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, 14 January 2020.


MINING LABOUR

Employee killed at Harmony’s Tshepong mine in Welkom on Saturday

Business Report writes that Harmony Gold Mining announced on Monday that one of its employees had been fatality injured on Saturday morning, following a mud rush related incident at its Tshepong mine, in Welkom.  CEO Peter Steenkamp said the fatality was worrying.  “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague’s life and will continue making every effort to ensure a safe working place”, he commented.  Steenkamp indicated that Harmony had reported 11 fatalities in 2019 at the gold producer’s South African mines.  This had been despite the company’s focus on eliminating fatalities.  In the previous year, a total of 13 employees died at the company’s operations.   An investigation into the Tshepong accident is underway.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Dieneo Faku on page 12 of Business Report of 14 January 2020

General posting(s) relating to mining

  • Miners call for urgent action on power supply, economic crisis ahead of Business Economic Indaba, at Business Report


FARMING LABOUR

Labour department investigates illegal deductions at Mpumalanga farm

SowetanLive reports that there is renewed hope for Mpumalanga farmworkers who have been subjected to illegal deductions on their wages after the department of labour paid their employer a visit last week.  About 70 families who work for Cameron Boerdery in Leandra have been subjected to deductions on their pay slips, which have left their salaries low for years.  Their boss John Cameron, who owns the massive farm which is about 50km from Springs on the East Rand, deducts money from their salaries for questionable contributions.  When Sowetan visited the farm last month, workers highlighted pay slips reflecting deductions that cut their salaries by almost half.  Some of the workers are left with just R1,300 take-home pay.  Deductions include R300 a month for a "spotlight" that provides light to the farmhouse.  Last week, a team from the department of labour visited the farm and an inspection was conducted.  Makhosonke Mahlangu, an assistant to the provincial inspector, said the team has to receive reports relating to various pieces of legislative provisions covering, among other matters, the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the national minimum wage.  Local community activist William Mahlangu said the visit from the department had brought hope to the community and the workers.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Penwell Dlamini at SowetanLive


ESKOM CRISIS

Cosatu slams calls to move Eskom to energy department, saying it’s ‘political theatre'

Fin24 reports that amid calls for Eskom to be moved to the department of mineral resources and energy for oversight, Cosatu’s parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks pointed out that that would not solve the power crisis.  Over the weekend, the ANC Women's League (ANCWL) and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) separately voiced views that the power utility should be reconfigured to the energy department.  Eskom currently falls within the portfolio of the department of public enterprises, under the leadership of Pravin Gordhan.  ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini said:  "Energy must be consolidated.  It's the department of energy that has the programme and a full strategy that is going to be used over many years to ensure that we have enough electricity in the country.”  In a 17-page document containing views responding to the crisis at Eskom as well as load shedding, Numsa called for the president to axe Gordhan.  “We have no option but to strongly suggest that Eskom be under the leadership of the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Minister Gwede Mantashe, and be shifted away from public enterprises,” said Numsa’s Irvin Jim.  But Parks slammed these views as "political theatre" and opined that the debate being stirred by the parties was for "factional battles".  "It's all about getting rid of Pravin Gordhan and weakening the Cyril [Ramaphosa] faction," he claimed and added that moving Eskom from one department to another department was not going to solve the energy crisis.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lameez Omarjee at Fin24. Read too, Eskom ‘becoming a political football in succession debate’, at Independent News. And also, President Ramaphosa’s Gordhan headache, at Independent News


LABOUR MARKET / JOBS / RETRENCHMENTS

Massmart could shut 34 DionWired and Masscash stores, while Edcon to close Edgars store in Rosebank

Fin24 reports that Massmart has become the second SA retailer to announce possible store closures in 2020, a move that could affect up to 1,440 employees.  This comes just days after Edcon announced the closure of its Edgars store in Rosebank Mall, citing underperformance.  Massmart, which owns Game, DionWired and Makro among other brands, announced on Monday that it was consulting with its employees about the potential closure of 34 stores.  It said it has already begun talks under section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.  The announcement came three months after Mitchell Slape took over as Massmart's CEO in September with a brief to turn around the retailer.  The company indicated that it had recently conducted a store optimisation project that highlighted a number of underperforming stores in its portfolio.  The retailer, which has 23 DionWired stores in the SA region, already closed two outlets in the first half of 2019.  Massmart indicated on Monday it would advise shareholders about its progress on the store closures at a later stage, once the retrenchment process consultations were complete.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Londiwe Buthelezi at Fin24. Read too, Massmart’s possible downsizing was expected, at Moneyweb

Survey shows SA hiring outlook weakest in five years

Fin24 reports that SA’s hiring outlook for Q1 of 2020 is the weakest it has been in five years, according to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.  Small and micro enterprises will be the hardest hit, with only large employers expecting a steady increase in payrolls in the coming quarter.  Of 753 South African employers surveyed - across five regions and 10 sectors - the strongest labour market was anticipated in the Western Cape, where the employment outlook is +4%.  This is against an overall outlook of +2%, after adjustments to allow for seasonal variations.  Payroll prospects appear subdued, the survey found.  While 10% of employers forecast an increase in payrolls, 8% anticipated a decrease and another 1% were not sure.  A total of 81% expected to make no changes.  Opportunities for job seekers are expected to be strongest in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sectors, where the net employment outlook is +9%.  There are also some hiring opportunities in Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing, as well as Restaurants & Hotels.  Construction has taken a heavy blow, with a decline of 5 percentage points and its outlook is at -9%. Transport, Storage & Communications is similarly bleak with its outlook at -6%.  Public & Social sector employers reported the most noteworthy decline of 6 percentage points.  The news was slightly brighter for Wholesale & Retail Trade, where employers reported a quarter-on-quarter improvement of 4 percentage points.  However, outlooks declined in 7 out of 10 sectors compared to this time a year ago.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Fin24. Read too, Consumer confidence remains at two-year low, at Engineering News


BASIC EDUCATION / TEACHING

Work at last for Mpumalanga teacher after six years of mahala pay

SowetanLive reports that a Mpumalanga teacher who has raked in around R2m in salary payments while sitting at home is set to return to the classroom for the first time in six years.  Ndifelani Ligege, 42, was a teacher at Umlambo Combined School in Amsterdam before a big fallout with the school's principal and the school governing body (SGB) occurred after he reported a case of corruption.  He claims to have uncovered that his school was paying a ghost teacher.  This led to a lengthy stand-off which saw Ligege expelled from work in December 2014 for alleged poor performance.  He was reinstated in January 2015, but was not allowed to enter the school's premises by some of his former colleagues who were serving in the SGB.  Monday marked the beginning of his sixth year of earning a salary from department of education without lifting a finger.  Ligege, an English and life sciences teacher, is pinning his hopes on getting his job back through the Labour Court, but he has yet to secure a court date for his matter.  Ligege told Sowetan that he got wind of plans to place him in another school this week.  Mpumalanga education spokesperson Jasper Zwane confirmed that Ligege would be back in class, in a different school, this academic year.  "We can confirm that a process to find a school for the teacher in question is at an advanced stage.  Hopefully by Wednesday January 15 2020 it will be concluded," Zwane indicated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Isaac Mahlangu at SowetanLive


HIGHER EDUCATION / QUALIFICATIONS

Matriculants cautioned not to fall prey to 'bogus colleges' over pressure to sign up for tertiary education

ANA reports that an education expert has warned matriculants to not fall prey to “bogus colleges” just because they feel pressured to sign up for tertiary education.  According to Peter Kriel of the Independent Institute of Education, thousands of learners were in the unexpectedly happy position - due to the country's pass rate - of having received a bachelor’s pass, and therefore qualifying for further study.  “Those who didn’t make provision for this eventuality, may now find themselves in a situation where they no longer need to settle for their Plan B, but can in fact go for Plan A, realising their dreams of pursuing a degree, but with no place at university yet.”  Kriel warned that matriculants needed to take extra special care to ensure that they were signing up for the right qualification, for the right reason, at the right institution.  He pointed out that higher education minister Blade Nzimande had warned prospective students not to fall for bogus colleges “which can cost precious time and money with no return at the end - but to ensure that they sign up at a registered and accredited institution.”  Ensuring that an institution and its qualifications were above board by doing the relevant checks, was a crucial step before one even considered enrolling, Kriel cautioned.  Due diligence should under no circumstances be discarded.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Independent News. Read too, Qualification for access to higher education only the start, say experts, at City Press


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Court rules Old Mutual does not have to reinstate axed CEO Peter Moyo

TimesLIVE reports that the High Court ruled on Tuesday that Old Mutual does not have to reinstate its sacked chief executive Peter Moyo.  The insurer has been locked in a dispute with Moyo since it suspended him in May 2019 over an alleged conflict of interest.  He was fired the following month then temporarily reinstated by the courts in July in a ruling that also blocked the insurer from seeking a replacement.  The written judgement on Tuesday indicated that the interim order temporarily reinstating Moyo should not have been granted in the first place.  "The irreparable harm which Old Mutual... its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders stand to suffer if the interim interdict is allowed to stand, requires no imagination or elucidation," it noted.  Moyo said in a statement he was still studying the judgement.  His lawyer indicated he would be proceeding with a longer case against his dismissal, in which Moyo is seeking permanent reinstatement or damages.  Tuesday’s decision means Old Mutual will not be forced, for now, to work with a CEO whose reinstatement it has repeatedly said was "untenable".  A spokeswoman for Old Mutual said it was vindicated, and the board was now mandated to seek a new CEO.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Emma Rumnet at TimesLIVE

SA Tourism CEO returns after nine-month suspension, saying it was ‘unnecessary'

Fin24 reports that after about nine months on suspension, SA Tourism (SAT) CEO Sisa Ntshona says he has "mixed feelings of anger" as he heads back to his old office again next week.  It was reported at the beginning of April 2019 that Ntshona had been informed by the board of SAT that they were investigating allegations against him and that he would be placed on precautionary suspension.  It was never publicly announced what these allegations were.  Ntshona himself said he was only informed of their nature after some time.  The allegations had been received via SAT's anonymous tip-offs reporting mechanism and the board felt the precautionary suspension was necessary in order to enable it to conduct a free and fair investigation.  In mid-December, SAT announced that the investigation had cleared Ntshona of all charges and that he would return immediately.  “This set us back as a tourism sector and tarnished my reputation.  It was unnecessary, but now I to look ahead on the path and see how we can deliver to the country what we promise as SA Tourism," Ntshona commented on Monday.  His aim is to hit the ground running and spend time speaking to those involved in the tourism industry - both in the public en private sector.

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

KZN traffic officer suspended after CCTV footage of him stealing cellphone goes viral

The Mercury reports that a traffic officer who was caught on CCTV camera stealing a cellphone at a food outlet has been suspended.  The Department of Transport confirmed that the officer had been given a letter of suspension and the matter was pending an internal investigation.  A criminal case has also been instituted by police.  The officer is believed to be from the Public Transport Enforcement Unit (PTES – also known as Shanela).  The department head, Sibusiso Gumbi, said they had launched their own internal investigation and met with the establishment's management to verify the authenticity of the video before deciding on whether or not they would take tougher action against the officer, who was in full uniform at the time.  Gumbi said the department viewed the footage in a serious light as the alleged action by the traffic officer tarnished the image of the department and discredited the moral standing of enforcement authorities in public.  He said moving forward, more scrutiny will be given to the conduct of enforcement officers to ensure improved moral and ethical standard in their work and in public.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Se-Anne Rall at The Mercury

Ekurhuleni suspends senior official over ‘tender fraud’ involving millions of rands

TimesLIVE reports that the City of Ekurhuleni has suspended a senior official in the department of health and social development, with pay, over allegations of tender fraud and corruption.  The city said on Monday that the manager was suspended after allegations involving millions of rands came to its attention.  A complaint of unethical and corrupt behaviour was also reported against the individual to the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP).  "The city launched a full-scale investigation into the allegations, a process which is driven by the internal audit department.  Upon conclusion of the investigation, the city will determine the way forward," the authority indicated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ernest Mabuza at TimesLIVE


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Nightmare start to 2020 for Cape Town commuters, with Khayelitsha bus and train services still suspended

GroundUp reports that it has been a nightmare start to 2020 for thousands of long-suffering Cape Town commuters, with Metrorail’s central line and the MyCiTi N2 bus service still suspended.  Moreover, there’s no sign that the services will be restored any time soon.  The City of Cape Town has no time frame for the reintroduction of the N2 express service to Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain from the city centre.  The service was suspended in June last year after a quarrel between the shareholders of the N2 Express company, the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta), the Route 6 Taxi Association and the Golden Arrow Bus Service.  Approximately 4,000 commuters use the service daily.  Meanwhile, the southern and northern Metrorail lines are not working properly and service on the central line to Kapteinsklip and Chris Hani stations has been suspended since last October due to vandalism between Bonteheuwel and Nyanga. Only the Lavistown branch of the line is running.  Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said it would take “several months at least” to restore the Chris Hani and Kapteinsklip services.  A spokesperson for MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said they had written to national transport minister Fikile Mbalula in November about the challenges facing the rail system, but had not yet received an answer.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mary-Anne Gontsana and Tariro Washinyira at TimesLIVE

 


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