news shutterstockIn our afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Wednesday, 23 October 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

IFP urges harsher prison sentences for criminals who attack police officers

The Citizen reports that following the shooting of a police sergeant attached to the Durban Harbour and the subsequent theft of his firearm, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has called for tougher sentences on perpetrators who attack police officers.  Calling the attack “sickening” and “utterly appalling”, the IFP’s provincial spokesperson on community safety Blessed Gwala said:  “The IFP says criminals who attack the police should be jailed with ‘no ifs or buts’.  If you attack a police officer, you need to know you will go to prison; no ifs, no buts.  I’m sure the public [feels] exactly the same.  How have we come to a point as a society to the fact where we almost accept this every day?”  He went on to add:  “Attacks on police officers are increasing because criminals are no longer scared of the police.  The attack is a symptom of people having less fear of the law.”  In addition to the call for harsher sentences for criminals who attack officers, the party called for the fight against the proliferation of illegal arms to be heightened in an effort to “remove the tools of crime from these criminals”.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at The Citizen

Unisa's Sunnyside campus closed on Tuesday due to Nehawu strike over building safety issues

ANA reports that the University of South Africa (Unisa) on Tuesday announced that its Sunnyside campus in Pretoria was not accessible as a result of protest action by members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu).  Unisa spokesperson Martin Ramotshela said the protest action emanated from issues raised by Nehawu and its members with regard to what they claimed were buildings that were not compliant with occupational, health and safety standards and therefore not conducive for employees to work in.  Ramotshela indicated:  "The university is currently in talks with the leadership of Nehawu about this matter, with a view to finding an amicable solution, bringing the protest action to an end, as well as ensuring that the Sunnyside Campus is re-opened for business as speedily as possible.  The discussions will also involve progress with the maintenance plan for all Unisa buildings that the university has already presented to organised labour and other stakeholders."

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

Department of Employment and Labour to host iron, steel indaba

ANA reports that Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) said on Wednesday that it would this week be hosting an iron and steel forum in Durban to reflect on the progress made since the signing of an accord on occupational health and safety in 2013.  In a statement, it said the meeting would be to focus on regulations and programmes for the automotive and manufacturing sectors, to discuss safety in the iron and steel sector and to examine global strategies for the reduction of adverse incidents.  Officials indicated that statistics collected by the department through the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation Fund, as well as inspections as conducted, revealed that the iron and steel sector still recorded high numbers of fatalities, injuries and diseases.  The conference will bring together occupational health and safety inspectors and industry specialists to develop strategies on preventing such incidents.

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


PRICES / TARIFFS

Consumer inflation slows to 4.1% in September from 4.3% in August

BusinessLive reports that consumer inflation moderated to an annualised 4.1% in September, surprising analysts, and boosting the expectation that SA’s embattled consumers might get another interest rate cut in 2019.  Inflation, as measured by the annual change in the consumer price index (CPI), decelerated from 4.3% in August.  The past three inflation readings have fallen below the 4.5% midpoint of the SA Reserve Bank’s 3%-6% target band.  Food prices increased by 3.7% in September, slightly lower than the 3.8% in August.  The costs of bread and cereals rose by 8.5%.  Electricity was 11.8% more expensive, while wine costs rose by 10.2% year-on-year.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Odwa Mjo at BusinessLive. Read too, September inflation cools to 4.1%, but bread, electricity show large rises, at Fin24. And also, Core inflation rate declines to lowest since 2011, at Moneyweb


EMPLOYMENT / JOB CREATION

Employment and Labour Minister urges South Africans not to ‘give up’ amid unemployment crisis

Engineering News reports that with SA’s unemployment level at nearly 30% – and youth employment at nearly 50% – Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) Minister Thulas Nxesi has encouraged the country to “not give up hope”.  Speaking this week, the Minister said that, while SA might see itself as being “in crisis”, there was hope that conditions could improve.  He referred to engagements between President Cyril Ramaphosa and members of government on a number of initiatives, which Nxesi said were directed at increasing investment into the country, and growing employment opportunities.  Nxesi also mentioned that the DEL was actively working to support the Presidential youth employment interventions, which had prioritised a comprehensive set of interventions to create at least two-million new jobs for young people within the next decade.  The DEL has adopted measures to address barriers preventing the youth from being employed.  These barriers include a lack of work experience and the DEL wants to abolish work experience as a requirement for entry-level posts in the public service sector.  It will also adopt the Youth Employment Services initiative.  The DEL is set to announce measures to scale up these interventions shortly.

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


BUSINESS RESCUE

Sale of Group Five subsidiary saves some 500 jobs

Moneyweb reports that about 500 jobs have been saved by the sale of Group Five Projects – a subsidiary of Group Five Construction, which is in business rescue – to the Mauritian-based Teichmann Group.  Peter van den Steen and Dave Lake, Group Five’s business rescue practitioners (BRPs), announced the disposal on Monday and indicated about 500 jobs would be transferred to the new owners and saved.  They said these employees were mainly African-based and comprised a combination of permanent employees and contractors.  “The new entity will be branded as T3 Projects.  The team’s track record in Africa has ensured the effective and efficient delivery of construction projects in the mining and industrial sectors across the continent, which will complement the Teichmann Group’s existing product offering,” the BRPs indicated.  Group Five Projects was one of 38 assets and properties identified for sale in Group Five Construction’s business rescue plan.  The BRPs declined to comment on the value of the disposal transaction.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Roy Cokayne at Moneyweb


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Public Protector fires COO, suspends four investigators in sweeping purge

News24 reports that Public Protector (PP) Busisiwe Mkhwebane has dismissed the institution's chief operating officer, Basani Baloyi, and has suspended four senior officials and investigators.  Baloyi will leave the Public Protector's employ at the end of this month.  Executive manager Pona Mogaladi, chief investigator Abongile Madiba, chief investigator Lesedi Sekele and senior investigator Tebogo Kekana have been suspended.  While it is unclear what investigations they were involved in, apparently at least one of them was involved in a complaint that EFF leader Julius Malema lodged against the Financial Services Conduct Authority.  That report is being reviewed in the High Court.  In a letter penned by the PP’s chief executive Vussy Mahlangu, Baloyi was deemed unsuitable for the position of chief operating officer on the basis of lacking the required skills and conduct.  Mahlangu indicated in the letter that the PP could not make Baloyi a permanent employee, adding that if she wished to appeal the decision, she should do so directly to Mkhwebane.  Baloyi will not be required to work for the rest of the month but must be available if needed.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kyle Cowan, Azarrah Karrim and Pieter du Toit at News24


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Three nurses fired for turning away pregnant woman who then gave birth outside clinic

SowetanLive reports that three nurses accused of turning away a heavily pregnant woman who then gave birth at the entrance of a Mamelodi clinic have been fired.  The Gauteng department of health confirmed that the nurses pleaded guilty to charges of misconduct after they refused to attend to 46-year-old Elina Maseko at Mamelodi East's Stanza Bopape Clinic on 30 June.  Maseko gave birth outside the clinic in full view of passers-by.  But a spokesperson for Gauteng health MEC advised that the nurses had appealed their sanction of dismissal.  Maseko told Sowetan that she was feeling better that action had been taken against the nurses who humiliated her.  "This is a lesson to others so that what happened to me cannot be experienced by any other patient in future.  They deserve to be punished for their conduct simply because nurses are trusted with taking care of our lives when we are not feeling well."

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Thomo Nkgadima at SowetanLive


ANTI-CORRUPTION

DA decries delayed implementation of public service ethics laws

The Citizen reports that according to Democratic Alliance (DA) MPL and member of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Tim Brauteseth, government has in effect “openly admitted” that public service integrity and ethics laws that came into effect in 2014 had only been “operationalised” earlier this year.  Yet, a special government unit to ensure ethics, integrity and disciplinary committees, which should have been set up, apparently still do not exist.  The Act, signed into law in December 2014, includes specifically laid-out extensive plans to hold officials to account in terms of ethics, integrity and discipline, including prohibitions on doing business with the state.  During a recent plenary session of the NCOP, Mchunu reportedly admitted that it was only in April 2019 that Ramaphosa “operationalised” 13 sections of the Act, including section 15 that related to the establishment of a public administration ethics, integrity and disciplinary technical assistance unit.  The minister acknowledged that the existence of such a unit could have prevented many of the corrupt activities exposed at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.  Brauteseth said the DA in the NCOP found this state of affairs completely unacceptable.  He indicated that the minister had undertaken to meet with the relevant parties on Tuesday.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard on page 4 of The Citizen of 23 October 2019


WORKPLACE CRIME

Three years jail time for two corrupt Cape Town cops who took R1,000 bribe from drug dealer

TimesLIVE reports that two Cape Town police officers have been sentenced to three years in jail for accepting bribes from a drug dealer.  According to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila, Mitchells Plain policemen Sgt Ryan Hopkins and Cst Malibongwe Ndzendze were handed six-year sentences, of which three years were suspended, by the Bellville Specialised Crimes Court on Tuesday.  They were convicted on 29 May after a protracted trial.  It was revealed during the trial that the two arrived at the drug dealer's house in Mitchells Plain.  Moegamat Garrett was not at home, but his wife called him and told him the officers were searching the premises for drugs.  When Garrett got home, the two officers confronted him about drugs found in the back garden.  Garrett ended up paying the officers R1,000 each in exchange for his release.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Aron Hyman at TimesLIVE


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

More commuters walking to work because they can no longer afford taxis

Daily News writes that the dire economic situation in SA means fewer people are using public transport, which could be fuelling the taxi wars that have become part of the transport landscape.  This is said by to economist Professor Bonke Dumisa, speaking soon after the Land Transport Survey was released by Statistics SA on Monday.  The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) confirmed that it was facing issues of having fewer passengers.  The figures showed that 18.8% fewer commuters used road and rail transport in August, compared to the same month in 2018.  The research also showed while there had been over 119.3 million journeys by passengers in March to May this year, this had decreased by 4.6% to about 113.7 million journeys in the period from June to August.  Dumisa said the figures were not surprising and that unemployment and high fuel costs were playing a major role.  He noted that in tough economic conditions, people cut down on expenses wherever they could.  Santaco’s Sifiso Shangase commented that he had observed that people were now getting up very early and spent hours walking to work even if it was a few kilometres away, rather than catching taxis as that would eat into their budgets.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mphathi Nxumalo at Daily News

Cape Town police probe death of commuter allegedly shot by guard over train ticket

EWN reports that Cape Town police are investigating an incident at the Heideveld train station, where a commuter died after he was allegedly shot by a security guard during an altercation over tickets.  The incident occurred on Monday morning.  Police said a scuffle broke out between Prasa staff and a group of commuters who tried to flee because they didn’t have train tickets.  Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk indicated that two others were also wounded:  "A female security guard was transported to a nearby hospital for medical assistance.  The male commuter who injured his leg was also taken to hospital."

Read the original of the above report by Shamiela Fisher at EWN


OTHER REPORTS

Unpaid Bojanala Platinum District municipal workers allegedly assault DA councillor

ANA reports that a Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor suffered two broken fingers and rib injuries after he was allegedly beaten-up by striking municipal workers at Bojanala Platinum District Municipality in the North West.  The DA’s Leon Basson said Councillor Paultjie Hendriks was assaulted at a special council meeting on 16 October.  "When the DA asked for a break to caucus and tried to leave the council chambers, our councillor was physically attacked by the striking employees.  Councillor Hendriks was then assaulted, they broke two of his fingers, elbow and ribs.  He was further held hostage for three hours as they refused to let him go and refused to call an ambulance so he could receive medical attention," Basson indicated.  Some Bojanala workers have downed tool demanding to be paid their September salaries.  The municipality was able to pay salaries of workers on a low salary scale, but high earners have not been paid.  "Though the DA understands the frustration of officials who have not received their salaries due to the mismanagement of funds at the municipality, it is completely unacceptable for them to physically attack councillors," Basson noted.  The DA has laid criminal charges against the municipal workers for assault and kidnapping.

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

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page