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
Monday, 9 March 2020.


CPUT shut on Monday in the interests of staff and student safety

TimesLIVE reports that the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) closed its campuses on Monday in the interests of staff and student safety.  Lectures were disrupted and cars damaged by protesting students at the Bellville campus last week and at least four people were arrested.  CPUT said in a statement that “due to the continued volatile situation on Bellville campus and in the interests of staff and students safety, executive management has decided to cease all university operations”.  This included all academic, administration and support activities on Monday.  “Staff must work from home, if possible. All university operations will resume on Tuesday,” the university advised.

Read the original of the above report at TimesLIVE

Report highlights shocking level of violence against sex workers

GroundUp reports that a report released last week revealed that a hundred-and-one female sex workers, some of whom were transwomen, died in 2018/19, while half of them were murdered.  The report, Female and Transomxn Sex Worker Deaths in South Africa, was authored by the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task force (SWEAT), supported by Sisonke.  "Our analysis found that almost 45% of known causes of deaths in our study were attributed to murder. The methods included poisoning, multiple gunshot wounds, stabbing, strangulation, and being pushed out of a moving car," the report indicated.  Sixolile Ngcobo of the Commission for Gender Equality pointed out that:  "Sex work is work. We cannot have work that does not have labour rights."  Ngcobo added that sex work should not be criminalised because that made women vulnerable and encouraged human trafficking.  Sex work in SA is illegal for both the buyer and seller.  The report was launched as part of the #SayHerName campaign.  Launched in 2016, it was created to protect the rights of sex workers, to celebrate and empower them.  Ngcobo noted that according to a 2013 study, there had at the time been 138,000 women, 7,000 men, and 6,000 transgender sex workers in SA.

Read Ashraf Hendricks’ GroupUp report in the above regard in full at News24. Read too, 45% of sex worker deaths linked to murder, says report, at Cape Times


CDE’s Ann Bernstein calls for a new approach to the jobs crisis

BusinessLive reports that one of a raft of proposals made by Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) executive director Ann Bernstein on Thursday was that the government has to shift its industrial policy from a focus on capital-intensive industries towards labour-intensive ones if it was to make any inroads into the unemployment catastrophe.  She was speaking to the Cape Town Press Club on the findings of a report recently released by the CDE.  She compared the highly capital-intensive automotive industry, which benefited from government subsidies, with labour-intensive industries such as tourism, clothing, toy and electronic assembly, and business process outsourcing, which should be the focus.  With about 10.4-million people unemployed, SA has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.  Bernstein stressed the need for a new approach to the jobs crisis because the current approach was not working.  “Government policy choices have produced an economy that needs less and less unskilled labour, and yet this is the one resource which SA has in abundance,” Bernstein pointed out.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Linda Ensor at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Saldanha Bay industrial hub clinches R300m in new investment deals, at Fin24
  • Opinion: South African steel industry is an industry in distress, at Engineering News


Decision not to increase judges' pay may lead to exodus, lawyers' association warns

TimesLIVE reports that the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently reconsider his decision not to increase judges' salaries and look instead at other ways of saving on government spending.  It also warned that salaries not in accordance with living conditions might lead to an exodus of judges from the bench and failure of the bench to attract suitably qualified candidates.  Ramaphosa said last week that judges would not receive salary increases this year.  In doing so he turned down a recommendation from the independent commission for the remuneration of public office bearers to increase the remuneration of judges by 3%, backdated to April 2019.  Nadel pointed out that the judiciary had, in the past three years, received lower than inflation increases and no increase in 2016/2017.  It added that secure and appropriate compensation for judges was a critical and constitutionally recognised part of judicial independence.

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


SA not prepared for the coronavirus, claims Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union

The Citizen reports that the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union has questioned Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s call for the country not to panic over the coronavirus, saying that nurses and other healthcare workers have not been adequately trained to deal with it.  The union’s president Lerato Madumo-Gova claimed that the minister was being economical with the truth when he told community members in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday, where the virus was detected, that the country had competent healthcare workers to deal with the virus.  “We are aware that nurses have not been adequately trained in dealing with coronavirus, since this virus was never part of any nursing curriculum,” said Madumo-Gova.  She called on the government to come clean and admit that South African healthcare workers were not adequately prepared for this outbreak.  “Every nurse and any healthcare professional employed by the public healthcare sector in South Africa knows that besides our overcrowded hospitals, our units have few to no isolation cubicles. Shortage of material and human resources is our everyday nightmare,” she said.

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

SABS standard on ethical guidelines for traditional health practitioners in public comment phase

Business Insider SA reports that a technical committee of the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) has entered the public-inquiry phase of drafting an ethics guideline for traditional healers in SA.  The document, formally known as ARP 2077, "Guidelines on ethics for traditional health practitioners (THP) in traditional health care" is due to apply across the application of traditional medicine.  It will cover diviners using methods such as throwing the bones, herbalists, and traditional health surgeons.  It will offer recommended practices on "discipline and professionalism required" from practitioners and also deals with registration and recognition of healers, in respect of which it recommends taking into considering testimonials from community members.  Traditional healers, the guidelines indicate, should keep detailed patient records of diagnoses and management plans for five years, and should respond to emergency requests for health care or products.  Traditional practitioners should use medicines "that are in line with what they are trained for", the document says, but adds that human body parts or genetically modified organisms should not be used for any healing purposes.  The draft is open for public comment until 20 April.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Phillip de Wet at Business Insider


Ex-SABC boss Chris Maroleng wants compensation of R16m or his job back

City Press reports that former SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) chief operating officer Chris Maroleng wants a whopping R16 million or his job back.  This ultimatum is contained in his court papers filed at the Johannesburg Labour Court last week.  Maroleng, who was fired in April last year less than a year after succeeding Hlaudi Motsoeneng, is now in a tug-of-war with the public broadcaster over his dismissal.  In his court papers, an aggrieved Maroleng has demanded payment for the remainder of his four-year contract.  He has also cast a shadow on the process which led to his dismissal by accusing the SABC of not affording him the right to appeal an allegedly questionable disciplinary process.  “The unlawful and summary dismissal and ultimate termination of the applicant’s contract of employment by the respondent constituted a breach of the respondent’s contractual obligation to address allegations of misconduct against the applicant,” reads part of his affidavit.  Asked to comment, Maroleng said: “I am looking to the courts to clear my name and reputation as we have put out in the court papers that the manner that things were done was untoward.”  The SABC said in a statement that it was not aware of the recent papers filed at the labour court by Maroleng.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mduduzi Nonyane at City Press. Read too, Maroleng says SABC dismissal hurt his reputation, at EWN

Fired PIC manager says he was scapegoated and has the documents to prove it

Bloomberg reports Fidelis Madavo, who spent 13 years picking stocks for the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), says he’s being scapegoated in the corruption scandal that has gripped the R2.13 trillion fund.  And now he says there are documents to prove his contention.  Following a 14-month suspension, Madavo was fired on 2 March 2020 by the PIC for gross misconduct.  A company probe, though, showed no “evidence of misconduct on the part of Mr. Madavo.”  This was indicated by GA Fourie, independent chairman of the inquiry, in the written ruling dated 14 February.  “I feel deeply aggrieved, particularly since I was cleared on the very two charges I was initially suspended for,” said Madavo, who has been denied R5.3 million in incentive payments covering the past two years.  The competing claims between the PIC and Madavo mark just the latest twist in the two-year saga.  The scandal stems from PIC’s two-year investment in Ayo Technology Solutions, an information technology company. The R4.3 billion-infusion, made by the unit Madavo oversaw, was far more than the company was actually worth. PIC’s 29% stake in Ayo is now worth just R238 million.  “PIC has found a scapegoat in me,” Madavo stated.

Read the full original of a detailed report in the above regard by Antony Sguazzin at Moneyweb


Durban laboratory worker faces disciplinary action for fake coronavirus voice note

TimesLIVE reports that a worker at a state-owned laboratory service is facing disciplinary action after the circulation of a voice note which suggested that Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi, Durban, had received a number of patients with coronavirus.  KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu on Monday condemned “the creation and distribution of a voice note containing false and misleading information."  The provincial health department said in a statement:  “The recording, featuring the voice of a woman, has been widely shared on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.  It alludes to a false scenario of 'panic' due to the presence of a number of patients with the novel coronavirus at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, something that has been vehemently denied by hospital management.  The recorded voice has since been traced to an employee of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), who is now facing disciplinary action by management of Prince Mshiyeni and the state-owned laboratory service.”  Simelane-Zulu said the case should serve as a warning that government would not tolerate the undoing of “all the good work that is being done by government in responding to this emergency”.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Suthentira Govender at TimesLIVE


Campaign to end sexual violence in mines launched

Business Report writes that the Minerals Council SA (MCSA – previously called the Chamber of Mines) last week launched a campaign to address sexual and gender-based violence and harassment on SA’s mines.  The MCSA said that the campaign would complement policies that were already in place and indicated that the industry had a responsibility to address the scourge, given the predominance of men.  Titled “Stop abuse of women”, the campaign spells out the potential consequences of abusive action.  MCSA chief executive Roger Baxter indicated that they were investigating setting up industry-level mechanisms for the safe reporting of incidents of violence and harassment, and guidelines to ensure a safe and comfortable working environment for women.  But, Livhuwani Mammburu, spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), said while the campaign was laudable, its timing was questionable.  Noting that sexual violence was rife in the industry, he asked why the council was launching a campaign against sexual violence after so many years.  Mammburu added that:  “We welcome any initiative that will address sexual harassment, because it is rife not only in the mining industry but in the construction industry as well. We also want mining companies to provide protective gear designed for women.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Dineo Faku at Business Report

UCT's tribunal cleaning up university's sexual offences cases

Cape Argus reports that in just over six months since it was formed, 68 cases have been reported to the University of Cape Town’s (UCT’s) sexual offences ad hoc tribunal (AHT) committee.  UCT deputy vice-chancellor for transformation, Professor Loretta Feris, advised that the AHT was put in place to expedite alleged cases of sexual offences, and to deal with the backlog.  Feris indicated that since beginning its work, the AHT had considered two categories of cases, namely 36 inherited from the Legal Services Office, and 32 reported since it came into effect.  Of the 36 backlogged cases reported prior to the AHT, 20 had been finalised and were off the tribunal court roll.  “The rest are ready to proceed to trial. Of the 32 cases that were reported post the establishment of the AHT, 11 were trial ready (pre-hearings have been concluded). Noting there was a period during which cases could not progress because of year-end examinations and vacation period, the AHT has made considerable progress on cases in a short space of time,” Feris stated.  She explained that the objectives of the AHT were, among others, to ensure the process was survivor-centred and streamlined, and that it used appropriately qualified and skilled staff in the assessment of cases.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sisonke Mlamla at Cape Argus


Prasa optimistic on Monday that City of Cape Town won’t cut its electricity supply

SABC News reports that the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) says it’s optimistic that the City of Cape Town will not cut electricity supply to train stations and other facilities.  This was said ahead of a meeting between the agency and the City to discuss a R114 million electricity debt.  The City had given Prasa until the weekend to pay its debt or face a disconnection of services by Monday.  Prasa spokesperson Makhosini Mgitywa indicated that they were making arrangements to pay off the debt and indicated:  “We have requested a meeting with them, where they are going to be met by the Prasa administrators. We are optimistic that during those engagements they are going to find each other. The City has said if we don’t pay by Friday they will cut us off today (Monday).”  Mgitywa added:  “We are optimistic they will not cut us off, because I think they will appreciate that even though the power that is going to be cut off is not power to the trains – it is power to the stations, among other facilities…”  Late last month, thousands of commuters were left stranded in Cape Town after Eskom cut electricity supply to Prasa’s train operations due to an unpaid electricity bill.  

Read the original of the above report at SABC News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Prasa ordered to pay fired security companies plus punitive costs, at The Citizen


  • Employees to get holding in R24.4bn PepsiCo/Pioneer deal, at Moneyweb
  • Public Enterprises unhappy with business rescue process for SA Express airline, at Engineering News


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