news shutterstockIn our afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Thursday, 20 February 2020.


Compensation Fund allegedly not paying out, commissioner invited to open meeting in Cape Town to explain

In a letter to Business Day, Michael Bagraim, MP, who is the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) deputy shadow employment & labour minister, writes that they have had many complaints from medical service providers across the country over the nonservice of the Department of Employment & Labour and the failure to pay Compensation Fund monies since September 2019.  He reports that the issue has been raised with the department, and in particular with fund commissioner Vuyo Mafata.  He and the department have been invited to an open meeting on 26 February in the Good Hope Chambers on the parliamentary campus to answer questions.

Read the original of the above letter at BusinessLive

Solidarity requests urgent meeting with labour minister over lack of service delivery at Compensation Fund

Trade union Solidarity has requested an urgent meeting with Employment and Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi, and the Director-General of the Department, Thobile Lamati, to address the lack of service delivery being experienced at the Compensation Fund.  Adv. Hanlie van Vuuren, head of occupational health and safety at Solidarity, said in a statement:  “The Fund’s operations have ground to a complete halt over the past few months.  This state of affairs has been brought on by the introduction of a new computer system implemented in September 2019.”  She indicated that neither employees nor stakeholders were receiving any service owed to them by the Fund.  “What is even more disconcerting is that now, roughly six months later, the system is still not operational and enquiries to the Fund remain unsuccessful.  Currently, not even Compensation Fund staff members have access to the system.  Due to this dire situation new claims cannot be registered, employees are not paid for periods of absence from work, and doctors cannot treat new patients because no new claim numbers are available.  Payments cannot be processed either.”

Read Solidarity’s press statement at <>

In separate incidents in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday night, ambulance and van taking staff home torched

News24 reports that an ambulance and a courier van were separately torched in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday night.  Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo indicated that the ambulance was torched in what appeared to be a community protest.  Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said at about 19:45 on Wednesday, a metro ambulance was on its way to Vastrap when a petrol bomb was thrown through its window on Standford Road near Qunu.  "The driver and his crew jumped out and ran away.  The vehicle burned out.  Another ambulance crew was on its way to assist their colleagues when it was pelted with stones," Naidu indicated.  No injuries were reported.  In another incident in the same area, a bakkie was hijacked by protesters and set alight.  The driver was dropping staff off at home at about 19:50.  The vehicle was pelted with stones on William Slammert Drive.  The occupants abandoned the vehicle and ran away.  A case of vehicle hijacking has been opened.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • eNCA anchor Xoli Mngambi, producer and camera crew robbed in Mamelodi East, at News24
  • Man linked to three cash-in-transit van heists arrested in Eastern Cape, at TimesLIVE


Anglo American Platinum names Natascha Viljoen as its first female CEO

Bloomberg reports that Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has named Natascha Viljoen as its first female chief executive officer.  Viljoen, currently group head of processing at parent Anglo American, will take over from current boss Chris Griffith when he leaves in April, according to a statement on Thursday from Amplats.  She steps in at an exhilarating time for the industry amid a breathtaking rally in palladium, which has surged 41% already this year to fresh records.  The company itself is in a strong position, having closed and sold higher-cost mines under Griffith.  Profit last year more than doubled and Amplats announced a special dividend on Monday.  Viljoen commented:  “I am fortunate to inherit a business in such a strong position.  Chris Griffith has reshaped our PGMs portfolio to be fit for the future and I believe we now have an opportunity to re-imagine how we operate.”

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Felix Njini at Moneyweb. Read too, Natascha Viljoen to succeed Griffith as Amplats CEO, at Mining Weekly


Unions angry over ‘paltry’ 3.8% increase in national minimum wage

BL Premium reports that unions said on Wednesday that the 3.8% national minimum wage (NMW) increase that was gazetted by the government on Monday was an affront to workers.  The increase, which comes into effect on 1 March, is much lower than the 5% recommended by the National Minimum Wage Commission and has elicited an angry reaction from organised labour.  The 3.8% increase will take the national minimum wage to R20.76 an hour, which translates to an increase of R6.08 per day, and R121.60 per month.  Labour formations argued it was much less than the prevailing 4.5% inflation, and dismissed the notion advanced by employers that it would lead to job losses.  In January 2019, the R20 per hour national minimum wage came into effect, amid much pushback from employers who said they could not afford it.  They argued then that it would lead to huge jobs cuts.  Labour relations chief director at the department of employment & labour, Thembinkosi Mkhaliphi, said they were working with Stats SA to determine what effect the minimum wage has had on jobs.  Labour federation Fedusa said on Wednesday it was outraged by the increase, which it labelled unjustifiable.  Cosatu said they are disappointed with the increase and lashed out at the commission for doing “shoddy work” on the matter.  Nactu president Pat Mphela said:  “We are very much disappointed because it’s not an increase, it’s below inflation.  It’s [spitting] in the face of workers.  There is totally no increase.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Luyolo Mkentane at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Labour law changes will see revised national minimum wage and parental leave come into effect from 1 March 2020

EWN reports that as of 1 March 2020, new labour laws will come into effect, some of which will be welcomed by parents to be, while others will only result in minor improvements for the lowest paid workers in the country.  Employers will be required to pay workers around 3.8% more an hour due to amendments to the National Minimum Wage Act of 2018, although the impact on the pockets of workers would be minimal.  On 1 March, the national minimum wage will rise to R20.76 an hour, from R20 previously.  The picture for farmworkers, domestic workers and those employed on an expanded public works programme will even less rosy, with those employees to be entitled to a minimum hourly wage of R18.68, R15.57 and R11.42 respectively.  On the positive side, amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 are set to benefit new parents.  In addition to maternity leave for mothers, new parental leave provisions will entitle an employee to at least 10 consecutive days of leave when their child is born or adoption is granted, rather than them having to take three days of family responsibility leave, which was normally given in such instances.  For those adopting a child below the age of two, parents will be entitled to at least 10 weeks consecutive adoptive leave, or 10 consecutive days of parental leave once adoption has been granted.

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


Attachment of coaches over Prasa's R22m debt may lead to Park Station coming to a halt on Friday

The Star reports that thousands of Gauteng train passengers will pay for a R22million debt owed by the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), which could have its assets, including trains, attached on Friday.  The legal action could see thousands of commuters who depend on trains at Joburg’s Park Station daily becoming stranded as the entity’s coaches face possible seizure by the court.  Prasa was on Wednesday at the South Gauteng High Court, denied its appeal application seeking to overturn a September judgment allowing its assets to be attached for not paying service provider Mbita Consulting.  Mbita’s legal representatives claimed that following the ruling, which also delivered a costs order against Prasa, Park Station would come to a halt as the sheriff would stop the trains from moving should Prasa not pay up within 48 hours from Wednesday.  “We feel sorry for the passengers, but they would need to speak with Prasa because it has been defying court orders since 2015 to pay a contracted service provider.  We will also attach and remove computers, desks and other equipment from Umjantshi House (Prasa’s offices in the Joburg CBD),” said a member of Mbita’s legal team.  He went on to say:  “In fact, we will start in the finance department before the employees’ salaries are sent through ahead of next week’s pay day.  The employees will have to take that up with their leaders in Tshwane when they don’t get paid.  People have lost their jobs at Mbita and it’s time Prasa feels the pain.”  The R22m, which includes an annual 10% interest rate since November 2015, is for the cleaning services that Mbita provided for more than two dozen Prasa-owned train stations.

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

CompCom says Gautrain, whereby middle class is subsidised at expense of working class, was a big policy mistake

Moneyweb reports that the Competition Commission (CompCom) believes the Gautrain rapid rail system was a big policy mistake.  It has recommended that the Gauteng provincial government takes over Metro Rail, and integrates it with the Gautrain to run “a single system that doesn’t separate people according to class”.  CompCom commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele on Wednesday also said the formula for the allocation of public passenger transport subsidies has led to distortions that impact on competition between the various modes of transport.  Increased funding for subsidies to the minibus taxi industry through the government’s taxi recapitalisation programme was one of several recommendations made in the commission’s preliminary report on its market inquiry into land-based public passenger transport released on Wednesday.  “The Gautrain is heavily subsidised and operates very differently from Metro Rail from a services and integration point of view.  There is no policy justification in a country like South Africa for the government to subsidise the middle class and decide to have no or lesser subsidies for the working class,” Bonakele said.  He reported that the inquiry looked very closely at the Gautrain model and compared it with Metro Rail services in Gauteng and found “huge inequities”.  He said what was required was a single system that was more reliable, and more regular times with a lower price for moving between Johannesburg to Pretoria.  Commenting on the distortions in subsidies, Bonakele said the subsidy system was highly fragmented with minimum coordination.  He said there was no formalised subsidy policy, although the Department of Transport was presently in the process of developing such a policy.  The inquiry’s recommendations are provisional.

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

Satawu blasts commuters after attack on female train driver who refused to stop between stations

News24 reports that the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) says it is not the fault of train drivers that Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) infrastructure is dilapidated and causing delays.  It also called on people to respect Prasa staff after a female driver was stoned by irate commuters in KwaZulu-Natal.  Nonhlanhla Dlamini was hit on the head when commuters threw stones at her after she refused to stop the train between stations near Briardene while on the Durban to Stanger run on Tuesday morning.  The United National Transport Union (Untu), of which she is a member, indicated that she had to get surgical stitches on her head, adding it was not the first time she had experienced such an ordeal.  Satawu said she was not the first person to be attacked by commuters, adding that it had appealed to Prasa to put measures in place to safeguard staff.  The union stated further:  "Prasa workers are constantly under siege, partly due to the dilapidated infrastructure and shortage of trains that results in them arriving late or not at all.  However, attacking a driver for not stopping between stations will not find sympathy with us.  We call on commuters to treat drivers, male or female, with respect because they are not responsible for the state of the rail agency."

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

Prasa announces three-phase plan to fix trains, commuter safety

The Citizen reports that the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) on Tuesday announced that it would be launching a three-phase approach towards ensuring safe and reliable transport by train over the next year.  Prasa administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo made the announcement at Soweto’s Dube train station.  Prasa and the United Commuters Voice forum made mention of several issues that would have to be addressed.  The issues raised at Dube were delays between trains, safety and security.  Mpondo said commuters filled morning trains to capacity due to delays and went on to indicate:  “We have gone onto the platform and we’ve experienced commuters scrambling to get onto trains due to delays by an hour as opposed to a 30-minute frequency.”  He said lines would be secured to reduce crowded train rides for commuters.  Some of the challenges at stations were theft and vandalism and Mpondo said these would be addressed by taking measures to ensure safety and security, viz.:  “We are looking to place armed security vehicles at stations and installing [closed-circuit TV] cameras, as well as drones to circle the area.  It will take time to repair all these issues as it cannot happen overnight.  But we promise to bring necessary facilities and resources to ensure we provide a reliable and safe service.”

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


State capture inquiry hears SAA executives quit over 'deeply personal' nature of SSA vetting process

The Star reports that the Zondo commission into state capture has heard how South African Airways (SAA) executives and others were subjected to invasive and personal questions by the State Security Agency (SSA) as part of the agency’s efforts to protect access to classified information.  SSA evaluator and analyst Nokunqoba Dlamini took the stand at the inquiry on Wednesday.  The commission's evidence leader Kate Hofmeyr explained that in discussions in 2015 between the then minister of state security, David Mahlobo, and former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene it was decided that SAA executives had to be vetted in line with SSA's mandate.  A total of 118 SAA executives and support staff employees were in the event subjected to the vetting process.  The SSA's vetting process included four stages; the administration phase, the interview phase, the polygraph phase and the analysis stage.  Hofmeyr questioned Dlamini on the personal nature of the interview questions posed to SAA employees and put it that the following were covered:  "You get asked whether your family, brother, sister and parents abused drugs? You get asked whether any of your family members had psychological therapy?" You get asked if you had your life over again would you marry your spouse?  You are asked about whether you are social and go to bars and clubs, you are asked about whether you are the type of person who is impulsive, you are asked which stores you have accounts with, you are asked about whether you attend a church, you are asked about whether you are a member of a political party? You are asked about your role in a political organisation and then you are asked about your personality?”  Dlamini accepted that these questions were deeply personal.  All of the SAA staff members were asked these questions during the vetting process.  Seven of those executives resigned based on the questions and personal nature of the process.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Zintle Mahlati at Independent News. Read too, Commission told that SAA officials were subjected to 'deeply invasive' security vetting during Myeni's time at helm, at News24

Public Protector faces mutiny from staff within her office

Financial Mail reports that labour, under the banner of the Public Servants Association (PSA), is preparing evidence to back allegations of mismanagement in Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s key chapter 9 institution.  The PSA will apparently meet its members in her office this week to lay out evidence, which will form part of its submission against Mkhwebane to Parliament’s inquiry into her fitness to hold office.  The PSA’s Reuben Maleka indicated that the union would call on parliament to remove her.  He said there were serious complaints against Mkhwebane, particularly from investigators in her office, who have complained that their work was interfered with and that they were illegally placed under surveillance.  He commented further as follows:  "As much as 70% to 80% of our members in the public protector’s office feel she is compromised, especially the investigators … they are now willing to come forward.  We need to protect our members who are victimised and cannot do their work freely.  We received an overwhelming response from members who want to meet us.  This will help our lawyers ready our submission to parliament.  We want her to be removed."  The union last year lodged a complaint with state security minister Ayanda Dlodlo after it said its members were "victimised and mysteriously investigated" by members of the State Security Agency.  The union’s submission will add to the complaints from senior officials already lodged with speaker Thandi Modise.  The allegations against Mkhwebane are likely to be thrashed out before a parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Natasha Marrian at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Nathi Mthethwa dragged into spat between Pan South African Languages Board and workers

City Press reports that Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has been dragged into a messy spat between workers and the board of the Pan South African Languages Board (PanSALB).  Apparently the row over allegations of poor governance at PanSALB has also been brought to the attention of the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa and Speaker of Parliament Thandi Modise.  The role of PanSALB includes promoting and creating conditions for the development and use of languages, including those that are commonly used in smaller communities.  A group of concerned PanSALB workers submitted a memorandum to Ramaphosa’s office last month and to Modise in November last year.  The claimed that they were being targeted, allegedly through trumped-up charges, by the current board, led by David Maahlamela, who was appointed as acting chief executive officer by the board in October last year.  The workers alleged that, in essence, Maahlamela had appointed himself.  In the memo, workers claimed that Maahlamela and his board were Mthethwa’s lapdogs and that the board had “gone rogue, apparently acting on the instructions of the minister.  They decided to play politics [instead of] executing their mandate.  A hit list has been compiled and it’s being executed with disregard of all statutes of this beautiful country.”  The reason for their persecution, the workers alleged, was that Maahlamela and his board perceived them as supporters of the previous board, which Mthethwa disbanded in 2016.  But Mthethwa’s spokesperson, Asanda Magaqa, dismissed allegations against the minister.  “That’s all speculation.  There is no evidence to support these claims or allegations.  The board is exercising its fiduciary duties,” Magaqa stated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Msindisi Fengu at City Press

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Minister to meet SA Statistics Council over funding ‘tipping point’, at BusinessLive


  • Seifsa: How to minimise job losses in the sinking steel industry, at Business Report
  • Nzimande says proposed Ekurhuleni university will have high-tech focus, at Engineering News


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page