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


COVID PANDEMIC AND VACCINE ROLLOUT

Ramaphosa busy with consultations ahead of lockdown announcement

EWN reports that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma indicated on Wednesday that President Cyril Ramaphosa was consulting with different sections of society in light of the forthcoming local government elections campaigning season. The minister announced earlier that the elections will be held on 1 November following the Constitutional Court’s dismissal of the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC’s) application that the polls be postponed to next February due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There have been media reports suggesting that the president could soon announce the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions to alert level 2.   Dlamini-Zuma said that the president and Cabinet would be guided by the pandemic on whether to ease lockdown restrictions and an announcement would be made soon. “There are also consultations that need to take place on with political parties, we’ve consulted the provinces already. But there needs to be consultation with traditional leaders, religious leaders so that when the president speaks to the nation, those consultations would have taken place.” However, she added that political parties would have to hold their campaigns for the elections in line with restrictions: “Even when they have meetings, there may be numbers that are allowed indoors and outdoors, wearing of masks and social distancing, etc. They may campaign and go door to door, but they have to keep to the protocols.” Some parties have expressed fears that they might face campaigning limitations with social, political and cultural gatherings limited to 50 people or less for indoor venues and 100 people or less for outdoor venues during the current adjusted level 3 regulations.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Theto Mahlakoana at EWN

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • 253 more Covid deaths take SA’s toll to 84,152, at EWN
  • Current surge of Covid-19 infections showing signs of sustained downward trend, says NICD, at The Citizen
  • ‘Entstof ons enigste hoop’ – Mabuza, by Maroela Media
  • Johnson & Johnson in talks to run a vaccine booster trial in South Africa, at Fin24
  • No jab, no consult: Mpumalanga doctor's stance sees unvaccinated patients inoculating against Covid-19, at TimesLIVE
  • Ticket to ride: fans with jabs to jump the queue for sport and concerts, at TimesLIVE
  • Restaurante bloei dood – Rasa, by Maroela Media
  • Almost 9-million applications came in for Covid-19 R350 grant, at TimesLIVE


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

Our officials are trained in escorting inmates, says correctional services after fatal shooting of prisoner in East London court

News24 reports that after a 25-year-old prisoner was shot dead in the East London Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) said its officials were trained in escorting inmates. According to departmental spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo, an investigation was underway following the shooting. The prisoner was being cross-examined when he allegedly jumped out of the witness box, knife in hand, before he was killed. Warders apparently ran into the court and shot him after he attempted to attack the prosecutor, who was not hurt in the incident.   "Our officials are trained in escorting inmates and are fully equipped to respond in case of an emergency," said Nxumalo. Police spokesperson Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana said it was unclear how the knife found its way into the court.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Striking ANC staff reject party's proposals over payment demands

EWN reports that African National Congress (ANC) officials have been sent back to the drawing board after failing to produce proposals that speak directly to the demands of staffers who are striking over pay.   The party’s most senior leaders are now expected to meet staff representatives on Thursday to find solutions to the months-long issue of non-payment of salaries. Employees on Tuesday rejected a presentation on the way forward by treasurer Paul Mashatile. Mandla Qwane, a member of the committee representing staffers, said that they felt officials did not speak to the demands handed over to the ANC leadership.   “The response from the DG was broad and did not zoom into our demands item by item, hence it was agreed that they will need to go back and will come back to us tomorrow (Thursday).”   Staffers who have been on a go-slow have had to contend with months of late or non-payment of salaries, with their pensions also affected by the party’s cash flow troubles. Meantime, the ANC has been crowdfunding to raise money.   The Democratic Alliance (DA) has laid criminal charges against the governing party’s top officials, accusing them of failing to pay UIF contributions on behalf of their workers in spite of deducting these from their salaries.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tshidi Madia at EWN


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Stats SA’s latest GDP figures meaningless, claims Cosatu

The Star reports that labour federation Cosatu has dismissed the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures released by Statistics SA on Tuesday as meaningless. Stats SA announced that the economy grew by 1.2% in the second quarter of the year, namely from March to June. The growth was mostly attributed to the relaxation of restrictions that hindered economic activity. Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the stats were just a sign of an economy that was trying to revive, but added that they were meaningless against the backdrop of the high unemployment rate in the country. “They don’t tell the real story, economies are about people.   What should be our focus is an economy that caters for the people, it has to absorb the unemployed and increase the wages of those who are employed so that they participate meaningfully into the economy and not be dependent on the government,” Pamla said. Noting his concern that over 20 million people were getting social welfare grants from the state and that those who were working were struggling with their day to day bills, Pamla went on to say:   “These figures don’t mean much for those who are without work. They don’t mean much for a worker whose wages are being frozen and sinking under the weight of debt and they don’t mean much for those who are dependent on a survivalist economy and people who sell to feed their families.”   Economist Makwe Masilela advised that the country should expect poor results in the third quarter because of the looting that took place in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Itumeleng Mafisa on page 2 of The Star of 8 September 2021

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Fuel retailers face labour challenge as industry takes strain, at Business Report


JOB CREATION

With modernised Ranger assembly line, Ford SA creates 1,200 jobs by reintroducing third shift at Silverton plant

Engineering News reports that Ford SA has created around 1,200 incremental jobs by reintroducing a third shift to its operations at the Silverton assembly plant. The additional shift forms part of the US auto maker’s $1.05-billion investment in the Pretoria plant to produce the next generation Ranger bakkie, starting next year. The plant is in the process of wrapping up a seven-week shutdown which saw the extensive modernisation of the facility in preparation for the new model. Production at the plant will include the new Volkswagen Amarok, as part of the global production agreement between Ford and Volkswagen. The implementation of a third shift sees the local Ford SA workforce grow from the current 4,200 employees to around 5,000 employees, with an additional 440 jobs created at the plant’s on-site service provider. The added working hours will see the Silverton plant operate around the clock, five days a week. The employees that were brought on board and trained in 2019 were given first option to take up the new positions. With the additional shift, the Silverton assembly plant will be capable of producing up to 720 vehicles a day, or 240 units a shift, which equates to one Ranger coming off the line every two minutes. Two-thirds of the Rangers produced will be exported to more than 100 global markets, as is the case with the current Ranger. The balance will be sold in SA.

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

Shoprite created 3,897 new jobs in 53 weeks up to end of July 2021

Business Report writes that Shoprite Holdings created 3,897 new jobs during the 53 weeks ended July 2021 and generated R133.9 billion in sales from its South African supermarkets, notwithstanding the alcohol ban imposed as part of the government’s Covid-19 lockdown regulations.   Shoprite operates Shoprite, Usave, Checkers and Checkers Hyper outlets. “Despite being South Africa’s largest private sector employer, we still aspire to create employment as it is critical to improve the lives of our fellow citizens. On that front, we added 3,897 new jobs this year,” said group chief executive Pieter Engelbrecht on Tuesday. As a result of changed behaviour during the pandemic lockdown, Engelbrecht advised that customer visits for the year declined by 3.8%. However, the average basket spend increased by 13.6%.   Shoprite said 231 stores were looted, vandalised or damaged due to arson in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal during the mayhem in July. Out of the 231 stores impacted by the civil unrest, 177 were classified as looted and 54 as burnt. Of the 177 looted stores, 141 have since reopened and of the 54 burnt stores seven have since reopened. “The decision was made that six loss-making stores will not be reopened. It is too early to estimate the full financial impact of the event as it is in the process of being assessed,” said Engelbrecht.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Dineo Faku at Business Report


PRICES / INFLATION

Reserve Bank’s Kganyago makes case for inflation 'point target' around 3% or 4% rather than present target range of 3% to 6%

Reuters reports that SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) governor Lesetja Kganyago made the case on Wednesday for adopting a consumer inflation "point target" of around 3% or 4% with a margin of error either side, as opposed to a 3% to 6% target range used currently. Speaking in a virtual address on inflation-targeting at Stellenbosch University, Kganyago said: "A more appropriate target would be a point target of around 3% or 4%, putting us in the same territory as our peers. Given the uncertainties around inflation, it would be useful to bracket the point target with an error range: probably plus or minus 1 percentage point. With the Covid-19 shock, we have seen what it's like to have inflation rates nearer 3% and, with that, low interest rates." SA’s annual consumer inflation picked up to 4.6% in July, close to the midpoint of the bank's target.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Engineering News. Read too, Kganyago says benefits of lower inflation target would outweigh short-term pain, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)


MERGER RETRENCHMENTS

Competition Tribunal finds Coca-Cola Beverages Africa ‘did not breach’ merger conditions relating to retrenchments

Engineering News reports that the Competition Tribunal has set aside a finding by the Competition Commission in October 2019 against Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), effectively clearing the company of claims that it had breached merger conditions relating to retrenchments.   The matter relates to two mergers involving CCBA subsidiary Coca-Cola Beverages SA (CCBSA), which were approved with conditions in May 2016 and September 2017. CCBA in March this year applied for the commission’s finding and decision to issue it with a ‘Notice of Apparent Breach’ in relation to the merger conditions to be reviewed and set aside. This followed a complaint by the Food and Allied Workers’ Union to the commission in March 2019 that 368 employees were retrenched by CCBSA and that it was in breach of the merger conditions. Following an investigation, the commission concluded that the retrenchments were merger specific. But, the tribunal has since found that CCBA substantially complied with its obligations with respect to the merger conditions and has set aside the notice issued by the commission.

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


APPOINTMENTS

Gwede Mantashe appoints Nomalanga Sithole as new Nersa CEO

Engineering News reports that Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has appointed Advocate Nomalanga Petronella Sithole as CEO and full-time regulator member of the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa). Sithole's appointment is for a five-year period, effective from 25 August. She has 24 years of experience in energy regulation and was previously employed by the former National Electricity Regulator, which was transformed into Nersa in 2005. She also represents Nersa on some energy structures within the South African Development Community region and on the continent.

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


EMPLOYMENT EQUITY

Comply with employment equity conditions or no business with the state, says labour and employment department

Independent Media reports that the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) says employers and companies will have to meet a set of stringent conditions before being issued with an employment equity (EE) compliance certificate, which is a prerequisite for contracts with the state and any of its organs. In terms of proposed Employment Equity Act amendments, the criteria for non-designated employers – companies employing less than 49 employees – are to comply with the national minimum wage or prove that they have been granted exemption and have no CCMA unfair discrimination awards against them.   Designated employers – entities employing 50 or more employees – will have to submit annual employment equity reports; comply with the national minimum wage (NMW) or prove that they have been granted exemption not to pay the NMW; and comply with their own annual employment equity targets towards achievement of the five-year sector targets.   Those employers should also not have CCMA unfair discrimination awards against them in the previous 12 months.   The DEL said that with the proposed amendments, compliance certificate exemptions would be granted only when there were justifiable reasons, including insufficient recruitment opportunities; insufficient target individuals from the designated groups with the relevant qualifications, skills and experience; and insufficient promotion opportunities. Other reasons would include transfer of business; merger/acquisitions; and impact on business economic circumstances, for example the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jonisayi Maromo at Independent Media


PERFORMANCE BONUSES

Outcry over plan to give bonuses to senior eThekwini managers for ‘outstanding performance’

The Mercury reports that senior managers in eThekwini Municipality are in line to receive performance rewards for their “outstanding performance” in running the city over the past three years. However, the decision has been slammed by opposition parties which described the move as irrational and claimed the senior managers were under-performing in their respective roles. Among those listed to be remunerated for their performance is former city manager Sipho Nzuza who left the municipality earlier this year.   He is facing corruption allegations alongside former mayor Zandile Gumede in relation to the city’s multi-million rand DSW tender. The report on the performance rewards was tabled before, and approved by the full council during a recent confidential meeting. The report scored the officials for their performance over three financial years, 2017-2018, 2018-19 and 2019-2020. The report called on the council to consider the rewards on the basis of outstanding performance. The value of the financial rewards was not immediately clear.   The names of those set to benefit include individuals who no longer hold those portfolios as they have either retired or changed positions. Recently the city approved performance rewards for close to 25,000 of its workers, but 5,000 of these had not received their performance appraisals. They were nonetheless allocated a score, which sparked concerns they had received undue rewards. The news of the performance rewards drew condemnation from political parties which said it was undue as the city was battling to deliver services.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Thami Magubane at The Mercury


SUSPENSIONS

Outgoing higher education director-general loses case to have suspension overturned

SowetanLive reports that the Labour Court has dismissed an application that sought to overturn the suspension of outgoing higher education, science and technology director-general Gwebs Qonde. The judgment was delivered a day after Qonde's employment contract expired on Monday. In the case that saw President Cyril Ramaphosa, higher education minister Blade Nzimande and home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi being cited as respondents, Qonde on 31 August approached the Labour Court in Johannesburg seeking an urgent interdict against his suspension. He argued in court that his suspension amounted to unfair labour practice. Qonde told the court that Nzimande suspended him purely based on personal rather than operational issues. He also indicated said Ramaphosa unsuccessfully attempted to mediate between the two parties. “The conclusion this court reaches is that there is no causal connection between the disclosures made by Qonde to Ramaphosa and the suspension that befell him on 23 July 2021. The applicant should pay the costs of this application which include the employment of two counsel where so employed,” ruled Judge GN Moshoana.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at SowetanLive. Read too, Court dismisses higher education DG’s move to have suspension nullified, at The Citizen


OTHER HEADLINES OF INTEREST

  • Forge Academy offering 12-month 4IR internships for 33 youths, at Engineering News
  • CEO of Southern African airlines association, Wrenelle Stander, resigns, at Engineering News
  • Opinion: Green paper on social security ignores reality of retirement system, at BusinessLive
  • Economic effects of unrest could linger for about 18 months, says Godongwana, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)
  • Solidariteit se Regsgilde maak kapsie oor Hlophe se direktief, by Maroela Media
  • Masondo proposes R146bn debt relief in exchange for Eskom climate targets, at BusinessLive
  • New North West premier Maape promises to fight graft, at SowetanLive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page