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


COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Cabinet won’t be jumping the gun on lockdown adjustments and vaccine mandates, says Gungubele

Fin24 reports that briefing reporters on Thursday on the outcomes of Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, said while cases of Covid-19 were rising in SA, Cabinet did not conclude that the public healthcare system was imperiled enough to warrant an immediate decision on lockdown adjustments. Cabinet left matters in the hands of President Cyril Ramaphosa and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to decide the next move on lockdown restrictions and vaccine regulations. Gungubele said the information before Cabinet regarding the fourth wave suggested that hospitals still had adequate capacity to respond to the rise in cases that have come with the new variant without any dramatic changes to the lockdown, especially if it meant saving the economy.   "The attitude government is adopting is finding the best way to ensure livelihoods are preserved and the economy moves,” he noted. Gungubele also said any decision to be taken by Cabinet on vaccine mandates would be informed by the most effective means to win South Africans over. “No recommendations on mandatory vaccines were tabled. It's clear to a number of us that you need a policy that encourages vaccination and discourages vaccine cynicism. That will depend on the findings we have as we assess the situation," he indicated.   Gungubele said Cabinet resolved to extend the national Covid-19 lockdown to 15 January 2022.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Khulekani Magubane at Fin24

Busa corrects Nxesi on its stance regarding a declaratory order in respect of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations

Engineering News reports that Business Unity SA (Busa) has disputed a 7 December claim by Department of Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi that it has approached the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) seeking a mandatory vaccination declaratory order. Nxesi claimed during Nedlac’s annual summit that government supported Busa going to the ConCourt to get a declaratory order.   “The correct position is that Busa indicated we will consult our legal advisers about the possibility of applying to the High Court for a declaratory order to provide additional legal certainty to back up the occupational health and safety (OHS) guidelines already in place,” Busa CEO Cas Coovadi indicated. He added that Busa was in the process of doing that, but would only be able to put in an application once its senior counsel was satisfied that there was a case to apply for a declaratory order.   Coovadia added that Busa had taken the view that the current OHS guidelines enabled employers to put into place mechanisms to enable vaccination of all staff to meet their responsibility of ensuring a safe workplace for all their staff. “This is being undertaken within the confines of the guidelines and we are seeing incredibly positive responses from all staff in firms that have applied the OHS guidelines,” he indicated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Engineering News. Read too, Neasa pushes back against Nedlac's call for mandatory workplace vaccination, at Fin24

World Economic Forum report shows that most workers in SA support vaccine mandates

BL Premium reports that an international survey has found widespread support for workplace Covid-19 vaccine mandates among SA workers, vindicating companies that have issued such directives. In a report released on Thursday, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said a poll conducted by Ipsos found that 72% of local workers agreed that they and their colleagues should be fully vaccinated.   The surveys were conducted online between 22 October and 5 November, before the emergence of the Omicron variant.   Almost 14,500 workers were surveyed across 33 countries and the SA result was broadly in line with global findings. The finding comes as the government, business and education institutions ponder whether to make vaccination compulsory. The survey also found that 69% of employed South Africans believed that people in their workplaces should undergo frequent Covid-19 testing if they were not vaccinated against the virus and 91% believed that masks should be worn in common areas and when close to other people. Support for compulsory workplace vaccination was highest among Indian adults (65%), followed by black African adults (56%), coloured adults (49%) and was lowest among white adults at 32%. Having previously indicated that it might support restricting access to certain places to those who have vaccinations and having accepted that getting as many people as possible jabbed was the best way to open the economy more fully, the government has been giving mixed signals. This week, it said it would await the outcome of court action by Business Unity SA to establish the legality of mandates.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Linda Ensor at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • SA’s Covid-19 cases climb to 22,391 in 24 hours, with 22 deaths and 453 hospital admissions, at BusinessLive
  • Covid-19: Gauteng records 59% of all new cases in SA, hospitalisations remain low, at News24
  • Sahpra approves affordable, locally developed Covid-19 antigen test, at Engineering News
  • Second Pfizer jab can now be administered to 12-17 year olds, at BusinessLive
  • WHO recommends getting same Covid-19 vaccines, but mix-and-match can be done, at BusinessLive
  • Higher life insurance premiums for the unvaccinated on the cards, at Moneyweb
  • Sanlam will not charge higher premiums to cover the unvaccinated, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

On-duty cop shot dead and firearm stolen in dramatic armed robbery at Sandton traffic intersection

News24 reports that an on-duty police officer has died after being attacked by a group of armed robbers at a traffic intersection in Sandton on Thursday. The police officer has been identified as Sergeant David Tsedu, who was stationed at the City Deep Port of Entry. He was driving along Katherine Street in Sandown at around 11:00 when he was attacked.   A police spokesperson reported:   "The suspects are alleged to have robbed the member of his service pistol and other items before fleeing the scene in a getaway vehicle. The member was taken to a nearby hospital, but sadly succumbed to his injuries upon arrival." A video of the dramatic robbery has been doing the rounds on social media.   National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole condemned the attack and advised further: "The motive for the incident is the central focus of our investigation. We will not rest until those who are behind this brazen attack have been apprehended."

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Alex Mitchley and view the video clip of the robbery at News24


MINING LABOUR

NPA wants court to block sale of Optimum Mine that Guptas 'bought with crime proceeds'

Fin24 reports that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has launched a court bid to block the sale of the Optimum Coal Mine as part of a plan to ultimately get the infamous asset forfeited to the State.   The NPA on Wednesday filed an application with the South Gauteng High Court to issue a preservation of property order, as provided for in the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.   Obtaining a preservation of property order is a necessary step before bringing a forfeiture application to effectively confiscate assets which are the proceeds of crime. At the heart of the NPA’s argument is that a new deal to sell the mine is borne out of unlawful activity. The property in question amounts to the Optimum Coal Mine; all the shares in Optimum which are held by the Gupta family’s Tegeta Exploration & Resources; and all the claims held by Templar Capital against Optimum. Optimum, an economically significant mine which supplied coal to Eskom, became a key entity in SA’s state capture corruption scandal when Tegeta acquired the mine with the assistance of a prepayment which was brought about through a sweetheart deal with the national power utility. The business was run into the ground and was among several Gupta-linked entities that went into business rescue in early 2018.   The end result of the long-run rescue process is that a deal has been struck to sell Optimum Coal Mine to Templar Capital.   The NPA, however, wants the sale process to be halted and ultimately for Optimum to be forfeited to the State.  

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lisa Steyn at Fin24 (subscriber access only). Read too, NPA guns for Gupta-owned Optimum Coal Mine, at BusinessLive

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Mining production up 2.1% y/y in October, buoyed by PGMs, at Mining Weekly
  • Implats lifts shareholding in RBPlat to 35% as Northam makes unsolicited bid for RBPlat, at Mining Weekly


ESKOM

Deputy President David Mabuza says Eskom management is ‘best available’ to tackle crisis

TimesLive reports that Deputy President David Mabuza has again come to the defence of Eskom’s beleaguered management. He said during a question-and-answer session in parliament on Thursday that persistent load-shedding was the only reason Eskom’s leadership was criticised.   Unions and political parties called for Eskom CEO André de Ruyter to resign after a spate of load-shedding in November. Mabuza, who leads the political task team on Eskom, said:   “I am convinced that the current leadership of Eskom and the board, of course working under pressure and duress ... are trying their level best, and I am supportive of them. And I can tell, with due respect to all those who are criticising the leadership of Eskom, that this is the best leadership we can have to transform and turn around Eskom.” He went on to state: “I am happy with the way they are transforming the organisation. I am happy with the cost-savings measures that are under way and I am happy with the savings that they have made, and will continue to make.” This was the second time the deputy president has come to the defence of Eskom leadership in parliament. Last month, he defended De Ruyter during a question-and-answer session in the National Council of Provinces at a time when the power utility’s CEO was under fire after he referred to the state-owned company as a “dead horse”.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Aphiwe Deklerk at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Eskom requests 20.5% increase in tariff application for 2022/23, at Engineering News


APPOINTMENTS

Dr Sean Phillips appointed as new permanent DWS director-general

Engineering News reports that Dr Sean Douglas Phillips has been appointed as the new permanent director-general of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu said that he was hopeful that the stability of the department and its entities would be realised with a permanent director-general of the calibre of Phillips. He issued a plea to everyone in the sector to give Phillips all the necessary support, noting that the appointment came at an opportune time when the water sector was faced with a myriad of challenges that needed knowledgeable administrators with innovative ideas “to steer the ship in the right direction, working closely with the political leadership”.   Phillips is an engineer by profession with more than 20 years in senior management positions in government.

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


HEALTHCARE ‘CERTIFICATE OF NEED’

Solidarity heading for court to get “certificate of need” for healthcare practitioners scrapped

Trade union Solidarity announced on Thursday that it had issued a court application against the Director-General of Health, the Minister of Health and the President to have sections 36 to 40 of the National Health Act declared unconstitutional. These sections provide for the introduction of a “certificate of need” in terms of which healthcare practitioners will have to apply to the state for approval regarding where they may practise. According to Solidarity, the provisions of these sections, as well as any resultant regulations, are unconstitutional and unlawfully infringe upon the rights of healthcare practitioners. “Although the provisions contained in sections 36 to 40 of the National Health Act have not yet been implemented, proposed regulations have already been published that precede the implementation of the sections. The proposed regulations are clearly unconstitutional on various grounds as set out and discussed in Solidarity’s application. Instead of addressing the need for healthcare and broadening access to health care, the scheme is merely a license to be issued to practitioners if they meet the Director-General’s set requirements. This will be to the detriment of all South Africa citizens,” explained Henru Krüger, head of the Health Guild at Solidarity. He went on to assert: “We believe the provisions are irrational and without any logical link to the alleged objectives. The proposed licensing requirements seriously infringe upon the rights of healthcare professionals to practice their profession according to their own discretion.”

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


QUALIFICATIONS

Former spy boss Mahlodi Muofhe sues Inspector-General of Intelligence for R500,000 over 'falsified qualifications' claim

News24 reports that the State Security Agency's former domestic director-general, advocate Mahlodi Muofhe, is suing the Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI), Setlhomamaru Dintwe, over claims that he (Muofhe) had falsified his qualifications. In the notice of motion before the North Gauteng High Court, Muofhe has asked the court to declare that Dintwe "acted in violation of the constitutional rights of the applicant to human dignity and privacy when he announced during a television interview, on 10 November 2020, that he was investigating the applicant for falsifying his qualifications". Among other things, Muofhe is seeking an order for damages in the sum of R500 000. In February, Muofhe reportedly demanded that Dintwe should retract the false statement based on an anonymous complaint and apologise unconditionally within 14 days, otherwise legal steps would follow. The IGI has since cleared Muofhe of the allegations, which were found to be "without merit and the allegations untrue". In the court papers, Muofhe attached a certified copy of his Bachelor of Law degree, obtained from Unisa, and a copy of his admission as an advocate of the high court. The IGI's spokesperson advised on Thursday that, to date, the court papers had not been served on the IGI.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Canny Maphanga at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Nketoane local municipality CFO in court over alleged fake qualifications, at IOL


LIFESTYLE AUDITS

Lifestyle audits for all public servants to commence from February next year

BusinessLive reports that although it’s taken seven years for the government to introduce lifestyle audits for all public servants, this will begin in February 2022 in a bid to prevent and detect fraud and corruption in the public service and to ensure employees’ lifestyles are in line with their declared income. The audits have been in the pipeline since the 2014 establishment of the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit, within the Department of Public Service & Administration (DPSA).   According to Public Service Commission (PSC) commissioner Michael Seloane, the audits will focus on all workers in the public service, starting in February 2022 for employees at the PSC.   Seloane said on Tuesday:   “Sometimes the only clue to illicit activities is a sudden, unexplained change in an employee’s lifestyle. The lifestyle audit is, therefore, a critical management tool to identify staff members who, based on extravagant lifestyles, may potentially be engaging in illicit activities.” The compulsory guidelines for all audits of public servants in national and provincial departments, as well as state-owned enterprises, were approved by former DPSA Minister Senzo Mchunu in April 2021. The unit has trained 42 ethics officers on the risk-based verification of financial disclosures (lifestyle reviews). The audits will include reports from various databases to provide a snapshot of the financial profile of public servants. Training material has been developed with the assistance of the Canadian government.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Thando Maeko at BusinessLive


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Association says BRT job losses loom if government doesn’t reconsider legislation

Engineering News reports that the SA Bus Rapid Transit Association (Sabrata) has called on government to review legislation governing the bus rapid transit (BRT) industry, particularly to extend the 12-year bus operating companies’ contracts that are in place across the country. The contracts will all expire within the next 6 to 12 months. “The consequences of contract termination are dire for our members. For example, one of the members would have 299 shareholders who will lose a guaranteed income and their jobs, with no chance of obtaining new taxi permits or gaining access to their old routes,” the association noted.   Sabrata was established in 2017 as a voluntary, nonprofit organisation for bus operating companies in the various BRT systems in SA. The current BRT systems’ operating companies are Piotrans Phase 1A and Litsamiaso Phase 1B in Johannesburg; Tshwane Rapid Transit, in Tshwane; Kidrogen and Trans Peninsula, in Cape Town; George Link, in George; and KTVR, in Ekurhuleni. A further seven BRTs are in the pipeline for eThekwini; Polokwane; Mangaung, Mduduzi, Rustenburg, Mbombela and Buffalo City. The association outlined various contractual and tender issues relating to BRT systems around the country in a virtual briefing on 9 December.

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


OTHER HEADLINES OF INTEREST

  • Manufacturing business confidence declines marginally on Covid-19, load-shedding, at Engineering News
  • Construction industry continues its steady but slow recovery, at Moneyweb

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page