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
Wednesday, 7 April 2021.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

’Aggressive’ stabbing victim attacks Joburg medics treating him

Independent Media reports that two Johannesburg paramedics had to abandon their work when a patient they were treating turned on them and started attacking them. The incident happened just after midnight on Tuesday. According to Gauteng Department of Health spokesperson Kwara Kekana, the two paramedics had gone to Vorna Valley Swiss Club after receiving a report about a stabbing incident. “Upon arrival on scene, the two paramedics found a male patient lying on the ground with stab wounds and immediately initiated treatment and care.   While the paramedics were busy treating the patient, he (the patient) suddenly became aggressive and kicked the woman paramedic on her face and the male paramedic on the back of the head.”   The paramedics could not continue treating the patient due to the injuries sustained, she said. Meantime on Saturday, twin baby boys and their parents burnt to death after a fire and rescue crew fled a scene of the fire after coming under attack from residents in Delft in the Western Cape.   Community members attacked the crew while a Wendy house with people inside was on fire. Fearing for their safety, the crews returned to their various stations, only to return under police escort. Spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said he was not shocked the crews had left the area in fear for their lives, after they were directly threatened and verbally abused by residents.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Botho Molosankwe at Independent Media

City of Cape Town halts sewage services in Samora Machel after worker shot, crew robbed

EWN reports that a City of Cape Town staff member has been shot and wounded while repairing a collapsed sewer pipeline in Helen Joseph Street in Samora Machel. As a result, water and sanitation services have been temporarily withdrawn from the area until further notice. The City reported that four teenagers robbed a team of their belongings, including wallets and cellphones, while on duty. A supervisor, who was also the driver, was shot and wounded, with the bullet narrowly missing his spine. Accordingly, water-related service requests, such as clearing sewer blockages or repairing burst pipes, will not be attended to. A number of sewerage facilities have been affected by vandalism and theft recently. “The city condemns this attack on our staff in the strongest terms, it is unconscionable to target staff who are on-site going about public service duties,” said Mayco member for Water and Waste Services, Xanthea Limberg. Just a day before the incident, the City highlighted the vandalism of water and sewage pump stations. Currently, 25 sewage pump stations have been vandalised or impacted by theft in Cape Town.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kaylynn Palm at EWN


PROTESTS / CAMPAIGNS

National Arts Council denies planning to use Red Ants to forcefully remove artists protesting over relief funds

The Star reports that as artists and creatives continue to protest outside the National Arts Council (NAC) in Newtown, Johannesburg, the council has denied allegations of planned forceful removal from its building.   At the weekend, a Facebook post claimed that the NAC was planning an ambush to forcefully remove artists from the building using the Red Ants.   The post alleged that the removal would take place at the offices on Tuesday or Wednesday. The protest is over the roll-out of the R300 million Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (Pesp) Covid-19 relief fund.   In a statement, the NAC said it was shocked and in disbelief about the allegations. “The council and management of the NAC wish to categorically state that these allegations are simply untrue and are fake news. The false allegations are deliberately being fuelled with the sole intention to further perpetuate tension between the NAC and the cultural and creative sector for purposes only known to the individuals behind this,” said spokesperson Tshepo Mashiane. He added that the NAC intended to complete the Pesp roll-out by 31 May and was looking for “amicable discourse to address all the Pesp funding issues of concern that were raised across all parts of the sector”. Over the last month, the NAC has been at loggerheads with artists over the fund, with artists claiming the council had been mismanaging the money instead of paying out artists.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mpiletso Motumi at The Star


LABOUR AND POLITICS

SACP wholeheartedly backs ANC resolution that criminally charged leaders must step aside

TimesLIVE reports that the SA Communist Party (SACP) has thrown its weight behind the ANC national executive committee’s (NEC’s) resolution that leaders who are criminally charged should step aside.   The SACP is a key ally of the ANC and is part of its tripartite alliance. Its support is expected to boost President Cyril Ramaphosa’s political fortunes as he moves to reform the party and the government. The other member of the tripartite alliance, Cosatu, has already lent its support to the resolution that could lead to a number of Ramaphosa’s critics being asked to step aside after being charged in connection with numerous serious offences, including corruption and fraud.   Most notably among these is party secretary-general Ace Magashule, who stands accused on charges related to the corrupt awarding of a R255m Free State asbestos roofing tender. He is a former premier and a longtime ANC chair of the province. SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said on Tuesday that the step-aside resolution must be implemented “wholeheartedly” and that his party would assist its members to whom the resolution applied to follow it “to the letter”.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mawande Amashabalala at BusinessLive

NYDA is not an employment agency for the politically connected, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane insists

News24 reports that according to Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is not and has never been an employment agency for the politically connected. She was responding to a parliamentary question from EFF MP Makoti Khawula, who wanted details on the government's plans to ensure that the NYDA became an "authentic agency for youth development, rather than an employment agency for the politically connected". Nkoana-Mashabane stated: "The personnel hired by the agency are recruited and selected on the basis of the specified selection criteria and applicable policies and legislation. The NYDA's products and services are also delivered in a fair and transparent manner. Young people whose proposals do not yet meet the criteria are supported to ensure readiness. There is no requirement for a young person to be politically connected to receive the service of the NYDA." Parliament decided last year to restart, from scratch, the process of appointing NYDA board members. The earlier selection process was mired in controversy after a letter which ANC National Youth Task Team convener Tandi Mahambehlala wrote to the party's deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, surfaced. It provided the names of "preferred candidates", four of whom ultimately made it on to the final list. Nkoana-Mashabane made little reference to the current process to appoint new NYDA board members.

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


SHIFT SYSTEM

Limpopo health MEC indefinitely withdraws new rosters designed to reduce overtime claims

TimesLIVE reports that health workers in Limpopo have won their fight to ensure a new roster system is not implemented in the province. Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba has withdrawn two circulars issued by her department last month in an effort to reduce overtime claims by introducing a new roster system. The latest circular on Tuesday, signed by Ramathuba, informed all district executive managers, chief executives officers, head of institutions, head of vertical programmes, heads of human resources and staff that all previous circulars had been suspended indefinitely and withdrawn with immediate effect. Last week, health workers — mostly doctors — protested against the new roster system, but according to the MEC, none of the hospitals in the province had implemented the new rosters. She explained that the province had wanted to pilot the new roster system in an effort to regulate overtime claimed by workers. “People claimed for overtime before they could work their 40 hours,” Ramathuba said. The Public Servants Association’s (PSA’s) John Teffo said the health workers were against the new system because it was going to affect them negatively in many ways. He commented that it was sad that it took threats about striking and picketing for the employer to suspend the new roster and that the decision could have been taken much earlier if the department had been willing to listen to workers’ concerns.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Belinda Pheto at TimesLIVE


BASIC EDUCATION / TEACHING

Teacher vacancy rate of 5.8% nationally as at end of February 2021

BusinessTech reports that according to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, the national teacher vacancy rate as of the end of February 2021 stood at 5.8%. Responding to a parliamentary question, Motshekga explained that the vacancy rate as reported was in terms of the actual vacancies at schools in relation to posts that each school had been allocated for 2021. She went on to indicate:  “Provincial Education Departments are currently redeploying educators that are additional to the allocated post establishments at some schools to schools that have vacancies. Once this process has been finalised and the residual vacant posts have been filled through appointment of educators from outside the system the actual number of vacancies will be lower than the current rate.” The data provided by Motshekga showed that the highest number of vacancies were in Limpopo (9.2%), followed by Mpumalanga (6.1%).   National Treasury and teacher unions have each warned of teacher shortages and increasing class sizes in SA.   In a presentation submitted to MPs in March, the SA Teachers’ Union (SAOU) said that the drivers in the reduction in teachers was lower than expected compensation and natural attrition.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at BusinessTech


RETIREMENT FUNDS / PENSION INVESTMENTS

Government Employees Pension Fund invested in DRC firm accused of human rights abuses

BusinessLive reports that the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) is invested in a Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) palm oil business linked to human rights abuses and land expropriation.   The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has confirmed that government pension funds were indirectly invested in Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC) via a US investment company, Kuramo Capital Management (PHC’s majority stakeholder). PHC’s alleged human rights abuses are detailed in a report released in March by US think-tank the Oakland Institute. In a recent press release, the institute drew attention to the report’s broad findings and themes. The historical abuses detailed include: forcible displacement of DRC communities from ancestral land, which crippled livelihoods; unpaid wages, exposure of workers to dangerous pesticides, and routinely dumping of untreated industrial waste; and company security staff forcefully repressing opposition “through murder, unlawful detention, beatings and torture”. Kuramo advised that it took full control of PHC last November and had since replaced managers with “a fully indigenous Congolese team that reflects the communities where it operates”. The PIC said it was in touch with Kuramo regarding the Oakland Institute report and that it took environment, social and governance [ESG] issues in investee companies seriously. Meantime, SA’s African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) this week said the SA government’s involvement in PHC was highly inappropriate. “The bottom line here is that the GEPF has invested the money of SA workers to entrench dispossession of peoples’ territories and colonial patterns of land ownership and power in the DRC,” ACB’s Mariam Mayet said.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Bobby Jordan at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Mkhwebane loses bid to appeal judgment on Ivan Pillay’s early retirement, at Independent Media


DISCRIMINATION / RACISM

Eskom’s De Ruyter says on racism allegations that 'it’s not about race, it’s all about performance, delivery'

News24Wire reports that Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter has said that appointments of senior managers at Eskom were not motivated by "ulterior racial motives" but rather by "performance and delivery". This was indicated in an affidavit De Ruyter wrote to Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) as part of an investigation into allegations of racism, abuse of power and irregularities brought by suspended chief procurement officer Solly Tshitangano. Tshitangano accused De Ruyter of playing a part in the irregular appointments of two senior Eskom officials, as well as failing to comply with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) by failing to submit certain documents to National Treasury regarding the collusive practices between Sasol and embattled Eskom supplier Econ Oil. De Ruyter denied the allegations in his affidavit and claimed that they had seriously hindered his ability to do his job. He noted that Tshitangano's allegations against him only surfaced once discussions about Tshitangano's underperformance had taken place.   "In effect, a simple and straightforward operation issue dealing with underperformance has been elevated to parliamentary level. It seriously undermines morale in Eskom as we seek to engender a high-performance culture. It obstructs the efforts made by all concerned to recover Eskom's productive efficiency," De Ruyter told Scopa.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Engineering News


SUSPENSIONS / DISMISSALS

Solidarity calls for suspension of Gauteng education MEC Payyaza Lesufi

Trade union Solidarity has called for the suspension with immediate effect of Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and that he be charged and dismissed. This call was made after Sunday papers Rapport and City Press reported on a voice recording in which Lesufi said, among other things, that it was his responsibility to see to it that tenders satisfied his people. He also said that officials should make sure they found out in good time when governing bodies advertised tenders. “Thousands of Solidarity members give their all to offer excellent education to children and this they do in extremely difficult circumstances.   While they are teaching the MEC for Education has a hand in plundering their resources. This is a crime against teachers, children and parents,” Dr Dirk Hermann, Solidarity chief executive, said. He went on to state: “The Constitution prescribes an effective public service and not effective cadre empowerment. If Lesufi is not suspended then cadre empowerment is being condoned. Ramaphosa and the ANC cannot ask some to step aside while allowing others to continue to plunder in an unperturbed way.”

Read Solidarity’s press statement in regard to this matter at Solidarity News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Railway Safety Regulator’s acting CEO and board at war over termination and then reinstatement of company secretary, at GroundUp


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

SABC economics editor Thandeka Gqubule-Mbeki rejects ‘bogus’ misconduct charges

Pretoria News reports that SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) economics editor Thandeka Gqubule-Mbeki has rejected three misconduct charges levelled against her, saying the charges were “trumped up” and “bogus”. In an interview on Tuesday, Gqubule-Mbeki claimed that the SABC had cooked up the charges against her and others for opposing retrenchments and the privatisation of the public broadcaster. It was earlier reported that the SABC has formally charged Gqubule-Mbeki with three counts of misconduct, namely intimidating a colleague during a picket over retrenchments; using offensive language and behaviour; and violating the Public Finance Management Act by signing off on payments without following due process. According to qubule-Mbeki, a group of people at the SABC, led by board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini, group chief executive Madoda Mxakwe and group news executive Phathiswa Magopeni, was behind a campaign to vilify and force her and others out. “The charges are entirely bogus and untrue. They are part of a long programme of whistle-blower victimisation and I’m not the only leader of the anti-retrenchment and the anti-commercialisation movement they are gunning for,” Gqubule-Mbeki said. SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo reacted:  “The SABC can confirm there is a formal process under way about the matter. Two of the charges relate to an affidavit submitted by a fellow journalist containing allegations of harassment and intimidation. The other emanates from an internal forensic audit process. Therefore, the claim the CEO and head of news are behind the charges is rejected with the contempt it deserves.”   Gqubule-Mbeki has approached the High Court to apply for a stay of the disciplinary hearing in terms of the Protective Disclosure Act.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mashudu Sadike at Pretoria News


CORRUPTION / BRIBERY

Two Gauteng cops caught red-handed asking for bribes from undercover officers

News24 reports that two police officers were separately arrested in Gauteng over the long weekend for soliciting bribes of R100 and R200, respectively. According to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the officers were arrested during sting operations which it conducted in collaboration with SAPS Anti-Corruption and the National Traffic Department's Anti-Corruption unit. A 56-year-old captain from the Johannesburg Public Order Policing unit was arrested for corruption on Monday. IPID spokesperson Ndileka Cola explained that the captain, who was the shift commander, conducted an unauthorised road block with other members. He stopped a vehicle, which happened to be driven by an undercover officer, and demanded that the driver produce his license. When the undercover officer said he did not have his driver's licence, the officer demanded a R100 bribe. He was arrested and was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday. Meanwhile on Friday, another officer attached to Randfontein Public Safety was also nabbed for corruption. The 45-year-old traffic officer was operating a speed camera and stopped an undercover vehicle. He then asked for a R200 bribe and was arrested on the spot.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sesona Ngqakamba at News24

 


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