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
Thursday, 10 September 2020.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Video footage shows Polokwane municipal worker who seized a truck, driving over officer and killing him

TimesLIVE reports that dramatic video footage has emerged of the moment a Polokwane municipal worker who had locked himself inside a truck drove over a municipal law-enforcement officer, killing him.  Limpopo police confirmed that a 36-year-old employee at the municipality in Ladanna, who was armed with a dangerous weapon, locked himself inside a truck and “manifested violent behaviour” on the premises on 7 August.  Police were called to the scene and on arrival, the man “swerved the truck”, hitting seven motor vehicles that were parked in the premises, including two police vehicles.  Police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo explained further:  “When other employees tried to find out what was going on, he suddenly started jerkily driving the truck, in the process running over a 36-year-old municipal law-enforcement officer several times.  He thereafter lost control of the vehicle and hit the wall of the building and was injured.”  The employee was arrested and taken to hospital under police guard.  The law-enforcement officer who was driven over, who has been identified as Rassie Smith, died in hospital on the same day.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Iavan Pijoos and watch the video footage at TimesLIVE

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • The world calls them heroes, but at work SA's doctors are bullied, at TimesLIVE


POST-COVID 19 ECONOMIC RECOVERY

Ramaphosa says PPE corruption akin to murder, calls for procurement overhaul and “actionable” recovery plans

Fin24 reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa told the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) on Wednesday that the government procurement system must be overhauled.  He equated corruption scandals and over-inflating of prices relating to personal protective equipment (PPE) to "murder".  Speaking on SA’s economic recovery, the president said SA had entered a "new era" for implementation, with a timeline of just two to three weeks for formulating an economic recovery plan.  Ramaphosa's address came on the back of an annualised 51% quarterly contraction in SA's GDP.  The president said government was working on "actionable plans" in its drive for economic reforms, including a mass employment scheme.  He said infrastructure investment would be crucial to recovery:  "We have identified some key projects across provinces to embark on.  Some are almost ready and will create quite a number of jobs.  We are also working on programmes aimed at creating mass employment."  But while the president was clear on the objectives for recovery, funding was a thornier question.  He said he wished he could lay out a trillion rand for job protection and job creation, “but we have to make do with what we have. We are going to have to cut our coat according to the size of the cloth we have."

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Government is talking about moving to level 1 lockdown soon, Zweli Mkhize says, at BusinessLive
  • Airbnbs, guest houses say it could take years to recover from Covid-19 lockdown, at Cape Argus
  • SA construction sector looks set for bumper fourth quarter, says Afrimat, at BusinessLive
  • Seifsa joins forces with manufacturing industry veteran Leon Viljoen to support SMEs, at Engineering News


JOB CREATION

Suppliers commit R4.3bn to establishing operations in Tshwane Automotive SEZ, with thousands of jobs set to be created

Moneyweb reports that more than R4.3 billion is to be invested in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) by 12 Ford suppliers and related services companies that have committed to establishing operations in the SEZ (Special Economic Zone).  Ford’s Dhiren Vanmali confirmed this on Tuesday, adding that another 10 Ford suppliers and services companies were showing keen interest in establishing operations in the SEZ.  The full and final list of investors has not yet been released.  The TASEZ was launched in November 2019 by President Cyril Ramaphosa, when it was announced that R3.5 billion would be invested by the government in developing the SEZ in Silverton in Pretoria.  The number of estimated jobs to be created in the first phase has been amended since the launch, with a statement issued on Tuesday stating:  “The TASEZ is estimated to create over 8,700 jobs during the construction of the first phase of the project, with around 2,100 permanent jobs for operations.”  The statement went on to indicate:  “Thousands of additional jobs will be added as it evolves into a multi-faceted hub designed to bolster the manufacturing capacity and global competitiveness of the South African automotive industry, while contributing to job creation, skills development and the economic upliftment of local communities.”

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


MINING LABOUR

Portion of BHP CEO’s bonus to be linked to progress on lowering greenhouse gas emissions

Bloomberg reports that BHP is to link a portion of bonus payments for CEO Mike Henry and key leaders to progress by the world’s top miner on lowering greenhouse gas emissions at both its own operations and those of its customers.  Henry, promoted in January, and others will have 10% of short-term incentive payments tied to measures to curb emissions across its supply chain, including through the use of its iron ore and coking coal in a steel-making sector that accounts for about 7% of all global emissions.  BHP will seek to help the steel industry reduce emissions intensity by 30% by 2030 and aims to support a similar cut of 40% in the maritime sector, the Melbourne-based company said on Thursday in a statement.  The miner’s plans compare to rival Rio Tinto Group’s intention to cut absolute emissions at its operations by 15% by 2030 from 2018 levels.  BHP offered little new detail on its plans to help customers curb their emissions, though reiterated it would invest in the development of new technologies, including carbon capture and storage projects.  The company also acknowledged it faced a complex task to decarbonise its vast truck fleet.

Read the full original of the informative report in the above regard by David Stringer at BusinessLive

The one time Neal Froneman feared for the future of Sibanye-Stillwater was in 2018 when 21 miners were killed

Miningmx reports that two years ago Neal Froneman thought Sibanye-Stillwater might be in financial trouble following a series of fatal accidents in his company’s gold mines.  “It was the safety issues in 2018 that really put us on the back foot,” he said in response to a question during the Joburg Indaba PGM day, an online conference.  Twenty one miners died in Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein and Kloof mines west of Johannesburg in 2018 following seismic events.  At the time it represented half of all fatalities in SA’s mining sector and, whilst the company’s production was not heavily disrupted, the safety incidents contributed towards a 42% decline in the firm’s share price, which was already weighed down by high debt and uncertainty about a merger with Lonmin.  “My advice would be that in taking on debt make sure you have got enough capacity to deal with it,” Froneman told the conference.  Today, having bedded down the acquisitions, including Lonmin, and reduced net debt, the firm’s share price has all but matched its previous record high.  Sibanye-Stillwater has also reinstated the dividend as part of a strategy to reward shareholders for their patience as the firm repositioned itself as a platinum group metal (PGM) and gold producer.

Read the full original of the informative report in the above regard by David McKay at Miningmx


BUSINESS RESCUE / RESTRUCTURING

SAA business rescuers give a deadline for government funding

BL Premium reports that the business rescue practitioners (BRPs) for South African Airways (SAA) have called time in the ongoing rescue saga, warning that if government funding to restart the state-owned airline is not in hand by next week, they will be forced to go back to the drawing board.  This would again place SAA in danger of liquidation, a fate the government has tried hard to avoid.  Liquidation would also not be to the advantage of employees whose retrenchment pay would be capped.  The government has promised “to mobilise funding” for the airline, which requires R10.1bn to settle outstanding obligations, pay retrenchment packages and restart operations.  But, the Treasury has advised that no resources for SAA were available from the fiscus.  Instead, the Department of Public Enterprises has been trying to attract an equity partner and arrange finance from other quarters.  In a notice to creditors and affected people posted on their website, the BRPs wrote:  “Should the practitioners not be satisfied that sufficient progress has been made for the timeous advancing of the funding, a meeting of creditors will be convened on September 18 to engage with affected persons on the issue and the proposed way forward, taking into account all the relevant factors.”

Read the full original of the informative report in the above regard by Carol Paton at BusinessLive (paywall access only)


FAKE QUALIFICATIONS

Mogalakwena deputy manager accused of misrepresenting his qualifications

The Citizen reports that Jabu Mashamaite, deputy manager of corporate services at the Mogalakwena local municipality in Limpopo, has been accused of misrepresenting his qualifications when he was appointed some four years ago.   Mayor Andrina Matsemela made the announcement on Tuesday when presenting the public protector’s report on investigations into allegations of Mashamaite’s irregular appointment.  During a recent interview, Mashamaite, who is also a Waterberg ANC regional executive committee member, claimed he had all that was required in accordance with the advertisement for the post and was ready to prove it.  He claimed that the allegations were concocted by his political foes who were hell bent on tarnishing his image.  Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Korney Dekker said on Wednesday:  “The report confirms our months-long doubt, indicating the municipality irregularly shortlisted, interviewed and appointed Mashamaite.”  Dekker added:  “Mashamaite was shortlisted although he did not meet minimum requirements.  The report also indicates he did not even attach copies of his qualifications as required.  What is even more shocking is that the municipality received 40 applications and 28 of them had degrees in administration or law (as required in the advert), while Mashamaite had none.”

Read the full original of the informative report in the above regard by Alex Matlala on page 6 of The Citizen of 10 September 2020


REMUNERATION / SALARY CUTS

Court rules for 20 social development staffers whose salaries were cut

TimesLIVE reports that twenty Eastern Cape Department of Social Development (DSW) staffers, working from home since February 2019 when toxic formaldehyde gas leaked into their offices, had to turn to the court to stop the department from suddenly docking their salaries during lockdown.  The High Court in East London granted an interdict earlier in September.  The social work managers had to vacate their offices in the Beacon Bay building due to the health hazard caused by the leaking gas, for what was to have been an initial period of six months, until the public works department had acquired alternative office space for them.  As the DSW provided neither guidance nor support on the work-from-home regime, the staffers had to use their personal cellphones and data and, by January 2020, they raised their working from home as a grievance.  On 15 May, the DSW withdrew the authority to work from home, but did not indicate a place to which the employees had to report for work.  In June, the DSW ramped up its action by stating that a disciplinary investigation would be implemented and later by indicating that “leave without pay” would be enforced for the period from 18 May to 19 June.  It advised that an amount owing to the DSW for this period, totalling R96,582 for each staff member, would be deducted in 12 monthly instalments from July.  The High Court ordered the DSW to stop the deductions until a court had reviewed its decision.

Read the full original of the informative report in the above regard by Ray Hartle at TimesLIVE


STATE HEALTH CARE / NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

DA’s national oversight tour finds severe staff shortages, lack of beds at state hospitals

The Citizen reports that the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) national oversight tour to healthcare facilities uncovered severe staff shortages, lack of critical care beds and Gauteng spending millions on procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) from companies that did not comply with regulations or simply failed to deliver.  DA chairperson Natasha Mazzone noted that while R5 billion was lost or misappropriated due to corruption and irregular tender processes, Gauteng also awarded millions of rands worth of tenders irregularly.  According to Mazzone, R4.5 million was paid to companies that did not supply any goods; R5 million was paid for PPE without contracts put in place; R12 million worth of goods were delivered without purchase orders; R82 million worth of supplies were ordered from companies which were not registered with National Treasury’s central supplier database; and R239 million worth of PPE was ordered from companies that were not tax-compliant and with unverified bank accounts.  This has further motivated the party to dismiss the proposed National Health Insurance Bill (NHI).  The DA contends that a compelling case has been made for the rejection of the Bill in its current form by the weakness shown by the health system over the past six months since the outbreak of Covid-19.  Discussions about the NHI Bill will continue in parliament in the coming weeks as the portfolio committee of health resumes the legislative process.

Read the full original of the informative report in the above regard by Rorisang Kgosana on page 2 of The Citizen of 10 September 2020


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Ramaphosa removes Patricia De Lille's powers to discipline suspended public works DG Sam Vukela

News24 reports that Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) Minister Patricia de Lille no longer has the mandate to discipline suspended public works director-general Sam Vukela after President Cyril Ramaphosa withdrew her delegated powers and granted it to Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.  This led to Vukela's court application to interdict his pending disciplinary inquiry being removed from the roll in the High Court in Pretoria.  In his explanatory affidavit on behalf of Ramaphosa, the presidency's principal state law advisor, Geofrey Mphaphuli, said Ramaphosa removed De Lille as the delegated authority after considering Vukela's application and because he believed this would be in the best interest of all parties and would “ensure that the disciplinary process is fair and seen to be fair and that it can proceed in order to have finality on the allegations made against the applicant."  Vukela was suspended after a forensic report implicated him in allegations of fraudulent contract management and irregular payments in the planning of three state funerals.  Vukela, in turn, claimed that De Lille gave him unlawful instructions and his refusal to execute those instructions caused friction between the two.  Ramaphosa's appointment of Mthembu to oversee the disciplinary process would ensure the process ran smoothly, Mphaphuli told the court.

Read the full original of the informative report in the above regard by Jason Felix at News24


SEXUAL MISCONDUCT / ABUSE

Ngqushwa councillor in Eastern Cape accused of demanding sex for job

GroundUp reports that about 150 angry residents and members of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) marched to the municipal offices of Ngqushwa, near Peddie in the Eastern Cape, on Tuesday.  They were demanding that the Ward 8 Councillor, Lungephi Moyeni, be removed from office with immediate effect.  This came after a sound clip emerged on social media in which Moyeni is purportedly heard asking a former Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) worker to lower her underwear for him.  Nokonwaba Mbotyana, the EPWP worker, said the incident happened in April and she reported it, but nothing happened.  The recording was played at the march in the presence of municipality officials.  While the request for sex is clear on the tape, there is no explicit demand that it would be in exchange for a job.  But Mbotyana claimed that this was said in the context of her wanting a job.  Municipal Speaker Sanga Maneli confirmed that a letter of complaint had been received on 23 April, but because of the Covid-19 lockdown, the petition management committee could not meet.  Maneli explained that before the councillor could be removed, there had to be an investigation into the allegations.  He undertook to revert in seven days.  

Read the full original of the informative report in the above regard by Yamkela Ntshongwana at GroundUp

Sexual harassment rife in South African and Nigerian media industry

The Star reports that findings contained in a recently-released study conducted by academics from the City, University of London indicate that 57.5% of South African women and 38% of women from Nigeria have experienced sexual harassment in the respective countries’ newsrooms.  Some 90% of the women who suffered sexual harassment in the media industry didn’t report the abuse “out of fear of retaliation from their organisations or their perpetrators”.  The multi-documented report, compiled by Dr Lindsey Blumell, PhD, and Dinfin Mulupi, was based on interviews with 136 news professionals in 2018, 9% of whom indicated that they had been sexually abused at least five times at their places of work.  Mulupi, who is pursuing a PhD at the University of Maryland, said her study indicated “widespread sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the media workplace in South Africa and Nigeria”.  She went on to state:  “We hope that these findings and data will clarify the extent of the problem of sexism and sexual harassment in the media workplace and the responsibility for organisations to create a safe working environment for their staff members.  We would like as many people as possible in the industry to be informed on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the media workplace and ways to eradicate the same.”  Solutions from participants mainly focused on promoting more women to managerial positions and newsroom training.

Read the full original of the informative report in the above regard by Khaya Koko on page 3 of The Star of 10 September 2020

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Five working cars for 25 detectives, one cellphone and no airtime show the plight of cops working at Inanda, SA’s ’rape capital’, at Daily News


OTHER HEADLINES OF INTEREST

  • Eskom's ex-chair says suspension of key executives was likely orchestrated by Guptas, at News24
  • Former Eskom chair Zola Tsotsi says Lynne Brown and Guptas forced him out, at BusinessLive
  • Deputy head at East Rand school removed for offensive and derogatory remarks to a pupil for wearing a summer dress, on page 6 of Sowetan of 10 September 2020
  • Appeals court rules against Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa, who must resign or get axed, on page 4 of Sowetan of 10 September 2020

 


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