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
Wednesday, 15 January 2020.


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Bus strike over late payments to employees paralyses Port Elizabeth

GroundUp reports that a bus driver strike over wages has paralysed the transport system in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.  Libhongolethu Bus Services operates a fleet of buses in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth.  The buses are owned by the municipality, which has subcontracted Spectrum Alert, a private company, to run the routes.  The bus system was rolled out two years ago after the municipality bought out taxi drivers who were then employed by Spectrum Alert as drivers and conductors.  The bus workers embarked on a strike four weeks ago.  On Monday, employees who had not previously participated in the strike did so, paralysing the bus system.  About 300 workers — drivers, conductors and office cleaners — are taking part in the strike.  They are not represented by any union.  The workers accuse Spectrum Alert of paying them late and deducting provident fund, unemployment insurance and other benefits from their wages but failing to forward the monies to the funds, which the company denies.  They also say that when the bus system was launched, the agreement was that all drivers and conductors would come from the taxi associations which gave up their licences.  Now, they say, Spectrum Alert is employing drivers from other areas in the northern areas.  Mayoral spokesperson George Geleba explained:  "The delay in making payment to Spectrum Alert employees can be attributed to the fact that it fails to submit its invoices timeously to the municipality."  He said some invoices contained errors.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Joseph Chirume at News24


PROTEST ACTION

Security guards close down licensing offices and education circuit offices in Govan Mbeki municipal area

The Citizen reports that employees of V&M Projects, which supplies security guards to the departments of transport and education in the Govan Mbeki area, locked down numerous offices on Wednesday.  According to Ridge Times, the licensing offices and testing grounds in Secunda and Bethal, as well as the circuit offices for the department of education, were currently closed.  The security guards sent the officials packing, and said they would not open the offices until they had received their salaries.

Read the original of the above report by Arisja Misselhorn at The Citizen

Picket by Eskom workers at Megawatt Park on Wednesday over unbundling

EWN reports that Eskom workers affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) were scheduled to picket outside Megawatt Park at lunchtime on Wednesday.  The cash-strapped state-owned power utility is battling to keep the lights on with ageing infrastructure in desperate need of overdue maintenance and a series of unplanned breakdowns.  In February last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the utility would split into three entities in order to streamline processes.  However, workers are opposed to the move, fearing that many might lose their jobs.  Numsa's Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said:  “The purpose of the picket is to highlight the fact that Numsa rejects the unbundling that’s taking place at Eskom and we reject the privatisation of the utility.”

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Mia Lindeque at EWN


INTERNSHIPS

Higher Education Department paves way for TVET graduates with 300 internships

The Star reports that after many years of calling on private employers to extend employment opportunities to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) college graduates, the Department of Higher Education has led by example.  Its Graduate Internship Programme has invited TVET graduates to apply for nearly 300 internship posts.  Paid just over R6,000 monthly, the interns will be placed in the department and across its entities including the TVET colleges, National Skills Fund and community colleges.  The programme also has hundreds of internships for university graduates.  The invitation to TVET graduates holding the N6 certificate is groundbreaking as they are rarely provided internship opportunities in both the public and private sectors.  According to data from Statistics SA, the unemployment rate among TVET graduates is 33%, against 7% among university graduates.  A 2017 study called for concerted intervention to reduce the shockingly high unemployment of TVET college graduates.  Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, previously complained that TVET graduates “do not get the kind of workplace exposure they desperately need” and said “this has to be corrected’’.  Nzimande hopes departments and SOEs will now consider TVET graduates.  Graduates have until 7 February to apply for the Higher Education Department internships.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Bongani Nkosi on page 2 of The Star of 15 January 2020


BASIC EDUCATION / TEACHING

Sadtu asks for delays in delivery of teaching and learning materials to be reported

News24 reports that the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) has urged its sites to report any and all delays in the delivery of teaching and learning materials at schools across the country.  "As signatories to the quality learning and teaching campaign, we expect teachers and our members in particular to be in class, on time, prepared and professional at all times.  At the same time, we expect the Department of Basic Education to provide proper basic infrastructure, learning and teaching materials so that effective learning can take place," Sadtu said in a statement on Tuesday.  The union also called for the late appointment of teachers or the payment of their salaries to be reported.  "No class should be without a teacher.  We call on the department to avoid delays in the payment of salaries of adult education and training lecturers, ECD (early childhood development) and temporary teachers," the union stated.  Sadtu urged the public to support its "I am a School Fan" campaign by protecting and supporting schools.  The campaign seeks to mobilise all stakeholders in communities to defend and protect schools so that they become safe for teachers as well as the learners.  Sadtu’s national office bearers will visit schools across the provinces to monitor readiness for the 2020 academic year.

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


HIGHER EDUCATION / QUALIFICATIONS

Dihlabeng municipal official’s degree shown to be valid

Sowetan reports that a Dihlabeng District Municipality official who was accused of falsifying her qualifications to land a plush job has provided the newspaper with her qualifications and a full academic record from the University of the Free State (UFS).  Seipati Mavis Mabula, the director of corporate services in the municipality, was accused by some officials at the municipality of allegedly submitting a fraudulent bachelor of administration degree, a claim she vehemently denied.  On Tuesday, after Sowetan published the story, the municipality’s spokesperson Tshediso Maitse said they had done a proper investigation based on the auditor general’s management letter.  He furnished a copy of Mabula’s bachelor of administration degree certificate, an academic transcript which was obtained from UFS and a report by the SA Qualification Authority indicating that her degree was valid.  Mabula said:  “I studied at UFS, QwaQwa campus.  The institution told me that I owed R7,000 and needed to pay it before it can give me the transcript.”

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Tankiso Makhetha on page 10 of Sowetan of 15 January 2020


RETIREMENT FUNDS

Bosasa staff provident payouts expedited after exemption granted

The Citizen reports that staff members of the controversial Bosasa Youth Development Centres have waited months for provident fund payments which, to their relief, Sanlam is in the process of releasing.  According to Clint Rusford, a former employee at the centre, staff members were waiting on Sanlam to release their retirement funds, but the liquidation of the Bosasa-controlled company had halted the process.  The employees had been informed that due to legislative requirements, Sanlam could not process their claims until the liquidation process had been completed.  Rusford said employees went back and forth between the liquidators, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FCSA) and Sanlam, yet no one could give them any answers.  “The FSCA then informed us the liquidation process had been completed and that they are only awaiting one signature from a senior official before the funds of members could be released by the administrator of the fund.  Sanlam also made it clear that once the liquidation procedure has been completed, the funds of the members would be released within 10 working days,” Rusford indicated.  According to Sanlam’s Mike O’Donovan, the company was granted an exemption by the FCSA last week, allowing it to release the funds before the full liquidation process had been completed.  On Friday, Sanlam also received the relevant tax documents from employees that triggered the payout payment process.  The matter should be finalised by Friday, O’Donovan added.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard on page 4 of The Citizen of 15 January 2020

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Retirement fund billions at metropolitan unclaimed, at SowetanLive


UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FUND

UIF says uFiling system far from broken

In a letter to the editor on Wednesday, Makhosonke Buthelezi, the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF’s) director of communication and marketing, responds to an earlier letter (11 December 2019) from Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Michael Bagraim, who had asserted that the UIF’s uFiling website was broken.  Buthelezi notes that the new and revamped uFiling system was launched in March 2019 and acknowledges that there were technical glitches after the data centre was relocated to new premises.  Clients experiencing problems, particularly with their historical information.  According to Buthelezi, the challenges were swiftly resolved and the system has since been fully operational.  “In fact, we have close to half a million employers and employees registered on the system, and from April to November 2019 more than 2-million declarations and 40,465 claims were submitted via uFiling.”  The UIF has also embarked on several workshops to educate clients about using the system.  Due to the huge demand for services nationally, the fund has employed an additional 33 call-centre agents to improve service delivery.  Noting that there might be isolated cases of clients struggling because they were unfamiliar with navigating the revamped system and therefore missed some steps, which resulted in their information not being displayed, Buthelezi encouraged them to contact the fund on ‪0800 843 843 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for assistance.

Read the original of Buthelezi’s letter at BusinessLive


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Ruling on Peter Moyo dismissal paves way for new Old Mutual CEO

BL Premium writes that Old Mutual’s high court victory against Peter Moyo paves the way for the insurer to finally appoint a new leader, after an eight-month battle with the axed CEO that caused reputational damage and shaved billions off its market capitalisation.  On Tuesday, a full bench of the Johannesburg High Court upheld Old Mutual’s appeal, finding that the insurer had lawfully dismissed Moyo.  The court overturned an earlier high court judgment, which had ruled that Moyo was had been illegally fired and which temporarily reinstated him.  That reinstatement was overturned.  Moyo will apparently appeal the judgment.  The heart of the case is whether Old Mutual followed proper procedures when axing Moyo and adhered to the terms of his employment contract.  On Tuesday, judges found the contract clearly allowed either party the right to terminate the employment relationship with six months’ notice or six months’ payout and did not, as Moyo argued, require a disciplinary process before the termination took effect.  Old Mutual has been involved in a bitter feud with its former CEO since May when it suspended and later fired Moyo over alleged conflicts of interest.  The saga has sparked debate about whether companies should pay “golden handshakes” to leaders with whom they have had a fallout to end the conflict, or instead engage, as the insurer has done, in costly, protracted legal disputes.  While Tuesday’s court case related to temporary reinstatement, Moyo has brought a second, non-urgent case in which he is arguing that his employment was unlawfully terminated and that he should be compensated.  He has also filed papers accusing Old Mutual of contempt of court for preventing him from entering its premises and resuming work, despite that he was given a temporary reinstatement by the high court.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Katharine Child and Nick Wilson at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Peter Moyo to appeal after Old Mutual prevents his temporary reinstatement

The Citizen reports that the seemingly never-ending legal battle between the axed CEO Peter Moyo and his employer Old Mutual continued on Tuesday in the High Court in Johannesburg, where Old Mutual won an appeal against a July court ruling which had reinstated Moyo as CEO.  Moyo has since announced that he has instructed his lawyers to appeal this latest ruling, thereby prolonging the battle even further.  His legal team has accordingly instructed Old Mutual not to appoint a new CEO due to Moyo’s intention of appealing.  Earlier on Tuesday, the court upheld Old Mutual’s application against the earlier order that temporarily reinstated Moyo as Old Mutual CEO.  The ruling, which means that Moyo cannot return to work as CEO, awarded costs against him.  Judge Brian Mashile earlier ruled that Old Mutual should have allowed Moyo a disciplinary hearing before accusing him of gross misconduct and firing him.  Old Mutual has argued that Mashile failed to deal with the fact that as an employer, the company had the right to terminate Moyo’s contract on notice.  He was given six-month notice and earned R4 million, which the company said was in line with his employment contract, negating the need for a disciplinary hearing.  The ex-CEO’s lawyers, however, maintained that he was entitled to a disciplinary process.  Moyo was fired in June over an alleged conflict of interests.

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


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

eThekwini promises action against negligent staff at Mitchell Park Zoo after social media compliant

Daily News reports that Mitchell Park Zoo management will take disciplinary action against staff who have been negligent in their duties after a member of the public complained about condition of the zoo on social media.  A post with a detailed list of complaints was made by Kerry Katz.  She said she would visit the Zoo on Wednesday to meet management.  Her complaints were circulated on social media platforms on Tuesday and went viral, prompting action from the municipality.  Katz said that on her recent visit to Mitchell Park she discovered that it was not in the condition that residents were used to seeing it in.  Katz claimed that water bowls had not been changed in quite some time; a broken water pump in the mongoose and meerkat enclosures meant stale green water that was not being changed; an Emu had a large open wound on its neck; some of the birds had eye infections; the turtle pond and crocodile enclosure was green with algae; the Koi pond water had turned green making it difficult to spot the fish and a pipe was leaking in the ladies toilet.  She also claimed that social creatures like cockatoos, mongoose and iguanas should not be kept in solitary confinement.  SPCA spokesperson Tanya Fleischer said any welfare concerns would be addressed directly with the park and followed up on.  "In the meantime the animals all have food, shelter and water. None of the animals were needing urgent veterinary care," Fleischer said.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Zainul Dawood at Daily News


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Transport minister’s ‘war room’ intervention at Prasa ‘hogwash’, say insiders

The Citizen reports that according to senior managers at the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s ‘war room’ intervention to resolve the agency’s problems was ‘hogwash’ and ‘no more than four desks with five people’ doing nothing.  The intervention to pull Prasa out of the doldrums has seemingly achieved nothing, with senior managers and labour organisations asserting that there was no truth in Mbalula’s boast about some progress.  He was expected to provide an update on the war room’s successes on Wednesday.  In November last year, the minister said 14 weeks into the intervention there was a reliable public passenger railway service, increased train availability, improved time performance, protection of corridors and an increase in paying passengers.  But the United National Transport Union (Untu) has suggested that the real task of the war room was to mislead the public.  The union’s spokesperson, Sonja Carstens, remarked:  “The reality is that the war room is not making any difference.  As we speak there is no train service on the Pretoria-Johannesburg Park Station corridor, a key economic route, and only two corridors were operational in Pretoria.  This has been the case for the past three months.  There is no train between Pretoria and Mabopane.”  She added that the issue of safety and the protection of Prasa assets – among the war room’s top priorities – was a huge concern as the agency had cancelled its contracts with security companies.  A senior security manager at Prasa said it was an open secret in the agency’s corridors that the war room was “hogwash”.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sipho Mabena on page 3 of The Citizen of 15 January 2020

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Still no sign of MyCiTi N2 Express as Cape commuters continue to suffer, at Cape Argus
  • Public comment open as probe into Cape cops’ inaction on train arson continues, at Cape Argus


OTHER REPORTS

Ninety-nine police officials did business with SAPS between 2014 and 2019

News24 reports that ninety-nine police officials did business with the SA Police Service (SAPS) between 2014 and 2019, even though it was illegal to do so.  This was indicated by Police Minister Bheki Cele in a reply to a parliamentary question from the DA's police spokesperson Andrew Whitfield.  In addition to the 99 officials, 101 immediate family members were also found to have done business with the police in the same period.  "The monetary value of the services rendered and/or goods delivered in terms of the Top 20 of the specified contracts from 2014 to 2019 is R6 798 693.86," Cele’s response indicated.  Among the businesses listed were catering, woodwork and protection services.  Two made well over R1m – Hizoline and Royale Energy (Pty) Ltd with R3,181,369 and Molotsi Productions CC with R1,344,826.  Cele said no SAPS members had made disclosures, while five companies had disclosed their relationships with family members that police employed.

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

 


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