news shutterstockIn our afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Thursday, 21 June 2018.


Malmesbury train driver's teen killers get maximum sentences of 25-years in jail

News24 reports that the convicted killers of Malmesbury train driver Piet Botha received the maximum possible sentences for crimes committed by minors, during sentencing in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.  The two were previously found guilty of murdering Botha at the Netreg station in broad daylight in July 2016.  Jatheme Hamid and Dorian Diedericks, both minors at the time, shot and killed Botha on the platform, before robbing him of his cellphone and bag.  Video footage showed a helpless and defenceless Botha fall to the ground following an initial scuffle near his driver's door on the platform.  The two, now 18 and 19, received 20 years for murder, 12 years for robbery, eight years for possession of an illegal firearm, three years for gang-related charges and two years for possession of illegal ammunition.  Three of the counts will run concurrently, resulting in an effective 25 years in prison.  A third man, 39-year-old Cedric Andrews, was found guilty of possessing an illegal firearm and ammunition, and was sentenced to an effective eight years in prison.  The judge said the court had to send a strong message to both the public, who demanded justice, and other "like-minded individuals" considering similar gang-related crimes.

Read this report by Paul Herman in full at News24. Read too, Where does one go from here, slain train driver's wife laments after killers get 25 years, at News24

Tshwane prevented from delivering services due to attacks on staff members

The Citizen reports that City of Tshwane officials have been exposed to danger while attempting to deliver services to communities, with the latest attack being on a plumbing team that was pelted with bricks in Atteridgeville.  The team was attending to a blocked manhole in Saulsville last week when members were attacked with bricks and stones by a group of residents.  The employees had to take cover inside a municipal vehicle and sped off when the angry crowd started hurling objects at the truck.  In another incident in the area, workers from the parks division were threatened and stopped from cutting grass at the Mbolekwa sports facility by a group who called themselves the “Business Forum”.  The City strongly condemned the attacks on its personnel and said it could not dispatch employees to be attacked, harassed and threatened by the community they were trying to assist.  “It said it would be looking at ways of enlisting the services of the Tshwane metro police and possibly the police to assist.

Read this report by Rorisang Kgosana in full at The Citizen. Read too, City of Tshwane condemns attacks on employees, at News24

Emergency personnel union condemns burning of ambulance at Northam in Limpopo

ANA reports that the South African Emergency Personnel’s Union (Saepu) on Thursday condemned the attack, assault and burning of an ambulance at Northam in Limpopo early on Thursday morning.  According to a Saepu statement, EMS crew members on night duty were left injured and were being treated at Thabazimbi hospital after they were targeted during a service delivery protest.  “It is very sad and scary because their lives are threatened and are in a serious danger.  Saepu is hurt by the situations that personnel find themselves in because they suffer and this becomes an everyday thing whereby the Department of Health does not bring up an amicable way of minimising the incidents that take place in the EMS section,” the union stated.  It added that it would be engaging with the Health MEC and other relevant bodies over the issue.

A short report is at The Citizen

Security at Mpumalanga hospitals and clinics to be beefed up after patient stabs nurse

Afro Voice reports that the Mpumalanga department of health has promised to strengthen its security measures at hospitals and clinics in the entire province.  This undertaking came after a nurse was stabbed on Monday in the neck by a patient she had been attending to at a clinic in Glenmore near Carolina.  The nurse was taken to a nearby hospital where she was treated and discharged.  Almost a month ago, a doctor was also attacked and killed at Tinstwalo Hospital near Bushbuckridge.  A few years ago, another young medical doctor was stabbed to death by a patient at Middelburg Hospital.  Health spokesperson Dumisani Malamule said they were concerned about attacks on staff members.  Malamule added:  The incident happened after armed guards were placed at our institutions and we are planning to intensify security as this is a matter of serious concern.”  The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA’s (Denosa’s) provincial secretary, Mzwandile Shongwe, said the incident was disturbing because Denosa had always said security guards must do their work and now it had been proven their members were unsafe.  “As Denosa, we call on the provincial government to allow the department of health to manage the safety of facilities.  We call on the department of health to stop outsourcing security as most of these are always found wanting and not well resourced, let alone efficient.”

Read more of this Afro Voice report by France Nyaka at SA Labour News. Read Denosa’s press statement in this regard at Cosatu News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • 'There are people that are robbing us with guns', traumatised teachers at Strand school screamed, at News24


Sibanye-Stillwater appoints safety executive, to fund study to enhance risk management

Mining Weekly reports that following a spate of fatalities at its SA mines this year, Sibanye-Stillwater has appointed Dr Kobus de Jager as corporate head of safety, with a mandate to review and enhance the company’s safety management.  He holds a visiting adjunct professorship at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and has over 40 years’ experience in mine safety with academic and practical credentials in leadership and behavioural safety.  The precious metals producer has also committed to funding an independent study, to be conducted by a visiting academic at Wits, with the aim of developing practical recommendations for enhancing risk management effectiveness at Sibanye’s operations.  This work, which forms part of a wider study on the origins and impact of the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA), will be performed through the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry.    Meanwhile, Sibanye has urged employees to make use of formal grievance procedures and an anonymous tip-off system to report incidents of being forced to work if it is unsafe or if they are victimised for refusing to work if it is unsafe.  “Any supervisor who has been found to force workers to work in unsafe conditions is liable to disciplinary action,” the company stated.

Read this report in full at Mining Weekly. Read Sibanye-Stillwater’s press statement in this regard at Moneyweb

Mosebenzi Zwane responsible for increase in mine accidents, NUM says

BusinessLive reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has blamed a spike in mining accidents that have resulted in dozens of deaths on failures perpetuated by former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane.  The union’s general secretary, David Sipunzi, said on Thursday that Zwane’s lack of leadership had driven experienced inspectors out of the department, exposing employees to unsafe working conditions.  He was presenting the organisation’s secretariat report at the NUM’s national congress in Boksburg.  Sipunzi stated:  "During the years from 2016 to 2018, the mining industry saw the worst kind of leadership by the then minister Zwane."  The report by Sipunzi showed that there were 86 fatal accidents reported in the mining industry in 2017.  Data suggested that the sector was increasing the record for "killing workers in the line of duty", he stated.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana at BusinessLive

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Memorial service held on Wednesday for five miners who died at Sibanye-Stillwater, at EWN
  • Sibanye-Stillwater offers families of Ikamva victims income replacement plan, at EWN
  • Families of Sibanye miners want R2-million each, at eNCA
  • Carletonville, the ghost town at the heart of an industry in its death throes, at BusinessLive

Postings on Mining Charter

  • Draft Mining Charter will hold industry back, impose burdens, reckons IRR, at Fin24


Chaotic scenes on first day of NUM’s national congress

Sowetan reports that factional battles over leadership choices at the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spilled out into the open at its hotly contested elective national congress that got under way in Boksburg on Wednesday.  There were chaotic scenes as delegates fought over who should attend the congress.  A call by NUM president Piet Matosa for delegates to stop howling fell on deaf ears as they shouted “voetsek” when NUM deputy president Joseph Montisetsi tried to clarify the issue of credentials.  The disbandment of the Rustenburg regional executive committee also appeared to be at the centre of divisions and infighting within the union.  Matosa supporters accused NUM general secretary David Sipunzi of “antagonising” the Rustenburg region because it was backing Matosa to retain his position as the union’s president.  Sipunzi pointed out the decision to disband the Rustenburg region had been taken by the national executive committee.  Carletonville regional secretary Mbuyiseni Hibana said the congress faced the risk of collapsing, while Highveld regional secretary Tshilidzi Mathava reckoned the congress was likely to be interdicted by Rustenburg leaders.  The congress ends on Friday.

Read more of this Sowetan report by Ngwako Modjadji at SA Labour News.   Read too, NUM elective congress off to a chaotic start, at Timeslive

NUM forced to confront uncomfortable debt issues and membership losses

BusinessLive writes that the former leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) left the organisation almost in tatters, with large amounts of debt and dwindling membership when they vacated office in 2015.  This forced NUM to dip into its reserves, spending R40m to pay creditors who were threatening to attach its property, according to the union’s secretariat report presented at the national congress which got underway on Wednesday evening.  In the report drafted by general secretary David Sipunzi, the union said that although it had settled the debt it found, cost cutting measures had had to be effected to stabilise the organisation that operated on a deficit budget three years ago.  Mass retrenchments in the mining sector and union infighting were blamed for membership losses and the resultant reduction in subscription income.  Sipunzi defeated former general secretary Frans Baleni at the 2015 congress.  The union’s president Piet Matosa, a Baleni allay, located the union’s challenges in its failure to adapt.  He said in his foreword to the report that NUM could not hide that they were losing members not only through retrenchments, but also because it had no membership retrieval strategy integrated into its recruitment, services and retention tactics in an ever changing world of work.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Marikana proves costly for once-mighty NUM, at SA Labour News


Nelson Mandela Metro tables offer in bid to resolve crippling strike over bonus backpay

HeraldLive reports that the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro has finally tabled an offer to its two municipal unions in an effort to break the back of the crippling strike in the city.  But this is likely to add further strain to the massive deficit the Bay is facing.  The offer now on the table is for employees with between 12 and 17 years’ service to be paid a once-off R8,000 in backpay, those with between 18 and 23 years’ service to get R12,000 and those with 24 years’ service and more to receive R16,000.  Imatu’s Churchill Mothapo and Samwu’s Mqondisi Nodongwe confirmed they had received the offer and said they would consult their members before heading back to the bargaining table with their employer on Thursday.  The unions have been demanding that 2,689 municipal workers each be paid a R30,000 settlement for outstanding long-service bonuses.  The municipality is meanwhile seeking an urgent court interdict to compel workers to stick to the agreed picketing rules and to ensure that essential services are not disrupted.  The week-long municipal strike has paralysed services, with pockets of protests flaring up on Wednesday because of power outages.  Meanwhile, the bonus backpay dispute was the bone of contention in the council on Wednesday, and ultimately caused the meeting to collapse.

Read more of this report by Siyamtanda Capa, Nomazima Nkosi & Hendrick Mphande at SA Labour News. Read too, No deal on Wednesday in week-long Nelson Mandela Bay municipal strike, at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Fort Hare SRC concerned about effect of strike on students, at EWN
  • Should teaching be considered ‘an essential service’? at EWN


Unions reject Eskom’s 4.7% wage increase offer, make counter-proposal

BusinessLive reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa)‚ the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Solidarity have rejected Eskom’s offer of a 4.7% wage hike.  The three unions said in a joint media statement on Wednesday that they had made a counter-proposal to Eskom that would meet their wage demands and rescue the power utility from its financial crisis.  "We will not divulge details of the proposal we made to Eskom because this is delicate process.  We want to avoid a situation where we bargain through the media," the statement indicated.  The unions met with Eskom on Wednesday for a second day of resumed wage negotiations.  On Tuesday‚ Eskom offered a four-year wage deal, with a 4.7% wage increase for 2018 and an inflation-based increase for every year thereafter.  Wage negotiations will resume on Thursday.

Read this report by Nico Gous at BusinessLive

Eskom wage negotiations enter final day on Thursday

ANA reports that wage negotiations between Eskom and trade unions entered their third and final day on Thursday after workers rejected the 4.7% wage offer from the embattled state-owned power utility.  Trade unions on Wednesday said they had presented a consolidated wage proposal to Eskom following talks having resumed for a second day this week after Eskom agreed to withdraw its zero percent wage offer from the table.  The unions would not divulge details of the offer, saying it was a “delicate process” which should not be negotiated in the media.  But it is believed that unions tabled a long list of demands, which included a 9% wage hike for 2018, and 8.6% and 8.5% for the following two years.  Workers also want a R1,000 housing allowance in 2018 and performance bonuses for 2017-18.  On Thursday, Eskom was expected to give feedback on the proposals made jointly by all unions.

Read this report in full at The Citizen. Read too, Eskom wage talks go on as unions reject 4.7% increase offer, at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Citizens pay the price for Eskom power struggle, at BusinessLive


Van Reenen's Pass reopened after protest over wages and foreign truck drivers

eNCA reports that all lanes going in both directions at Van Reenen’s Pass between Harrismith and Tugela Plaza/Ladysmith were re-opened to traffic again on Thursday morning.  The N3 freeway, linking Johannesburg and Durban, had been blocked by truck drivers at Van Reenen's Pass on Wednesday.  South African truck drivers were protesting over a wage dispute and also against the employment of foreigners.  The N3 Toll Concession said between 60 and 70 trucks had to be towed away after protestors blocked the national route.  Heavy vehicles were stacked over at least a 10km distance in both directions of the N3 Toll Route in the vicinity of Van Reenen.  Large volumes of traffic were also diverted away from the area.  Emergency services cleared the northbound section for traffic on Wednesday night and re-opened the southbound lanes on Thursday morning

Read this report in full at eNCA. Read too, N3 reopened after blockade by angry protesters, at The Citizen. And also, Blocking highways is economic sabotage, says Cabinet, at The Citizen

As N3 Van Reenen's blockade is cleared, 62 protestors arrested

News24 reports that sixty-two people have been arrested as the N3 at Van Reenen's pass was reopened on Thursday after a blockade by truck drivers on Wednesday closed the national route.  They would be charged with public violence and obstructing traffic, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Thursday.  The blockade on the pass caused a backup kilometres long.  Transport Minister Blade Nzimande on Wednesday likened the blockade of national routes to "sabotage".  A provincial department of transport official was sent to the scene to establish what the drivers' grievances were and it was established that the issue was around the employment of foreign drivers at lower rates, raising the potential for exploitation.  The labour department will apparently be asked to look into the matter, which had already been raised by the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu).  The union said on Wednesday its members were not party to the blockade, but it had told its bargaining council about the problem.  Comment was not immediately available from the blockade organisers.  Nzimande is expecting a full report on the blockade and arrests soon.

Read this report by Jenni Evans in full at News24. Read too, Dozens arrested in protest at Van Reenen’s Pass, at BusinessLive


Department of Public Enterprises says SA Express employees will get June salaries

Business Report writes that SA Express employees would get their June salaries, the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) said on Wednesday night.  “SA Express employees were informed (on Wednesday) that they don’t need to worry about their salaries not being paid for June 2018,” the DPE indicated in a statement.  It added that an intervention team from the DPE had been working with SA Express to address its liquidity and operational problems prior to the airline’s operating licenses being withdrawn by the SA Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa), while Minister Pravin Gordhan had been engaging various financial institutions for finance arrangements to alleviate the state-owned airline’s immediate liquidity constraints.  Sacaa last month suspended the carrier’s operating permits, citing serious safety concerns.  Earlier this week, the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa), whose members include the airline’s pilots, indicated that the carrier was scrambling to pay this month’s salaries and called for Gordhan to provide emergency funding for this purpose.  SA Express pointed out on Wednesday that since the temporary suspension of its air operator’s certificate (AOC) and the certification for an approved maintenance organisation (AMO), it had been unable to fly passengers and therefore could not generate revenue.

Read more of this Business Report report by Siseko Njobeni at SA Labour News


Call for Pretoria police officer facing criminal charges of workplace racism to be suspended

The Star reports that officers at the Pretoria Central police station who filed various internal and criminal complaints against Captain James Henrico are frustrated about having to bump into him at work every day.  Henrico has been accused of racially abusing black police officials, using the k-word and verbally harassing them.  They asked for his suspension, but he was merely moved to another department.  The officers were speaking outside the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday after Henrico appeared briefly.  The matter was postponed for the third time to 20 July, for presentations.  According to Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), complaints lodged against Henrico relating to racial abuse dated back to 2016.  LHR’s Wayne Ncube said:  “It’s problematic to have a high-ranking officer who has a criminal case against them not being suspended.  The people who laid a complaint have to work with him.  That is not normal, and we are concerned because it’s irregular as it makes it look like basic protocol was not followed.”

Read more of this The Star report by Matlhatsi Dibakwane at SA Labour News


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page