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
Tuesday, 3 December 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Crowd turns on firefighters battling blaze in Tafelsig, allegedly for arriving late

Cape Times reports that firefighters trying to extinguish a blaze in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, on Sunday night were met by a hostile crowd, which allegedly verbally abused and intimidated them.  City Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said the team responded to reports of a house and four informal structures burning in Megan Street.  “The first arriving fire crew were confronted by an extremely hostile crowd.  The army and SAPS, who were already on the scene, left the area as firefighters battled the fire.  Residents were swearing and banging on cars,” Carelse indicated.  Ward councillor Washiela Harris said that according to residents firefighters arrived late at the scene, but “residents assisted them in extinguishing the fire.  The residents are not aware of any hostile behaviour displayed during the extinguishing of the fire.”  The fire was extinguished by 11pm.  No injuries were reported and the cause of the blaze is unknown.  No foul play is suspected.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Odwa Mkentane at Cape Times

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Brave Westville cop takes on robbers in daring shoot-out, at Daily News
  • Five killed, cop among nine injured in Centurion mass shootings, at TimesLIVE


PROTESTS / MARCHES

Guards at Ga-Rankuwa, Hammanskraal industrial parks resume work after late payments addressed

Pretoria News reports that the security officers at industrial parks in Ga-Rankuwa and Hammanskraal who downed tools last month have resumed work after receiving some of their payments.  The guards, stationed at Babelegi as well as Ga-Rankuwa industrial parks, went on a strike following months of delays in salary payments.  The North West Development Corporation (NWDC), which owns the industrial parks, struggled to make payment to the company contracted to provide security services.  Subsequently, the guards were furious and blamed the security company.  They took their grievance to NWDC’s offices in Ga-Rankuwa last week.  They blocked the gate to ensure that nobody could work and demanded that the situation be attended to without delay.  The decision to block the company’s gate affected work in the offices of the SA Social Service Agency (Sassa), a tenant in the same building.  The guards were eventually paid and have since returned to work.  A meeting has been scheduled for Friday to further discuss the matter as the guards want to know when and if they will be paid their overtime, public holidays and other money owed to them.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by James Mahlokwane at Pretoria News


MINING LABOUR

Menar’s R7bn investments in coal projects to add 5,600 jobs by 2022

Mining Weekly reports that according to Menar MD Vuslat Bayoğlu, his company’s planned R7-billion investments in coal projects between now and 2022 will create 5,600 jobs, thus contributing to the needs of a range of job-short areas.  The investments will also help to ensure that Eskom has options to buy the right coal at the right price.  “Currently, we employ 3 800 people.  So, in total, hopefully, by the end of 2022, we’ll have reached 9,400 people,” Bayoğlu indicated.  He regards the investments as critical at a time when banks are not providing capital for coal mining, even though Eskom will be needing coal.  Menar expects to be producing 20-million tons of coal a year from 2021/22 and is prepared to offer Eskom all the coal it produces.  “It’s critical to have coal mines because by 2030, according to the Integrated Resource Plan, Eskom will still have 33 000 MW of coal-fired power capacity, requiring about 100-million tons to 110-million tons of coal, ” Bayoğlu pointed out.  The company emphasises that social and labour plans, and opportunities for communities, will accompany all the projects.  Menar is a hands-on investment company that controls and manages Canyon Coal, Zululand Anthracite Colliery, Kangra Coal and Sitatunga Resources.  Menar’s strategy is to focus on developing all its coal projects before diversifying into minerals and metals other than coal.

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

Wescoal successfully relocates eight families living within blasting radius to new houses in eMalahleni

Mining Weekly reports that coal miner Wescoal has successfully relocated eight families living within blasting radius at its Khanyisa colliery, in Mpumalanga.  The group this week handed over the title deeds for eight newly-built modern homes in Klarinet, a housing development in eMalahleni.  Once the affected community members had agreed to the relocation, Wescoal arranged and paid the housing developers at Klarinet to provide eight homes at just under R500,000 each, Wescoal group CEO Reginald Demana indicated.  The company also financed the relocation costs for the family’s furniture and goods and will provide each family with R800 a month towards rates, taxes and electricity for the first year.  The initiative formed part of practical steps taken by the company to implement its vision as a material contributor to uplifting its employees and communities, Demana indicated.  The relocation project is part of the company’s sustainability pillar of ensuring regulatory and social licences to operate in communities and share the tangible benefits of mining.

Read the original of the above report at Mining Weekly

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Sibanye-Stillwater recognised by Rand Water for water conservation, at Mining Weekly
  • Bid to protect West Coast jewel from mining, at TimesLIVE


STATE WAGE BILL

Deputy Finance Minister announces plan to freeze public sector wages in order to rein in state spending

Business Report writes that Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo said on Monday that the government was planning to freeze wages across its operations to curb its escalating expenditure.  Masondo told an investor conference in Cape Town that the government was left with very little room to manoeuvre to meet its R1.2 billion weekly spend, as revenue collection had all but plateaued due to the macroeconomic conditions in the country.  He said the government was working on a co-ordinated plan to reduce its debt and pointed out that fiscal consolidation and the public sector wage bill would be the hallmarks of next year’s much-anticipated budget.  “We are working as we speak with our social and political partners to achieve savings in the wage bill, and we also have to look at wage freezes, starting with the public office bearers, top managers, executives at all levels of the state, if we are to seriously tackle our looming fiscal crisis,” Masondo said.  The February 2020 budget will be decisive for SA’s depressed economy, as downside risks to the country’s investment-grade credit rating remain significant.  Masondo said the government would not be able to raise taxes further in such a depressed economic environment.  Cutting the public wage bill was the most practical way to address expenditure costs, he stated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Siphelele Dludla at Business Report


LABOUR AND POLITICS

ANC is not an employment agency, says former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede

Independent News reports that former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede has dismissed reports that she wants to come back as mayor after the 2021 local government elections.  According to the reports, Gumede, who is one of the frontrunners to chair the eThekwini ANC region when it holds its elective conference early next year, is expected to mount a challenge to be nominated as the city's mayor for a second time.  In a statement, Gumede, who was ousted as the metro’s mayor in August this year, said the reports were baseless and misleading and they undermined the work of the ANC and its deployment policy.  She said regional conferences of the ANC were not about the metro’s mayoral chains, deployments and employment opportunities, but they were about the ANC leading society.  “The upcoming conference is not the first or the last conference of the ANC.  It is not a do or die as it is reported.  It will be a political school, a festival of ideas and gathering of revolutionaries whose keen interest will be seeing a united and people’s centered movement.  The conference must not be reduced into a career contest or job interview.  The ANC is not an employment agency,” Gumede pointed out.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Tshwane senior officials hell-bent on serving political parties, says acting city manager Moeketsi Ntsimane, at Pretoria News


FAKE QUALIFICATIONS

Forty-three bogus doctors found illegally practising in SA this year alone

The Star reports that an astonishing 43 bogus doctors were discovered this year alone to have been illegally practising in SA.  Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana said the majority of the bogus doctors had been found in the Western Cape and Gauteng.  There had been over 400 complaints against bogus doctors since the beginning of the year.  “We’re not just shutting down illegal practices - those who may be doctors but not registered - we’re also closing down practices of people who masquerade as health-care professionals,” Sekhonyana indicated.  According to her, there have been successful convictions, although the data was inconclusive about how many people had been sent to jail.  Such doctors pose a risk to patients as they may give incorrect diagnoses, prescriptions and surgical procedures.  If something goes wrong with a patient, the HPCSA will have no jurisdiction to discipline the unregistered doctors.  But, the HPCSA has established an Inspectorate Office to deal with the issue of illegal practice by unregistered persons.  It is working with law enforcement, the National Prosecuting Authority, other regulatory bodies and the public to identify bogus practitioners.  The HPCSA also conducts awareness campaigns to educate members of the public to identify and report unregistered persons.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lehlohonolo Mashigo at The Star


NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

Written public submissions on NHI Bill to get attention early in 2020

BusinessLive reports that Parliament’s portfolio committee on health will only consider how to manage the vast volume of written submissions it has received in response to the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill in February.  At issue is whether MPs will scrutinise each of the hundreds of thousands of submissions themselves or outsource some of the work to a third party.  Parliament’s rules are silent on the issue.  Chairperson Sibongiseni Dhlomo said he did not know precisely how many written submissions on the NHI bill had been received by the 29 November deadline, but parliament indicated on 23 October that it had already received more than 100,000 written submissions.  The DA said last week it had collected another 87,000 submissions.  The bill is the first piece of enabling legislation for the government’s plans for implementing universal health coverage, which aims to ensure that all eligible patients have access to health services that are free at the point of care.  In a parallel process, the portfolio committee is holding provincial public hearings and has already toured Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape.  Dhlomo said the committee planned to complete its public hearings in the remaining four provinces early in 2020, finishing up in the Western Cape.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tamar Kahn at BusinessLive


DISCRIMINATION

SAHRC probing allegations of religious discrimination in Limpopo premier's office against ZCC members

News24 reports that the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in Limpopo is investigating staff in the Limpopo premier's office following allegations of religious discrimination.  The investigation will focus on alleged statements and actions by Nana Manamela, who is the deputy director-general in charge of corporate management services in the office of the premier.  Manamela allegedly discriminated against some staff members for belonging to the Zion Christian Church (ZCC).  She also allegedly told other staff members that she did not want "members of the ZCC in the office".  The ZCC is one of the dominant churches in the province.  The SAHRC had previously launched an investigation into the allegations, but it was abandoned after alleged interference by the director-general, Nape Nchabeleng.  However, the SAHRC investigation was relaunched after an outcry from the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu).  Acting provincial spokesperson Mamogo Ntuli confirmed that the SAHRC investigation was under way.  She said the office of the premier would co-operate with the SAHRC in its investigation.  Manamela has denied that she ever expressed displeasure with staff who are members of the ZCC.  "I'm going to cooperate with the investigation.  The truth shall set me free," Manamela said.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Russel Molefe at News24


SEXUAL MISCONDUCT / ABUSE

Defence Minister appoints external task team to investigate sexual assault cases in SANDF

Cape Argus reports that Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has set up an external task team to probe allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).  She motivated this by saying she could not trust the military to investigate itself.  Speaking as she introduced the four-member ministerial task team on sexual exploitation and abuse to the Military Command Council at the SANDF headquarters, the minister said:  “I have absolute confidence in the structures of the SANDF, but with regards to handling this particular issue, my confidence is very limited.  The Defence Force is a close-knit community which is able to rally around and close itself into a shell.  I think it's about time the Defence Force opened itself up to scrutiny in order to self-correct.  This is not a security matter that must be dealt with behind closed doors.  It’s a matter of criminality, power relations, abuse of individuals.”  A report leaked to the media showed that only 13 of about 41 cases of sexual exploitation and abuse reported in the SANDF were completed.  Mapisa-Nqakula said the task team would investigate cases dating to 2014 and that in executing its mandate, the task team would take steps to determine what measures were in place to protect and support victims from the moment a matter was reported until its finalisation.  One of the first tasks of the team would be to establish a hotline to operate for the duration of the team’s mandate.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mwangi Githahu at Cape Argus. Read too, Minister’s task team to probe sexual harassment in military, at The Citizen

Bishops sex scandal teacher still under medical care and “also has rights”

News24 reports that the former Bishops Diocesan College teacher accused of sexual misconduct is still under medical care, her lawyer said after the school released a statement on Monday on the findings of its investigation.  Attorney William Booth said of the former teacher and sports coach that she was not at a clinic, but was receiving outpatient treatment.  He said that despite two requests, the school had not sent him the statement it had released on Monday morning, with sight of it only coming after journalists had sent it to him.  Earlier on Monday, school principal Guy Pearson said in the statement that an investigation by private lawyers had found that teacher Fiona Viotti was found to have engaged in sexual misconduct with at least five male pupils.  However, she will not be disciplined because she has resigned.  Booth refused a request for Viotti to attend an interview with the investigators and she was also not prepared to give written comments on the merits of the matter.  Booth explained that this was because Viotti was under medical care and "very emotional" at the time and also because the school could not guarantee that anything Viotti told them would be kept private, and not released to the public.  He commented:  "She wasn't in a state to be interviewed.  She also has rights.”  He noted that the investigation was "not an inquiry" and that Viotti had the right to remain silent.  Viotti also faces an investigation by the SA Council of Educators.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jenni Evans at News24

Police not investigating, but SA Council for Educators to question ex-Bishops teacher who 'sexually engaged' pupils

Cape Times reports that police are not investigating sexual abuse allegations against former Bishops Diocesan College teacher Fiona Viotti, despite the school’s independent investigation having found that she sexually engaged with at least five pupils.  Viotti, 30, was employed as a water polo coach and history teacher at the Rondebosch private school for six years.  She resigned on 11 October, the day the allegations emerged.  In a statement on Monday, the school said the investigation concluded that Viotti’s actions were not only in breach of the Bishops Code of Professional Conduct for Teaching Staff, but the Code of Professional Ethics issued by the SA Council of Educators (Sace).  However, because she had resigned from the school, no disciplinary action could be taken against her.  A police spokesperson said after consulting with Rondebosch police it was confirmed that no case had been opened against Viotti.  Sace spokesperson Themba Ndhlovu said they were investigating the allegations and would soon interview Viotti.  “Sace as the only regulatory body has the mandate to investigate this matter even if the said person decided to resign from employment, because she is still a registered member and therefore still subjected to the Code of Professional Ethics.  While not attempting to prejudge the case, more often persons found guilty of such offences are struck off the roll indefinitely,” Ndhlovu indicated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Okuhle Hlati at Cape Times


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND ARTICLES

  • No realistic prospect that Group Five’s construction company will recover through business rescue process, at Fin24
  • SAA unable to publish financial results until it receives clarity from government about bailout, at Moneyweb
  • South Africa’s GDP contracted 0.6% in third quarter, at Engineering News
  • SA petrol price to rise by 22 cents, retail paraffin cost to dip 24 cents effective Wednesday, at Engineering News
  • Bid to have former SAA director Dudu Myeni declared a delinquent director will go on, at BusinessLive
  • School principal gets hugs, tears and impromptu brass band farewell after 38 years, at TimesLIVE
  • Outrage over return of ‘abusive principal’ at school for physically disabled children, at City Press

 


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