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, 13 October 2020.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

In yet another attack, Cape Town paramedics held up at gunpoint and robbed

TimesLIVE reports that three Cape Town ambulance staff members are receiving trauma counselling and have been booked off work after they were robbed at gunpoint while on their way to pick up patients.  The trio, a male and two women, was driving to the Khayelitsha community health centre at around 11am on Monday when three assailants flagged the ambulance down and then held them up with a gun.  A spokesperson for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) said two of the assailants flanked the vehicle from both the passenger and driver's sides while one stood in front of the vehicle with a gun pointed at the staff and “began to threaten the officials”.  The assailants demanded that the officials hand them their wallets and cellphones.  The male official was slapped after he begged the suspects to take the cash from his wallet, but to leave the wallet and his identification document behind.  The incident was reported to the police, and the area where it occurred has now been declared a temporary red zone area.  Dr Shaheem de Vries, EMS director, strongly condemned the high frequency of attacks on ambulance staff in the Western Cape and said:  “Although there are no serious physical injuries in most cases, these attacks leave EMS officials severely traumatised.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sipokazi Fokazi at TimesLIVE

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Two treated for smoke inhalation after Cape Gate Hospital in Brackenfell catches fire, at News24
  • CIT driver injured after gang of armed robbers attempt heist in Gugulethu, at Cape Argus


TERS BENEFITS

UIF running out of funds, although R3.2 billion has been recovered in Ters benefits paid in error

Moneyweb reports that officials, led by Deputy Auditor-General Tsakani Ratsela, told MPs last week that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) was running out of money, due to having to pay out Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) benefits.  In a report released last month, the Auditor-General outlined that Ters payments had been made to dead people, children, prisoners as well as foreigners who had not made contributions to the fund for 12 months.  This resulted in billions of rands being wasted.  Now news has surfaced that the fund will struggle to fulfil its mandate in future as the Covid-19-induced economic crisis deepens.  Fund spokesperson Makhosonke Buthelezi said he could not yet confirm how the UIF would prevent its funds from being depleted in the near future.  “The fund’s actuaries have been tasked to make an analysis of the financial health of the UIF and once done, they will make a presentation to Nedlac social partners.  And from there, various options of Ters funding will be discussed,” Buthelezi said.  On the flipside, the UIF has recovered R3.2 billion in Ters funds which were paid in error.  Buthelezi also said that investigations were continuing, and some applicants who defrauded the fund had already been arrested.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Melitta Ngalonkulu at Moneyweb


JOBLESSNESS CRISIS

Ramaphosa's economic recovery plan will deal with 2.2 million unemployed, says Nxesi

Independent News reports that Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi says that President Cyril Ramaphosa's economic recovery plan, to be tabled by the president in Parliament on Thursday, will deal with the rising unemployment in the country.  Nxesi was answering questions from MPs in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday on Covid-19 relief schemes.  But MPs were concerned that according to the latest figures from Statistics South Africa an additional 2.2m people had lost their jobs in the second quarter and wanted to know if Ramaphosa would address that issue.  Nxesi would not give details, but said this would form part of the recovery plan to be unveiled by Ramaphosa in the joint sitting of Parliament.  “I can say that the Presidency has consulted fully with all sections of government as well as all partners at Nedlac and indeed all partners; business, labour and community were specifically invited to make proposals.  From my side, I would add that in addition to the stimulus measures, there are plans for mass unemployment measures, but let us wait for the president to pronounce on that," said Nxesi.  He added that Covid-19 had caught the country and the world off guard.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard Siyabonga Mkhwanazi at Independent News


PUBLIC SECTOR WAGE INCREASES

Government and public sector unions both want salary increase case expedited

BL Premium reports that the state and public sector unions want the court case dealing with the dispute over the implementation of salary increases for government employees heard directly by the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) so that the case can be expedited.  In April, the state failed to implement a salary increase as laid down in the 2018 multi-year agreement, which gave rise to the case.  A date has not yet been set down by the Labour Court to hear it.  If the court agrees with the application brought by five public sector unions to enforce their contractual rights, the increases will cost R37.8bn, which the government argues it does not have.  The government has filed a counter-application to have the enforcement of the final leg of the agreement declared unconstitutional, which has resulted in arbitration being pushed to the side until there is an outcome to the case.  For now there is no clarity, and one of the concerns is that litigation will take years.  In the letter sent on behalf of the Department of Public Service & Administration, the state attorney said an expeditious resolution was “desirable and in the public interest”.  Meanwhile, unions are compiling their demands for the next round of wage negotiations.  They have not yet started but are likely to be heavily influenced by the dispute, in which it is argued that the state has acted in bad faith.

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


MINING LABOUR

Fall of ground incident claims two lives at Harmony’s Tshepong mine

Mining Weekly reports that two of the employees of Harmony Gold Mining Company died at the gold producer’s Tshepong mine, in Welkom, in the Free State on the morning of 10 October.  The deaths occurred following a fall-of-ground-related incident.  Operations at the mine have been suspended and an investigation into the cause of the incident is under way.  Expressing his “sincerest condolences to our colleagues’ family, friends and colleagues”, Harmony CE Peter Steenkamp added:  “We believe our proactive safety culture that has been reinforced through various initiatives is the responsibility of each and every one of our stakeholders at Harmony.  We must all continue making every effort to ensure a safe working place and that we reach our goal of zero harm across all our operations.”

Read the original of the report in the above regard at Mining Weekly

DMRE to intensify safety inspections at mines in final months of the year

Mining Weekly reports that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has urged mining companies to put more focus on the health and safety of mineworkers during the final few months of the year.  It pointed out that fatalities were traditionally higher during this time.  The department said its inspectorate would intensify the monitoring and evaluation of the mine health and safety management systems through inspections and audits for the remainder of the year.  “All mineworkers and supervisors are reminded that unsafe work practices can be fatal and may lead to undesirable circumstances.  Wherever there is non-compliance to the regulations and a threat to the health and safety of any persons at mines, the department will not hesitate to issue instructions as guided by the Mine Health and Safety Act,” the department emphasised.  The DMRE said it would ensure that mines put in place shift fatigue management systems that were continuously monitored and that drug and alcohol tests were done frequently during afternoon and night shifts.  In cases where arrangements were in place for workers to work overtime, managers had to ensure proper supervision and that measures were in place to prevent accidents.

Read the original of the report in the above regard at Mining Weekly


MARIKANA DEATHS

Marikana trial postponed on Monday after court interpreter falls ill

News24 reports that the murder trial against a former North West deputy police commissioner and five other officers was postponed in the North West High Court in Mahikeng on Monday after an interpreter fell ill.  The accused face charges relating to events that took place three days prior to the Marikana massacre on 16 September 2012.  Earlier, retired police officer Rapheso Masinya continued his testimony that on 13 August 2012 he filmed part of the events that took place on that day at Lonmin Mine’s K3 shaft.  Mpembe and fellow officers Salmon Vermaak, Nkosana Mguye, Collin Mogale, Joseph Sekgwetla, and Khazamola Makhubela have all pleaded not guilty.  Mpembe is facing four counts of murder and five charges of attempted murder.  Mpembe and Vermaak are each facing a charge of defeating the ends of justice and another of giving false information under oath before the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the Marikana massacre.  A sixth count of attempted murder was earlier withdrawn against Mpembe.  Vermaak, Mguye, Mogale, Sekgwetla, and Makhubela are only facing one count of murder.  The trial was expected to continue on Tuesday.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ntwaagae Seleka at News24


HIGHER EDUCATION / NSFAS

Nehawu and NSFAS clash over lack of improvement under administrator’s tenure

Cape Argus writes that the battle is on between the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and the administrator of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).  The union has submitted to MPs a wide-ranging list of allegations and claims that since the appointment of the administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen, there have no significant improvements at the entity and it was in a far worse state.  In its submission to the portfolio committee on higher education, science and technology, Nehawu alleged that Carolissen had appointed his friends and associates to senior positions, without following proper recruitment procedures in some instances.  The union also claimed Carolissen was engaged in a reign of terror at the entity, as he victimised and purged targeted employees, especially those who refused to participate in his unlawful activities, and that there was non-compliance with statutory requirements.  According to Nehawu’s Eric Kweleta, the extension of Carolissen’s term for four months from September to December had been done “silently”, without notice and without consultation with stakeholders.  Committee chairperson Philly Mapulane said the allegations were of grave concern.  Carolissen told the committee that while he did not agree with the allegations, he would co-operate with any legitimate process.

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


DISCRIMINATION

Human Rights Commission finds no evidence of religious discrimination against ZCC members in Limpopo premier's office

News24 reports that Limpopo deputy director-general Nana Manamela has been cleared by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) of allegations of practising religious discrimination in the office of the premier.  The commission's provincial manager, Victor Mavhidula, said this week that the allegations could not be substantiated:  "We did not find any evidence to substantiate the allegations. We interviewed all the relevant people involved, including the deputy director-general and the [trade] union."  The commission launched its investigation after complaints by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) that Manamela, who is in charge of corporate management services in the office of the premier, was practising discrimination against staff members who belonged to the Zion Christian Church (ZCC).  Manamela was alleged to have told some staff members that she did not want "members of the ZCC in the office".  Nehawu branch chairperson Norman Mavhunga expressed shock that the investigation was completed and its outcome made public without the knowledge of the union.  He said the only time the union was consulted by the commission during the investigation was when it was requested to avail witnesses during the lockdown period.  He described the investigation as "totally unfair" because not all witnesses, including union officials, had been interviewed.  "The information available was deliberately ignored by the commission," Mavhunga charged.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Russel Molefe at News24


DISMISSALS

Parktown Boys’ High School principal fired, but family of dead pupil says it’s not enough

TimesLIVE reports that according to the family of Enock Mpianzi, the firing of Parktown Boys' High School principal Malcolm Williams on Monday was not enough.  A family spokesperson said:  “The family welcomes the dismissal but feel it's too little, too late.  The family wants justice and the principal's dismissal is not justice.”  Thirteen-year-old Mpianzi died at a lodge near Brits during a school orientation camp.  Williams was charged with three allegations of misconduct emanating from the incident on 15 January 2020.  He allegedly undertook or caused the school to undertake an excursion to the lodge without prior approval.  A second allegation was that he failed to ensure that a correct roll-call was taken of all pupils who went on the excursion.  The final allegation was that he endangered the lives of the learners by disregarding safety rules and regulations, in that he failed to ensure that all learners who were to participate in the water activities were provided with life jackets.  The principal was found guilty of the first two allegations, and subsequently not guilty of the third allegation.  Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona indicated:  “The presiding officer has, after careful consideration of mitigating and aggravating circumstances, dismissed him accordingly.  Therefore, he has a right to appeal to the MEC against the findings within five working days of his receiving the dismissal notice.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kgaugelo Masweneng at TimesLIVE. See too, Parktown Boys principal Malcolm Williams fired by GDE after Enock Mpianzi death, at EWN


CORRUPTION / FRAUD

Deputy national police commissioner for human resources, Bonang Mgwenya, faces corruption trial in November

BL Premium reports that Lt-Gen Bonang Mgwenya, deputy national commissioner for human resources management at the SA Police Service (SAPS), was arrested in a predawn raid on Monday by the prosecuting authority’s Investigating Directorate (ID).  She appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court later on charges of corruption, fraud, theft and money laundering and was released on bail of R20,000.  Mgwenya is suspect number 13 in the case in which her co-accused include former national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and former Gauteng police commissioner Deliwe de Lange.  Nine of the 13 suspects are or were police officers.  Mgwenya’s co-accused were arrested in March 2019 after an investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).  The case relates to the supply of emergency warning equipment, or so-called blue lights, for SAPS vehicles in 2016 and 2017.  Among other benefits, Mgwenya was allegedly assisted financially with the purchase of a luxury car.  The trial is set to take place between 16 November and 10 December.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Claudi Mailovich at BusinessLive (paywall access only). Read too, 'I know that I am innocent', says top cop Bonang Mgwenya in her founding affidavit, at News24


SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Gauteng MPL accuses DA interim provincial leader Solly Msimanga of sexual harassment

Independent News reports that a top Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) in Gauteng claims that the party is trying to discredit her after she pressed sexual harassment charges against Solly Msimanga, who is the party’s interim provincial leader.  The MPL claims that the conduct of the party has forced her to ditch the internal process and approach the SA Police Service (SAPS) to open a sexual harassment case against Msimanga.  This came after Mike Moriarty, the DA’s chairperson in Gauteng, issued a statement to confirm that the MPL had opened a case against Msimanga.  What angered the complainant was that Moriarty questioned the veracity of the complaint and her motives.  Moriarty said in his statement:  “This complaint has been lodged with the party and is being dealt with through our party’s internal processes.  It is alleged that the sexual harassment occurred seven years ago.  The timing of reporting this incident raises questions about the veracity of the complaint.  Furthermore, it should be noted that the complainant is undergoing a serious disciplinary hearing.”  In a rebuttal, the MPL said this statement had forced her hand and that she would be withdrawing the internal complaint and would instead be opening a sexual harassment case with the SAPS “in the interest of fairness and justice.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sihle Mavuso at Independent News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • KwaZulu-Natal cop accused of raping woman at police station, at News24


OTHER HEADLINES OF INTEREST

  • Protesting MKMVA members fuming after Makhura fails to accept memorandum, at Independent News
  • Bolt and Uber claim it was business as usual on Monday as drivers strike, at BusinessLive

 


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