news shutterstockIn our Wednesday morning roundup, see
summaries of our selection of recent South African
labour-related reports.


TOP STORY – FAILURE TO PAY OVER EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS

DA lays criminal charge against ANC over alleged unpaid UIF contributions

News24 reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday laid a charge against the African National Congress (ANC) over the ruling party's alleged failure to pay Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) contributions to the state. The ANC's staff has been in dispute with the cash-strapped party over its failure to pay their salaries. One of their claims is that the ANC has been deducting UIF contributions from workers, but, since 2018, it has failed to pay them over to the fund. "If true, this would constitute a criminal offence in terms of the Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act of 2002 and the Tax Administration Act of 2011," DA MPs Michael Cardo and Michael Bagraim said in a joint statement on Tuesday after laying the charges at the Cape Town Central Police Station. They went on to indicate: "As the ruling party, the ANC has a special duty to serve as an exemplar to other employers. And as the ANC is being accused of criminal behaviour by its own staff members, the matter requires urgent investigation by SAPS." On Monday, ANC staff picketed in all provinces. Late last month, the ANC started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to pay its workers.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jan Gerber at News24

ANC could face more fraud charges over alleged failure to pay over UIF deductions

The Citizen reports that the ANC could face more fraud charges if it has been deducting Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) contributions from its employees without paying them over for the past three years.   ANC staff downed tools last week as they have not been paid for three months. Staff also claimed the party had made UIF and provident fund deductions, but that these were not paid on to the relevant entities. This could mean the ANC pocketed the money, said labour law expert Alexia Vosloo de Witt. “If you look at the payslip, and if UIF was deducted and not paid over, the employer clearly pocketed that money. It is shocking that any employer would do this,” she said. This could constitute fraud, which could result in a criminal charge, labour lawyer Advocate Dunstan Farrell said. He added: “A criminal charge can be instituted, but the ANC can fix it in retrospect. They can go to the labour department and backpay the outstanding contributions.”   The ANC could face sanctions from the Department of Employment and Labour once the matter was investigated as it was unlawful to not contribute to UIF for an employee under the Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act. Such sanctions included a fine or litigation before a civil or criminal court, said De Witt. “Depending on the employer and how far they did not comply with the act regarding UIF, it can be a financial penalty but can lead to more serious litigation, even criminal or a civil action,” she indicated. The ruling party may already face charges of contravening the Unemployment Insurance Contribution Act and tax laws after opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA) opened a case against the ANC top six on Tuesday.   This followed allegations that the ANC deducted millions of rands in pay-as-you-earn tax from salaries that was not paid over to the SA Revenue Service.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Rorisang Kgosana at The Citizen


COVID PANDEMIC AND VACCINE ROLLOUT

Move to lockdown Level 2 imminent, with new curfew, alcohol and gathering rules expected

News24 reports that a move to Alert Level 2 is understood to be imminent, with President Cyril Ramaphosa expected to announce an easing of Covid lockdown restrictions. He met with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) on Tuesday to discuss the possible adjustments, which include an amended curfew from 23:00 to 04:00.   Apparently among the recommendations were that the number of people at gatherings be increased from 50 to 100 indoors and 250 outdoors, including at sporting events. Offsite alcohol sales would also be allowed from Monday to Friday until 18:00 and on-site until 22:00. The government will apparently consider using incentives to encourage vaccinations, while also exploring the use of vaccination records to allow those who have received their jabs to be able to access activities and amenities.   Ramaphosa moved the country to Level 3 in July. After Monday’s meeting, government spokesperson Phumla Williams said consultations would be held with political parties and the religious sector over the coming days and that the president would address the nation on the way forward.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tammy Petersen at News24. Read too, Government weighs vaccination passports and easing of level 3 lockdown, at BusinessLive. En ook, Ramaphosa spreek land binnekort weer toe, by Maroela Media

Medical deans call for mandatory jabs for medical students and healthcare workers

BusinessLive reports that the deans of SA’s medical and dental schools have recommended compulsory coronavirus vaccination for their students and the general healthcare workforce, arguing it will protect individuals from serious illness and help slow the spread of the disease. Healthcare workers are at particularly high risk because their jobs often expose them to high levels of the virus that causes Covid-19. The recommendation comes as the debate about mandatory vaccination policies intensifies. Financial services and health insurer Discovery announced last week it would move to a mandatory vaccination policy for its SA-based staff from January.   Various other employers, including private school operator Curro, are considering introducing similar policies.   The SA Committee of Medical Deans (Sacomd) and the SA Committee of Dental Deans (Sacodd) indicated in a joint statement on Tuesday: “The case for Covid-19 immunisation transcends individual benefit and has major benefits for the good of the broader health facility community, including fellow colleagues and patients whose lives are entrusted to the care of the healthcare worker. As such, it is a moral imperative for healthcare to submit to vaccination against Covid-19.” The deans also recommended booster shots for healthcare workers who have already been immunised with a single shot of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. Trade union Solidarity, which has previously said it was opposed to mandatory vaccination, said it had received a complaint about Discovery’s policy from one of its members, but had yet to determine whether to take legal action. Trade union federation Cosatu said it would prefer to see workers volunteer to get vaccinated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tamar Kahn at BusinessLive. See too, Cosatu warns against mandatory jabs for employees, on page 2 of The Star of 7 September 2021

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • SA records 5,372 new Covid-19 cases and 282 deaths in 24 hours, at TimesLIVE
  • Study of J&J shot shows Covid-19 infections halved in health workers, at Fin24
  • New Covid-19 variant spread slower in SA in August than in July, at BusinessLive
  • Covid-19: Make sure you are vaccinated by the time the fourth wave arrives, says Salim Abdool Karim, at News24
  • Two-thirds of South Africans are willing to get the jab, survey shows, at Moneyweb
  • 'Compassion fatigue': Mpumalanga doctor refuses to see unvaccinated patients, at News24


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

Off-duty police officer gunned down in Parow on Tuesday

News24 reports that a 41-year-old off-duty police officer was shot and killed in Parow, Cape Town, on Tuesday afternoon. The SA Police Service (SAPS) member was shot and killed in Victoria Street. According to police spokesperson Andre Traut, the police sergeant was stationed at Parliament. The circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated by the Hawks.   "Arrests are yet to be made and the motive is yet to be established," Traut advised.   Earlier this month, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said it was concerned about the alarming rise in the killing of officers. "The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union finds it infuriating the snail's pace level at which recurring incidents of officer killings are being undermined, if not ignored, resulting in at least six deaths within the last 10 days, and bringing the total number of killings to 38 within the last eight months," said Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Cebelihle Mthethwa at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Miljoene opgedok om politici te beskerm, by Maroela Media
  • Health stakeholders urged to increase training of ’disease detectives’, at Pretoria News
  • Northern Cape school mourns after three teachers die in car crash, at TimesLIVE


PROTESTS / CAMPAIGNS

Solidarity study indicates that government’s new policies would double taxpayers’ burden, legal tax protest planned

BusinessTech reports that trade union Solidarity has published a new report showing that the burden on SA taxpayers could double if the White Paper on the National Health Insurance (NHI) is accepted and the Green Paper on social security is implemented after being reviewed.   According to the report, South Africans pay incredibly high taxes in global terms, while the government generally fails to fulfill its side of the social contract. The report revealed that the tax to GDP ratio in SA was the second-highest in the world, after Sweden. Data from the SA Revenue Service (SARS) shows that 3.4 million taxpayers pay 91.2% of all personal income taxes in the country. These are individuals earning more than R250,000 annually. Impact studies conducted by the union show that the implementation of the NHI could result in the tax burden of the majority of these taxpayers increasing by 36%. “The White Paper (and Green Paper) are both irrational and unaffordable. The government did not make any calculations about the actual impact of the proposals. Solidarity is the only organisation that has done proper impact studies, and our findings show that the government’s proposals are completely outrageous,” said Solidarity chief executive Dr Dirk Hermann.   Solidarity’s executive council said that, given the impact of these taxes on the country’s shrinking tax base, it would institute a comprehensive, legal tax protest.   Hermann said that Solidarity’s tax protest campaign would focus on litigation and that the group was preparing for the ‘mother of all tax court cases’ to stop the NHI White Paper and later the Green Paper.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at BusinessTech Read Solidarity’s press statement in the above regard at Solidarity News


MINING LABOUR

Precautionary suspension of CEO of Bauba Resources lifted

Mining Weekly reports that diversified miner Bauba Resources has lifted the precautionary suspension of its CEO Nick van der Hoven, after an investigation by the company's attorneys found no factual evidence to support allegations made against him in the media. The JSE-listed company announced on 20 August that it had appointed an interim CEO pending the conclusion of an investigation into the allegations published by a newspaper against Van der Hoven.

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


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT / JOB CREATION

Solidarity says government ineffectiveness is hindering economic growth

Trade union Solidarity on Tuesday expressed concern about the state of the SA economy. This came after the latest GDP figures were released, indicating quarterly growth of only 1.2%. Theuns du Buisson, economic researcher at Solidarity, commented:   “The 1,2% growth is not nearly enough to compensate for the past year’s continued decline. It will take a very long time for South Africa’s recovery to reach the pre-pandemic economic levels. Recovery does not only take place slowly; it is also being actively hampered by the government’s ineffectiveness. While in many cases the rest of the world has already made up for the losses of 2020, and is even growing, South Africa continues to wallow in a swamp of poor policies and often unnecessary restrictions.”   According to Du Buisson, no single sector has shown significant growth to adequately offset the losses of 2020.   Manufacturing, one of the few sectors that could result in sustained exports and jobs, has in fact shrunk.   He said a continuing worrying trend was the decline in fixed capital formation. “Continued lockdowns, restrictive regulations and legislation are all the order of the day, and our economy is suffering. It is time for the state to realise that it has no management abilities and that it must impose fewer controls by the state, relax its regulations, end the lockdown and allow the private sector to take control and stimulate growth,” Du Buisson advised.

Read Solidarity’s press statement in the above regard at Solidarity News. Lees ook, BBP: ‘Swak regeringstyl ry voldoende groei in die wiele’, by Maroela Media

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • GDP expands 1.2% in second quarter based on new methodology, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)
  • Investments secure Mercedes-Benz East London plant’s future, at Moneyweb


SOEs IN CRISIS

Denel unable to correct its financial statements for previous financial year, after finance staff jump ship

The Citizen reports that state-owned arms manufacturing company Denel is feeling the consequences of loss of skills in its finance department and is unable to correct its financial statements for 2019/2020. Staff left the company in droves after they didn’t receive full salaries over the past 18 months. Denel said in a Sens statement last week that it was still working on correcting the financial statements in respect of which it received a disclaimer from the auditor-general. The company indicated in the statement that while it still engaged with the external auditors and had started working on a consolidation tool, work had slowed down “due to delays within Denel as a result of the loss in skills within the finance department”. Denel pointed out that it has formulated a new operating model that will deliver a streamlined and refocused company to be financially sustainable and profitable in the next five years. The plan will be supplemented by further reductions in the executive cost structure, as well as the implementation of a shared services model in areas such as supply chain management, human capital, IT and finance to allow for common enterprise resource planning to ensure improved financial control and reporting.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ina Opperman at The Citizen


RECRUITMENT

Sanral to embark on CEO recruitment drive as Macozoma's term is coming to an end

Fin24 reports that the board of directors of the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) is set to begin a recruitment drive to find a new CEO as the term of incumbent Skhumbuzo Macozoma is coming to an end.   According to a statement issued by Sanral on Tuesday, Macozoma's term will end on 30 November 2021 and it will be embarking on a recruitment process to recommend a suitable candidate for appointment by the Minister of Transport before 1 December 2021.   Macozoma was appointed CEO in 2016.   He had previously been the CEO of Electronic Toll Collection, which is contracted to collect e-tolls on behalf of Sanral. E-tolls, which are based on a user-pays principle, have been a thorn in Sanral's side for some years and have faced considerable resistance. Government has not yet announced a decision on the way forward for the programme. Deputy Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga recently indicated that e-tolls remained in force.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lameez Omarjee at Fin24. See too, Sanral board embarks on recruitment drive for a CEO, at Engineering News


ALLEGED WORKPLACE CORRUPTION / FRAUD

Five home affairs officials suspended for prophet Shepherd Bushiri's fraudulent permanent residency documents

TimesLIVE reports that the Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that five officials have been internally charged and were facing disciplinary processes for their role in how now-fugitive prophet Shepherd Bushiri acquired his permanent-residence permit in SA.   Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told parliament's home affairs portfolio committee on Tuesday that due to the sensitivity of the case, he wouldn't go into detail. “I just want to confirm that, yes, we do have that high-powered case that is on, that involves Bushiri but it does not involve how he escaped the country. That one is the purview of the Hawks, the SAPS, crime intelligence and state security,” he said. Motsoaledi indicated that at the centre of the home affairs' investigation was how Bushiri initially got his documents to become a permanent resident of the country. The minister rejected media reports that Bushiri had “captured” his department.   He reported that one of the five individuals had taken the department to the labour court twice, but had lost his cases. Bushiri skipped bail last November and fled to Malawi with his wife. According to Motsoaledi, immigration, especially permitting, constituted about 66% or two-thirds of all the work that the anti-corruption unit in his department were engaged with.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Andisiwe Makinana at TimesLIVE


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Metrorail in Western Cape secures 26 successful arrests and convictions

Independent News reports that Metrorail managed to secure a total of 26 arrests and successful convictions between 19 August and 2 September. Acting spokesperson for Metrorail, Nana Zenani, said the suspects were arrested for various crimes ranging from robbery, malicious damage to property and drug trafficking to breaking and entering. They were arrested in areas such as Maitland, Bellville, Kuilsriver, Retreat, Parow, Kensington, Eerste River, Goodwood and Stellenbosch.   Zenani added that further arrests had been made by the Western Cape Security patrol teams in the Bellville, Parow, Peter Barlow, Oostersee hotspots in the last 72 hours.   According to Zenani, the Western Cape security team would continue to partner with communities in combating theft and vandalism of Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) assets along the network. Neighbourhood watches and ordinary citizens contributed significantly towards intelligence gathering but in arrests as well, she advised. Zenani added the security team would be hosting a series of informative workshops with various neighbourhood watches to educate community organisations regarding legislative provisions and crime preventive strategies in the areas situated near Metrorail operational lines.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Robin-Lee Francke at Independent News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Prasa blames Covid-19 and vandalism for collapsing East London train service, at GroundUp


OTHER HEADLINES OF INTEREST

  • Terry Bell’s Inside Labour: Automated supermarket checkout technology outstrips labour’s future vision, at City Press (subscriber access only)
  • R1.4-billion restraint order against former Eskom executives confirmed, at The Citizen
  • Simelane first black SANParks chief pilot, at SowetanLive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page