that theatre has slowly died out in the new SA and said that he was very worried about the state of theatre.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Karabo Ledwaba at SowetanLive


EXECUTIVE PAY

MPs want probe into pay and perks of university vice-chancellors and senior executives

BusinessLive reports that MPs are worried by the high salaries and benefits paid to senior university executives, in particular vice-chancellors, and have called for an inquiry into the matter.  The salaries and perks of some vice-chancellors — the academic sector's equivalent of CEOs — have been under scrutiny in recent months amid calls for cash-strapped universities to cut back on expenditure.  Earlier in October, it was reported that academics were calling for the scrapping of performance bonuses for university vice-chancellors, after two of them pocketed R1.1m each in 2018.  The two who received those bonuses are SA's highest-paid vice-chancellor, Unisa's Mandla Makhanya, who earned R5.2m in 2018, and the second-highest earner, Tshilidzi Marwala of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), who took home R4.9m.  On Thursday, Parliament’s portfolio committee on higher education, science and technology said, notwithstanding the autonomy of institutions to set their own salaries, it was concerned that the high remuneration levels paid to senior managers at some universities were not commensurate with the performance of their institutions, in particular research outputs and throughput rates.  The committee will request the minister of higher education, science and technology to commission an inquiry through the Council on Higher Education.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Bekezela Phakathi at BusinessLive. Read too, MPs want inquiry into academic’ pay, at Mail & Guardian


RETIREMENT FUNDS / PENSION INVESTMENTS

Sekunjalo liquidation 'logical' to help protect state pensions, says PIC interim chair

Fin24 reports that Public Investment Corporation (PIC) interim chair Reuel Khoza says that concerns that businessman Iqbal Survé's Sekunjalo Holdings could be moving assets offshore is one of the reasons why the PIC believes it would be a logical step to have the company (Sekunjalo) liquidated.  Sekunjalo has denied this, claiming Sekunjalo was "cash positive", and it has threatened to take legal action against the PIC.  Yet, the PIC has reached out to law enforcement authorities and the SA Reserve Bank, which controls the flow of money into and out of SA.  As the government-owned asset manager, the PIC invests government employees' pensions as well as unemployment insurance funds.  Khoza believes liquidating Sekunjalo would help to protect civil servants' state pensions by preventing it from being "frittered away".  PIC acting head of legal services Lindiwe Dlamini told MPs on Tuesday that the state-run asset manager was considering submitting an application to liquidate Sekunjalo.  The PIC claims Sekunjalo owes it more than R1bn in loan repayments.  Furthermore, the PIC is attempting to recoup R4.3bn it invested in Sekunjalo's listed sister company AYO Technology Solutions.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • How the Government Employees Pension Fund works, at BusinessLive


HIGHER EDUCATION / PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

State waives bureaucratic hurdle to ensure public nursing colleges can teach in the new year

BL Premium reports that the government has temporarily waived one of the multiple bureaucratic hurdles facing public nursing colleges, which need approval from several agencies before they can begin training nurses on SA’s new qualifications, which kick in from January.  Without the necessary approvals, the colleges will not be able to take in any new students as they are prohibited from continuing with the old qualifications after the end of 2019.  With time running out to recruit new students, players in the sector fear the 2020 intake hangs in the balance, with potentially devastating implications.  Health minister Zweli Mkhize and higher education, science and technology minister Blade Nzimande announced on Thursday that they had agreed that SA’s 10 public nursing colleges, which provide the lion’s share of nursing education, can begin offering the new qualifications in January, pending their registration as institutions of higher education.  The development offers the colleges relief from a requirement for switching to the new qualifications, but like all nursing education institutions they also require accreditation from three other agencies — the SA Nursing Council, the Council for Higher Education, and the SA Qualifications Authority — before they can switch to the new qualifications.  At this stage, none of the public colleges have been accredited by the SA Nursing Council, which indicated that a list of accredited public nursing colleges would be published by mid-November.

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


RECRUITMENT

After two arrested for corruption, police emphasise that 'no payment required' in recruitment drive

News24 reports that Gauteng police said on Saturday after two people were arrested last week on corruption charges that no payment was required at any stage of the police's recruitment application process.  A nationwide recruitment process is underway to attract police trainees between the ages of 18 and 30 for the 2019/2020 basic police development programme intake.  Applications close on 31 October.  Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said provincial management was concerned by acts corruption that have cropped up during the drive.  A Florida constable was arrested last Monday when he was caught selling application forms to aspirant trainees at R3,000 per application.  Two days later, the anti-corruption investigating unit arrested a 25-year-old man from Soweto after management at the provincial head office was made aware of an applicant who came into the police offices and offered, voluntarily, to pay R3,000 in exchange for securing a spot on the list of successful applicants.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tammy Petersen at News24


DISPUTES

CCMA rules in favour of Bloomberg in alleged ‘unfair warnings’ case brought by journalist Sam Mkokeli

News24 reports that the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has found that news agency Bloomberg did not commit unfair labour practices in a case involving senior journalist Sam Mkokeli.  He took Bloomberg to the CCMA after a series of warnings which he alleged were unfair.  In December 2018, Bloomberg initiated disciplinary proceedings against the journalist, saying he had violated its social media policy and subsequently issued a written warning.  The warning related to a tweet by Mkokeli on Telecommunications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.  That same month, the company issued Mkokeli with a final written warning for a retweet relating to the ANC's Pule Mabe.  The CCMA commissioner said:  "The (company’s) social media policy is clear.  It requires all journalists to be responsible for the content of all publications.  It requires journalists, when in doubt, [to] ask questions and tweet later."  He added: "With regard to the tweet concerning the minister of telecommunications, it is common cause that the tweet appeared before Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams was appointed as a minister.  This is a violation of the requirement that all news should break first on the Bloomberg terminal and not on social media.”  The Mabe tweet, the commissioner said, was also a breach of the social media policy.  He concluded that the written warning and final written warning were fair and that Bloomberg had not committed an unfair labour practice.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Azarrah Karrim at News24


DISMISSALS / RESIGNATIONS

PIC presses for early solution to brawl between Old Mutual and axed CEO Peter Moyo

Sunday Times Business Times reports that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), as a major shareholder in Old Mutual, has taken a keen interest in the fracas between former CEO Peter Moyo and the company.  PIC chair Reuel Khoza said last week:  "We could not sit back as a major shareholder and not take accountability where our investee company is concerned."  He added there had been "communication at executive level on several occasions, but at board level I have personally taken the trouble to talk to Moyo and his lawyers and get to understand what their stance is in terms of how best to resolve this situation".  He said he was given a commitment that they would prefer to settle out of court, but they had had to go to court because they felt they were "not adequately listened to".  They were amenable to settling the dispute amicably long before the November court date.  The PIC wrote to Trevor Manuel, Old Mutual chair, to request that the matter be addressed urgently.  This was followed by a meeting at the PIC offices.  Khoza said the exchange of a number of letters and the meetings the PIC had had with Old Mutual were at this stage "perhaps good enough", but if nothing happens "we might have to perhaps seriously consider the next step, and that next step cannot be announced through the media".

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

Another blow for Old Mutual leadership as Personal Finance head Karabo Morule resigns

Fin24 reports that Old Mutual Personal Finance Managing Director Karabo Morule has stepped down, citing personal reasons.  In a statement on Friday evening, Old Mutual announced that although the resignation was effective from 18 October, she would remain in her role for three months to assist with the transition to an internal successor.  The insurer said it was "confident that its leadership bench strength" would yield a suitable successor.  Acting CEO Iain Williamson expressed appreciation for Morule's contribution to the company since she joined in 2010.  Old Mutual has been rocked by a series of leadership shocks in recent months.  Amid a drawn-out court battle with axed CEO Peter Moyo, the firm also saw the recent resignation of director Nombulelo Pinky Moholi.

Read the original of the above report at Fin24

Nomgcobo Jiba loses first round in battle for reinstatement at NPA

BL Premium reports that former prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba has lost the first round of her court battle to be reinstated to her position pending the Parliamentary process that will either confirm or overturn her removal.  President Cyril Ramaphosa fired her from her position as deputy national director of public prosecutions on the recommendation of the Justice Yvonne Mokgoro inquiry into her fitness to hold office.  She was fired together with special director of public prosecutions advocate Lawrence Mrwebi.  The ruling means that Jiba will not receive a salary from the NPA while she fights to convince Parliament that she should be restored to her position, and also fights her dismissal by Ramaphosa in a more wide-ranging challenge to the Mokgoro inquiry itself.  Jiba’s lawyers had argued that the immediate cutting of her salary and benefits after she was fired by Ramaphosa in April this year was unconstitutional and unfair.  This, they said, was because she could only be removed after Parliament considered Ramaphosa’s reasons for firing her, and heard her response to them.  The Cape High Court ruled on Friday that Jiba had failed to show that she has a clear case not to be removed by the president prior to the conclusion of a parliamentary process.  The only way Jiba could be restored to her position, the court said, was if Parliament determined that she should be restored.  Until that happened, her status was that she had been removed from her post and was therefore not entitled to any benefits.

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


ANTI-CORRUPTION

Draft regulations for lifestyle audits in the pipeline, public service and administration minister vows

BusinessLIve reports that the Department of Public Service and Administration is finalising draft regulations for the conduct of lifestyle audits of government employees.  This was indicated by public service and administration minister Senzo Mchunu on Thursday.  He said the lifestyle audits would apply across government from cabinet ministers to local government employees.  They would also extend to senior executives of state-owned enterprises and elected political representatives.  Lifestyle audits allow investigators to establish whether a person is living within his or her means.  There has been a strong demand for lifestyle audits in government as one way of rooting out corruption.  “Draft regulations have been prepared for public comment. It is coming and it is desirable.  We want to do it as soon as possible — to begin with this in far less than six months,” Mchunu said.  A departmental organogram to be finalised in a week’s time will provide for a specialised ethics and disciplinary technical assistance unit to assist departments to conduct lifestyle audits and where required refer matters to the relevant law enforcement authority.  Mchunu also said the revision of the ministerial handbook, which has taken several years, was now complete and was with President Cyril Ramaphosa.  The handbook details the perks and privileges allowed to ministers and deputy ministers.

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


SEXUAL ABUSE

Probe by Bishops Diocesan College into teacher sex claims begins as more details emerge

News24 reports that a probe by Bishops Diocesan College into serious misconduct allegations against a former female teacher got under way on Friday, with the principal having been interviewed by the appointed attorney and senior advocate.  The top boys' school in Rondebosch, Cape Town, is investigating allegations against history teacher and water polo coach Fiona Viotti regarding a reported sexual relationship with an 18-year-old matric pupil.  The pupil had reportedly tried to break off the relationship, but Viotti apparently refused to agree to terminate it.  Three more pupils 'may have been affected'.  Alleged victims and staff have still to be interviewed.  A source described social media gossip that up to 40 boys were affected as "absolute rubbish".  Currently, no crime is under investigation.  Viotti resigned when the allegations came to light.  She has hired top lawyer William Booth, who indicated that she had not been through a disciplinary procedure before she resigned.  On Friday, a meeting of Founders House was called by Viotti's father, teacher and coach, Dave Mallet, and the headmaster to clarify a letter sent to parents by Mallet earlier in the week.  In the letter, Mallett thanked people for the messages of support received in the wake of the "devastating events" and said he had spoken to the boys at Founders House, the boarding school section he heads, and asked them to adopt a "business as usual" approach around him.  During the meeting, Mallet reportedly said he did not condone his daughter's actions.

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


Mpumalanga teacher accused of sexually assaulting eight pupils granted bail

News24 reports that a Mpumalanga teacher accused of sexually assaulting eight Grade 7 pupils has appeared in court and has been released on bail.  The man, 56, allegedly targeted seven boys and a girl from March to September this year at a school he taught at in the Tonga region, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi reported on Thursday.  "He would allegedly call them over to his desk during class, show them pornographic videos as well as images and lure them individually to a storeroom to commit his evil deeds," he indicated.  The man was arrested on Wednesday and appeared in the Tonga Magistrate's Court on Thursday, where he was granted R2,000 bail.  He is expected back in court on 20 January.  Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma condemned the teacher for preying on children he was meant to mentor, support and care for.

Read the original of the above report by Jenna Etheridge at News24


OTHER REPORTS

  • Few signs of building and construction sector crisis abating, at Moneyweb
  • Calls to drop inflation targeting, loosen rates are inconsistent with policy, says Mboweni, at BusinessLive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page