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.


Gunman holds up SANParks rangers on Lion's Head as crime spikes on hiking trails

News24 reports that SANParks and the City of Cape Town are concerned about the spike in crime on hiking trails. On Thursday, SANParks rangers were held up at gunpoint on Lion's Head in Cape Town when they responded to a pre-dawn robbery complaint. "As they approached the kramat (shrine to Muslim holy men), an individual emerged from the bushes, armed, [and] cocked his weapon and pointed it at our rangers. Thankfully, no one was injured, and it was later discovered that the ammunition were blank shells," SANParks said in a statement.   The gunman fled from the scene. "Lion's Head was immediately closed off for the safety of users approaching the area, and through our operations room, various role players were alerted," SANParks added. The police were deployed to search for the gunman. The area has since been reopened to the public. SANParks spokesperson Lauren Clayton said there had been a spike in crime on Lion's Head and Signal Hill since August. Cape Town's mayoral committee member for safety and Security, JP Smith, advised that in June and July, one or two crime incidents were reported each month, but it dramatically shot up to 10 in August, six in September, and 13 in October. The Table Mountain National Park and all of its hiking trails are under the control of national government.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lisalee Solomons at News24

Gunmen in Checkers uniforms rob staff at retailer’s Windermere store in Durban

IOL News reports that police in Durban are investigating a case of robbery after a group of men stormed the Checkers store in Windermere Centre on Thursday morning. The armed men were apparently dressed in full Checkers uniform. Four men allegedly entered the store from the receiving section, pretending to be employees at the store. They then produced firearms and forced staff towards the basement and made them lie down on the floor. They demanded that staff hand over their personal belongings.   The perpetrators then fled the scene.   A police spokesperson indicated:   “It is alleged that three armed men forced the employees and security inside the business premises and robbed them of cellphones and their belongings. No shots were fired and no injuries were reported.” In a statement, Checkers confirmed that no-one was seriously injured during the incident and trauma counselling had been arranged for all employees involved. Last week, the Tafelkop Mall was robbed by a group of armed people dressed as police officers and purporting to be officers. They robbed security officers of cellphones, two-way radios and an official jacket.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Se-Anne Rall at IOL News

Two bust in Joburg for pretending to be cops and allegedly demanding ‘protection money’ from business owners

The Citizen reports that police in Johannesburg have arrested two imposters for impersonating police officers. The “fake cops” aged 43 and 49 were arrested on Wednesday evening in Houghton and found in possession of two firearms, one unlicensed and the other a replica. Police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said the Saps National Anti-Kidnapping Task Team, working closely with JMPD and a private security company, had been monitoring the duo for two weeks. “They are alleged to have been posing as police officers and extorting “protection fees” from business owners in and around Johannesburg. In their possession, police also found and seized R16,000 that is suspected to have been obtained illegally, balaclavas and multiple cellphones. One of the suspects was found to have an Saps appointment card,” Mathlenda indicated.   The fake cops are expected to make their first appearance before the Johannesburg Central Magistrate’s Court on Friday. Meanwhile, Limpopo police have launched a manhunt for a group of fake police officers who robbed a mall last month. The suspects, clad in police uniform and armed with firearms, demanded to enter the mall and access the security control room to monitor cameras. Security guards became suspicious and notified the actual police without the suspects noticing. The guards were robbed of cell phones, three two-way radios, and a jacket.   After noticing the police arriving, the suspects quickly left the building, rushed to their vehicle, and drove off; while some of them fled on foot to nearby shacks.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Faizel Patel at The Citizen. Lees ook, Kamma-polisiebeamptes vas wat glo ‘beskermingsgeld’ eis, by Maroela Media


Satawu’s Transnet protest planned for Friday put on hold

The Mercury reports that Cosatu and its affiliate, the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), have postponed a planned nationwide strike on Friday as they continue to engage with the Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan over their concerns about the privatisation of Transnet. Last week Satawu said it had planned to hold marches in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape, and at other Transnet depots, with the main march to take place in Durban. Gordhan and the unions started engagements on Monday, aimed at averting a strike at the beleaguered state-owned enterprise (SOE). Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, in his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on Wednesday, described the state entity as “inefficient and uncompetitive”, with Treasury documents revealing that the indebted SOE’s efficiencies have cost over R400 billion. Business and labour have raised ongoing concerns about the viability of the entity and its drain on the fiscus, with Transnet recently reporting a loss of R5.7bn in 2022-23. Cosatu spokesperson Matthew Parks on Thursday said they were opposed to privatisation if it was going to lead to restructuring and job losses.   “We want Transnet fixed but not at the expense of workers losing their jobs,” he said, adding that the federation was hoping the new leadership at the entity “can bring in the competence required” as quickly as possible.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kuben Chetty at The Mercury


KZN teachers to picket from Monday after 'poor response' from department about grievances

TimesLIVE reports that KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) leaders of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) say they will lobby members to picket across the province from Monday. This after they were disappointed by the response received from the Department Basic Education (DBE) following a march on 13 October that highlighted grievances. KZN provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said external matric exams would not be affected, as they would continue with their protests at schools which were presently sitting internal exams. The October march attracted more than 25,000 teachers. Demands included the payment of financial allocations to schools, payment of pay progression, adjustment of the grade R stipend and their absorption, grading of schools, decentralisation of post level one appointments, timely appointment of substitutes and senior management posts.   Caluza said they would be urging members to engage in a “work to rule” wherein they refrained from engaging in work-related matters outside the seven hours period. Caluza said they were “disappointed” by the DBE’s response and went on to add: “For us the response was just compliance. But there was no resolution on the issues that Sadtu raised.   Failure of this meant deteriorating support to schools. This resulted in a situation where school leaders – principals – have been demoralised.   Schools have been left without resources.” The DBE did not respond to queries.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mfundo Mkhize at TimesLIVE


Protesters storm Durban City Hall after PEP workers received SMSes that programme was suspended due to a lack of funds

GroundUp reports that hundreds of retrenched Presidential Employment Programme (PEP) workers attempted to storm the Durban City Hall in a protest on Wednesday. They were demanding that their contracts be reinstated by the eThekwini municipality after the programme was abruptly terminated on Sunday. Some of the PEP workers who had been absorbed by various non-government organisations (NGOs) in September also had their contracts terminated. In early October, eThekwini municipality announced that it had run out of funds due to budget revisions by national Treasury. The programme was announced as part of the president’s stimulus package in October 2022. According to the workers’ memorandum, eThekwini had promised some of them employment for six months. But soon after signing, they were told the municipality had insufficient funds to continue the programme and were moved to NGOs contracted by the City.   Mayoral advisor Mlungisie Ntombela came out to accept the memorandum. He said that some of the issues had already been discussed during a council meeting on 31 October and they hoped that Treasury would fund the programme again.   Ntombela promised that the mayor would meet the protest leaders on Friday because there were “plans in the pipeline” to find a solution.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tsoanelo Sefoloko at GroundUp


Thousands of young people to receive appointment letters from Panyaza Lesufi on Saturday

IOL News reports that thousands of Gauteng job seekers will receive much-anticipated appointment letters on Saturday at the Rhema Bible Church in Randburg as part of the Nasi Ispani initiative by the Gauteng provincial government to fight against unemployment in the province.   Announcing that the successful job seekers would receive their employment letters, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi congratulated them. He said that they were finalising the selection process for almost 4,000 other posts that were advertised on 16 June, so “it’s not the end of the road.”   The appointment letters are for those who will work as crime prevention wardens, civic education ambassadors, early childhood development practitioners, and building inspectors.   This comes after Lesufi handed over 50,000 employment offers to job applicants in July at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. In addition, Lesufi promised that his government would deliver about 6,000 job opportunities every month until 2024 to fight against corruption, lawlessness, poverty, and unemployment.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kamogelo Moichela at IOL News


De Beers signs historic five-year wage agreement with NUM

BL Premium reports that on Thursday diamond producer De Beers signed a five-year wage deal with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) that has been hailed as bringing stability in the diamond sector.   With the agreement, the company, which is part of the Anglo American group, joined Impala Platinum (Implats) and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), which signed five-year wage agreements with unions in 2022. The wage deal will see employees in the bargaining unit at Venetia Mine and De Beers Sightholder Sales SA receiving an increase of 7% in 2023 and 6% in the subsequent years until 30 April 2028. The historic deal takes the minimum basic wage at entry level, excluding allowances for shifts and housing, to R17,630 per month. “The agreement also allows for participation in the Employee Share Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and will see De Beers’ employees in SA taking part in Anglo American’s current South African ESOP from 2023 to 2025,” the company, which has mining operations in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and SA, advised in a statement. The wage talks began in March, with NUM demanding a pay hike of 9% while De Beers offered 6%. The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration facilitated the talks when negotiations deadlocked.

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

Gold One suspends 34 workers who held 500 colleagues hostage underground

SowetanLive reports that at least 34 mineworkers who allegedly held 500 of their colleagues hostage underground at a Springs mine last week have been suspended. Gold One’s Ziyaad Hassam said the miners were suspended on Tuesday and Wednesday and would face internal disciplinary proceedings from early next week. He said the suspensions came after eyewitness reports from employees underground and camera footage were obtained. “We do have footage underground, which we viewed and has given us an indication of those involved,” he indicated. “We are in the process of identifying more suspects and taking statements down but no charges have been laid and no cases have been opened.   Two processes are running separately, the internal DC hearing for contravention of the code of conduct and potential criminal cases will be if any of the employees have been engaged in criminal conduct and we are able to identify those employees,” Hassam said.   More than 500 employees spent three days underground from Sunday until Wednesday last week. While the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) labelled the event as kidnapping, the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said the sit-in was in protest against the company’s failure to award it organisational rights.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jeanette Chabalala at SowetanLive

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • SANDF deployed to help SAPS fight zama-zamas, construction Mafia, at IOL News
  • Sale of Gupta-linked Optimum still scuppered as SCA quashes appeal bid, at Fin24 (subscriber access only)


Virgin Active to cut jobs at head office in Cape Town

Fin24 reports that Virgin Active, which is 67% owned by Christo Wiese-backed Brait, is restructuring, which will affect a "small percentage" of jobs at its local head office in Claremont, Cape Town. The company said this was part of a plan to cut unnecessary costs, streamline its operations, and improve efficiencies across its global operations. Virgin Active had 611,000 members in southern Africa as of the end of March. It employs 3,200 people in SA and the restructuring will not affect any staff at its gym clubs. According to Virgin Active, it continued to be profitable, was cash generative, and had seen "positive trends" in membership growth. "The business has been reinvesting significant capital into both upgrading clubs and installing backup power solutions which ensure that our members can enjoy our facilities through load shedding," it added. Virgin Active is also investing to transform its gyms into workspaces, as more of its members work from home. This means that people are increasingly also working from the gym, prompting the group to direct part of a new R403 million spend towards office space and meeting rooms.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nick Wilson at Fin24 (subscriber access only)


Low wage public servants battle for cancer and other screening despite belonging to medical scheme

BL Premium reports that low wage public servants are screening for cancer at significantly lower rates than better-paid colleagues despite being provided with equal cover for these benefits. A similar trend is seen in the take-up of tests for diabetes, as revealed by data from the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) presented to a symposium on Thursday. The findings highlight the extent to which the circumstances in which people live affect their health seeking behaviour and access to services, said GEMS chief research officer Selaelo Mametja. GEMS is the biggest medical scheme for civil servants, and had more than 2.1-million beneficiaries at the end of 2022.   State employees on salary levels one to five are eligible for generous state subsidies that enable them to join GEMS’ Tanzanite One option for R115 per family per month. Tanzanite One beneficiaries include cleaners, gardeners and administrative staff, many of whom live in rural areas. Public servants on salary level five are paid on average R283,000 a year. Members of Tanzanite One had lower utilisation rates for mammograms, pap smears and PSA tests than those who belong to other options. These tests are used to screen for cancer of the breast, cervix and prostate respectively. Mametja commented: “We know breast cancer screening units are not available in our townships and rural areas, so access is a determinant of health. But low incomes are also associated with low education levels and low health literacy.” She suggested that healthcare professionals and medical schemes could do more to raise awareness of the importance of preventative healthcare measures such as cancer screening.

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


Explosive UCT report flags labour practice violations, staff exodus because of Phakeng

News24 reports that an independent panel, led by former Supreme Court of Appeal president Judge Lex Mpati, laid bare a distressing extent of labour practice violations at the University of Cape Town (UCT), resulting in a significant staff exodus. The report also highlighted the profound repercussions of the breakdown in executive and governance relations. Former UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng and council chair Babalwa Ngonyama emerged at the centre of the probe following allegations that Ngonyama had supplied false reasons to the UCT senate for the early departure of Professor Lis Lange, who had been the deputy vice-chancellor for learning and teaching. Staff members who left the university included former deputy-vice chancellor, Loretta Feris, Lange, and executive director for communications Gerda Kruger. Regarding Phakeng, the report said: "Phakeng repeatedly conducted herself unprofessionally by engaging in activity that is prohibited in the UCT workplace, including using threats, intimidation, ethnic slurs, personal insults and also posting racially offensive material on social media." The scathing 179-page report was handed to Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande. "The minister is studying it [the report] before he can publicly comment on its findings," said spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Marvin Charles at News24 (subscriber access only)


Former Eastern Cape housing department CFO held in contempt of court for failure to return laptop

BL Premium reports that a former government official, Ouma Gaehumelwe Diutlwileng, found herself in contempt of court after refusing to return a work laptop that she claimed had been stolen. The Makhanda High Court on Tuesday found her in contempt and ordered that, despite her claims the laptop was stolen from her house, she must return the laptop to the housing department or face nine months’ imprisonment. She was also ordered to pay the department’s legal costs. In 2019, Diutlwileng took up her post as CFO of the Eastern Cape housing department. In 2021 she was placed on precautionary suspension after the department accused her of gross dishonesty, insubordination and negligence. In 2022 she was dismissed after a disciplinary inquiry. During the precautionary suspension in 2021, the department wanted her work laptop back, believing it contained digital evidence that would support its claims. However, Diutlwileng claimed it was stolen during a housebreaking, which occurred three days after she was suspended. The department then obtained an order from the court for her to return the laptop, which she failed to do. In a report to the court in 2021, a forensic expert reported that the laptop had been used three months after it was reported stolen, and had been used within a 150-metre radius of Diutlwileng’s home. When connected, it was using a Wi-Fi network with her surname. He concluded it was still being used by her and at her home.   In 2022, the court again ordered Diutlwileng to return the laptop. As the laptop was still not returned, the department then applied for a contempt of court order. On Tuesday, the court ordered Diutlwileng to return the laptop within 10 days or face imprisonment.

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


  • Corruption cloud over Popcru leader on the eve of congress, at News24 (subscriber access only)
  • Opinion: YES programme a well-intentioned but empty gesture for SA’s jobless youth, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)
  • Opinion: Power outages: Still a long way to go before grid is stable, at Moneyweb
  • Money talks: Here is what the Springboks earn outside of the national team, at IOL News
  • Workers disclose ritual murder in 2006 in which a man was killed and cut up to boost business, at IOL News


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