news shutterstockIn our afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Tuesday, 29 October 2019.


TOP STORY - UNEMPLOYMENT

At 29.1%, unemployment continues climb to worst level in more than a decade

BusinessLive reports that SA’s unemployment rate continued its climb to the highest levels in over a decade, data from Statistics SA showed on Tuesday.  The rate increased 0.1 of a percentage point to 29.1% during the third quarter of 2019, statistician-general Risenga Maluleke reported.  “This is the highest since the first quarter of 2008,” he indicated.  The expanded unemployment rate, which included discouraged job seekers, was 38.5%.  Declines in employment in the third quarter were recorded in the manufacturing sector, which shed 30,000 jobs, followed by construction at 24,000, trade 21,000 and utilities 18,000.  Employment increased in three sectors, with the formal sector recording the largest employment increase of 43,000 jobs, followed by agriculture (38,000) and private households (35,000).  The working-age population (15 to 64 years old) rose by 149,000 to 38.6-million in the third quarter.  Of that 38.6m, the labour force unaccounted for 23.1m, with the number of the employed increasing by 62,000 to 16.4m.  The unemployed accounted for 6.7m and the economically inactive accounted for 15.5m.  The number of employed people increased by 62,000 to 16.4m during the period under review.  The increase of 62,000 jobs in the third quarter was mainly driven by community and social services with 56,000 jobs, followed by agriculture and mining with 38,000 each and private households with 35,000.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Luyolo Mkentane at BusinessLive. Read too, Unemployment hits highest level in more than 11 years, at Fin24


ESKOM RESTRUCTURING

Splitting up of Eskom to go ahead, with transmission company to be established by 2021

BL Premium reports that the government will forge ahead with splitting up Eskom, leading with the establishment of a separate legal transmission company by 2021, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan indicated on Tuesday.  He was presenting the road map for Eskom’s future — the long-term plan and the business strategy that will accompany the large bailout for the company that is expected to be announced in Wednesday’s medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS).  The separation of the transmission entity from Eskom’s generation division is key to the introduction of a competitive energy market.  The “functional” separation of transmission is already under way and by 2021 it is intended to become a legal subsidiary of Eskom.  The entity will have its own board to drive the separation process.  Into it will fall the transmission infrastructure and the systems operator, which manages supply and demand and balances the system.  Trade unions have voiced their opposition to the unbundling process, arguing that it will create additional layers of management and board supervision and be expensive while failing to solve Eskom’s operational problems.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Monday that it planned to march on the ANC’s headquarters to put a stop to the Eskom restructuring.  Gordhan said that the government had “been in touch with unions on and off”.  All labour unions were important stakeholders and the government wanted to work with them, he stated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at BusinessLive (paywall access only). Read too, Eskom stations to be clustered into ‘competing’ units, as timeframe is set for transmission separation, at Mining Weekly


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Ipid queries whether off-duty cops should be allowed to take their weapons home

The Citizen reports that the question of whether off-duty police officers should be allowed to take weapons home has been raised following concerns raised by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).  The unit recently expressed its concern after a murder case was opened against a police officer in KwaZulu-Natal.  This prompted a gun control advocacy group to suggest the police had not conducted enough research into the circumstances surrounding the increasing incidences of death and gun violence involving off-duty police officers.  Gun Free SA spokesperson Adele Kirsten said more data was needed to investigate the correlation between the possession of guns by off-duty officers and murders either committed by officers, or their deaths.  Kirsten indicated that they had engaged with trade unions on the issue reported further that:  “The unions will tell you that police officers are at higher risk of being targeted [by criminals] because they were known to be carrying weapons, but we do not have evidence of this.”  According to the last official statistics – from 2014 to 2015 – a third of all officers killed that year were off duty.  But, only by finding out what were the biggest causes behind deaths involving off-duty officers could it be decided whether off-duty officers should carry guns and why.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni on page 4 of The Citizen of 29 October 2019

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Cape Town cop injured, man killed during shootout near Muizenberg water slides, at News24
  • Waterval Boven protesters damage police station, injure commander, at TimesLIVE
  • Muizenberg shoot-out leaves cop wounded and alleged hijacker dead, at Cape Times


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

No major disruptions amid Nehawu strike, claims NSFAS

EWN reports that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) on Tuesday said it had contingency plans to minimise the impact of the strike by members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu).  Workers went on strike on Monday over performance bonuses and claims that employees were being victimised.  NSFAS management said no major disruptions were reported at its branches and the funding application process for the 2020 academic year was well on track.  The scheme's administrator Randall Carolissen indicated:  “Next week we will do all our final payments.  We are way ahead with preparations for 2020.”  But, the scheme did suspend its students' toll-free telephone line amid concerns of the dissemination of conflicting messages by disgruntled workers.  Nehawu said the strike would continue indefinitely.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Edwin Ntshidi at EWN. Read too, NSFAS suspends toll-free line over strike concerns, at EWN


MINING LABOUR

Numsa joins row over Samancor Chrome’s alleged offshore profit transfers to avoid tax

The Citizen reports that National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) members are frustrated over mining company Samancor Chrome dragging its feet in appointing an internal forensic investigation into fraud and profit shifting allegations.  Numsa called for an independent investigation into the Samancor Employee Share Ownership Programme, the Ndizani Trust, after it was implicated in illicit financial flow allegations made by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).  Amcu accused the company of transferring money to offshore accounts to avoid tax and it teamed up with human rights lawyer Richard Spoor to file a lawsuit against Samancor Chrome earlier this month.  Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Majola-Hlubi said their members were frustrated and disappointed in the company’s slow response to the serious allegations.  She said they had been requesting an investigation since February, but their requests to no avail.  Numsa was supposed to have held a meeting with Samancor to discuss the proposed investigation, but that did not take place.  Majola said the company’s failure to provide them with financial statements to see if members of the trust were paid fairly in the 2013 and 2018 payouts raised their concerns.  Samancor spokesperson Bridget von Holdt said the investigations were already underway, but Majola responded that they had not been made aware of that.  Amcu

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sinesipho Schrieber on page 5 of The Citizen of 29 October 2019

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Sasol's joint CEOs to step down following US project glitch, at Mining Weekly
  • Better regulation of relationship between mining investors, government possible, reckons Peter Leon, at Mioning Weekly
  • Sibanye Gold considers moving primary listing to New York from 2021, at Fin24


VACANCIES / RECRUITMENT

MEC slams decision to readvertise Western Cape top cop job

News24 reports that the Western Cape will remain without a police commissioner for the foreseeable future after national commissioner Khehla Sitole ordered that the advert for the vacancy be withdrawn and be re-advertised.  The vacancy had been advertised on 19 March 2019.  No reason was given for the withdrawal.  But, Major General Jeremy Vearey, the province's head of detectives and a favourite to take over as the provincial commissioner after the transfer of Khombinkosi Jula to KwaZulu-Natal, had lodged an official complaint with Sitole after he failed to make the shortlist for the job.  According to his letter, he apparently had not made the cut because he had not included proof of his qualifications, which he disputed.  Vearey is a former Umkhonto we Sizwe operative and ex-bodyguard of President Nelson Mandela.  In September, ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs slammed the decision to exclude Vearey from the shortlisted candidates, claiming there was a "third force" influencing the selection criteria.  Meantime, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said it was alarming that a process, which was followed in line with the Constitution and related legislation, was now being restarted.  He said the Western Cape could not afford to "wait a moment longer" for the appointment and that he would be urgently seeking advice on the legality of restarting the process.  

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tammy Petersen at News24. Read too, Vacancy for Western Cape top cop withdrawn, re-advertised, at Cape Argus


REMUNERATION / SALARY INCREASES

Government still owes R1.4bn in backpay to izinduna (headmen)

Independent News reports that Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has advised that government discussions on the payment of R1.4 billion owed to izinduna (headmen) have not yielded results.  The minister indicated this in a written response to a parliamentary question by IFP MP Inkosi Bhekizizwe Luthuli, who asked for a progress report on the matter.  In 2016, the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Office Bearers recommended that the annual salaries of izinduna be increased to R96,460, from R91,000.  Izinduna in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) were only paid R1,500 monthly stipends after they protested and threatened to disrupt municipal elections in 2016.  KZN complained in June 2018 to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) about footing the bill for salaries that were not funded by the national government.  In her response, Dlamini-Zuma said the KZN executive council determined that the provincial government should start remunerating izinduna in December 2016 in line with the 2014 Presidential proclamation.  She added that various engagements had taken place between the KZN provincial Treasury and Cogta, as well as with National Treasury, the Presidency and national Cogta.  Inkosi Sipho Mahlangu, chairperson of National House of Traditional Leaders, commented thus:  “For all other public office-bearers, there are no complaints about their payment, but when it comes to traditional leaders, you hear the issues of budget and shortage of money.  The government should just pay because if it does not, it is breaking the law.”

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


RETRENCHMENTS / SEVERANCE PAYMENTS

Former Ndalo Media employees to sue Khanyi Dhlomo for non-payment of severance packages

The Citizen reports that after months of non-payment by their former employer, Khanyi Dhlomo, the employees who previously worked for Ndalo Media have banded together to take legal action against the businesswoman in pursuit of the money owed them.  A statement to that effect was issued by the collective on Monday.  Ndalo Media, which used to own Destiny, Destiny Man, and Elle magazine, among others, shut its doors in January 2019 after allegedly digging itself into a financial hole.  Among the company’s many debts was R13-million owed to its printers.  Staff were not paid their November salaries on the 25th of that month and were instead paid their November salaries on 6 December.  Meantime, Legend Manqele of The Bar Group announced this past weekend that his company had acquired two of the defunct Ndalo publications, Destiny and Destiny Man.  A large number of Ndalo’s former employees then came forward to explain that they had not yet been paid the severance packages that Dhlomo had signed off on before blindsiding them by liquidating the company.  Additionally, a smaller contingent of employees claim to have been re-employed for two months under a new entity called Ndalo TME, but that attempt failed and they were allegedly not compensated for the two months of work they put in during that period.  Dhlomo is rumoured to have moved abroad.

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


RETIREMENT FUNDS / PENSION INVESTMENTS

Public Servants Association condemns further delay in finalising PIC inquiry

Fin24 reports that the Public Servants Association has called President Cyril Ramaphosa's decision to yet again extend the deadline for submission of a final report by the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) "unjustifiable".  The union wants the process to be expedited with urgency.  Last week, Ramaphosa agreed to extend the PIC commission of inquiry's deadline to submit a final report to 15 December 2019, after it was previously moved from 31 July 2019 to 31 October 2019.  The inquiry was established to investigate governance at the asset manager, after multiple scandals came to light in 2018.  In a statement on Monday, the PSA said the inquiry, chaired by Judge Lex Mpati, should have already provided its findings months ago and that the slow pace of judicial commissions of inquiry should not excuse a failure to treat the matter with urgency.  It added that continued delays in the commission would have a negative impact, not only on the economy, but on returns that could have been received if funds were recovered and invested.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Khulekani Magubane at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Early retirement is tempting, but can you afford it? at Moneyweb


NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

Traditional healers want their services and medications to be covered by NHI

The Citizen reports that it has emerged from public hearings undertaken by the portfolio committee on health to get input on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill that traditional leaders believe that their role in healthcare has been ignored.  They are of the view that they have been marginalised from the new dispensation, despite the fact that people are dying in hospitals.  The healers have pointed out that the Bill, which aims to achieve universal access to quality healthcare services, does not include their services.  Traditional healers in Mpumalanga expressed their concern to the committee during its visit to Thembisile Hani and Nkomazi local municipalities this past weekend.  Committee chairperson Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said the traditional healers suggested that for the Bill to be successful, it should be inclusive of all forms of treatment.  This should include indigenous medications as there were traditional communities that believed in using those.  The broader community warned against spending money on implementing the NHI at the expense of essential services like infrastructure, water and sanitation.  Dhlomo assured the people that all their views and questions would be thoroughly considered after the hearings, when the committee dealt with the Bill in Parliament.

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


CORRUPTION

Ex-Eskom financial manager accused of swindling R35m out of the power utility with false invoices

The Star writes that a R35-million fraud case against a former Eskom financial manager has highlighted the extent of the large-scale looting that took place at the embattled, financially-strained parastatal.  Victor Moraka was scheduled on Tuesday to make his second appearance at the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court on 53 fraud counts for allegedly siphoning off about R35m between 2016 and last year through the use of bogus invoices.  Moraka was the former financial controller responsible for primary energy at Eskom.  He has been in police custody since being arrested last week.  According to an investigative report, Moraka would submit invoices for payment to a particular company, claiming it had transported coal from Palesa Mine in Mpumalanga to Forfar or Clewer - coal industry towns in the same province.  But, the company in question had never transported the coal.  The alternate charges are theft, with investigators believing that Moraka “did unlawfully and intentionally steal” monies from the entity.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Khaya Koko at The Star


WORKPLACE CRIME

Four Honeydew cops accused of killing detainee in holding cell to apply for bail later this week

News24 reports that the case against four police officers accused of assaulting and killing a detainee has been postponed to later this week for a formal bail application.  The four, based at the Honeydew police station, allegedly assaulted two men who were detained in the holding cell on 20 October.  One of the men later died.  The officers, who were arrested on Friday, appeared in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Monday.  Their case was postponed to 30 October.  According to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the four constables continuously punched and kicked the two arrested males until the one dropped down whilst handcuffed.  "The fact that the deceased dropped down and started bleeding did not deter the constables from assaulting and kicking him further.  After the assaults, the suspects left the two men in the holding cell.  The surviving assault victim tried to alert the police as he noticed that the deceased was breathing abnormal, but they ignored the report,” Ipid indicated.  Bail will be opposed by the state.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ntwaagae Seleka at News24. Read too, Cops accused of killing suspect in holding cells denied bail, at The Star


OTHER REPORTS

Health MEC aims to provincialise Gauteng emergency services

The Citizen reports that Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku said his department was hoping to put Johannesburg emergency workers under the auspices of the provincial government by January next year.  This was indicated even as suspended firefighters working for Emergency Management Services (EMS) in the city were in the throes of a legal battle with their employer.  Firefighters claim their allegedly unprotected strike earlier this year was justified because they were being forced to break regulations and the law by attending to emergencies without supervisors and in poorly manned vehicles.  Masuku conducted ‘ride-alongs’ with provincial emergency workers at the weekend, after which he said he was “satisfied” with the resources and the quality of the services provided by the emergency personnel.  He said as far as provincial emergency workers were concerned, he had observed little to complain about.  But he added that he was aware of issues facing the City of Joburg and those as raised by the union and commented further that:  “I think the situation [in Joburg] pertains to a difference context altogether in terms of Gauteng EMS and it is for this reason we want to provincialise the EMS, so we are able to give them similar treatment and level of competency.”  But, the SA Municipal Workers’ Union suggested the issues facing emergency services personnel in the province were politically motivated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni on page 4 of The Citizen of 29 October 2019

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page