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 roundup of weekend news, see
summaries of our selection of South African
labour-related stories that appeared since
Friday, 3 November 2023.


State employees in SA ‘best paid in the world’

City Press writes that the state in SA has some of the highest paid public sector workers in the world. The government workforce is almost 2 million. More than 55,000 public servants earn more than R1 million per year, which is not even performance-driven. Almost half of public servants earn between R350,000 and R600,000 per year. In the medium-term budget policy statement, which Godongwana tabled last week, the National Treasury admitted that the wage bill for public servants was 3.5% higher than the average of 38 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Those countries include Australia, Canada, the US, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. If the percentage of total employees is considered, SA has fewer public servants than countries with high wage bills, such as Norway and Denmark. This means that SA’s public servants’ high compensation levels are the reason for the excessive wage bill, not a higher number of people employed. Since 2013, the average compensation of public servants has grown faster than the numbers employed – mostly due to salary hikes that were higher than inflation. According to Johan Gouws of Sasfin Wealth, from 2015 to 2021 the public service grew by 2.1% and the wage bill by 6.2% per year. Gouws added: “So, it shows there were inflation-adjusted increases every year – whether we had a good year or a bad year.” The high salary increases continued this year and in March an agreement was reached with the trade unions for a 7.5% pay hike in the current financial year.   This led to an extra R23.6 billion in expenses that had not been budgeted for in February. In his budget speech last week, Godongwana indicated that government intended to cut spending in the coming financial years by, among other things, “rationalising” the size of the public service.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Liesl Peyper at City Press (subscriber access only)

Government tightens screws on the hiring of new employees

Sunday Independent reports that the government is tightening the screws on the hiring of new employees in its bid to cut costs as part of responding to the current challenging fiscal environment. Public Service and Administration (DPSA) Minister, Noxolo Kiviet has informed her colleagues that motivation for creating or filling certain vacant posts by national government departments must be submitted to her for her concurrence, or the relevant premier in the case of a provincial department or provincial government component. “Chief financial officers are expected to advise their departments on the financial implications of creating or filling certain critical posts and confirm the availability of funding for the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) period,” a new directive issued by DPSA director-general Yoliswa Makhasi last month indicated. Makhasi’s department has undertaken to assist others in assessing motivation for creating or filling certain critical posts in line with the criteria in the directive as well as verifying the availability of funding over the MTEF period with the national or provincial Treasury’s budget analysts. According to Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, the cost of the wage agreement for the 2023/24 financial year will require significant trade-offs in government spending over the short and medium term as the wage bill was a significant cost driver.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Loyiso Sidimba at Sunday Independent. Read too, Treasury adopts a new approach to rein in bloated public servants’ wage bill, at Daily Maverick

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • ‘Geen aptyt’ vir moeilike begrotingsbesluite, by Maroela Media
  • Saftu urges government officials to send their kids to public schools, at Moneyweb (podcast)


Another eThekwini water and sanitation unit manager killed

Sunday Tribune reports that a senior manager in the eThekwini Municipality’s water and sanitation unit was shot dead on Friday night. Emmanuel Ntuli, a manager overseeing the plants and logistics of the unit, was killed at his home in Mandeni on the KZN’s North Coast. His killing came weeks after a colleague, Khumbulani Khumalo from the same unit, was shot and killed. eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda confirmed that Ntuli was fatally shot at his home. Khumalo, who had been the unit’s Community Services manager, was slain while seated in a council vehicle in Inanda in September. Another employee sustained gunshot wounds while on duty in Ottawa, north of Durban, last year. An official of the unit described Ntuli and Khumalo’s murders as shocking, but was not sure if the incidents were related to their work at the municipality.   “But it is a concern and shocking when senior managers of one department are killed like this,” the official pointed out. ActionSA’s Zwakele Mncwag, said the murders of Khumalo and Ntuli were not isolated and called on the municipality’s leadership to investigate the source of these incidents. “There is a lot happening in that department and there is a need for a thorough investigation as there are (a) few people who have been killed in that department,” he pointed out.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Bongani Hans at Sunday Tribune

See too, eThekwini water and sanitation official killed at his home, at TimesLIVE

Tshwane Emergency Services condemns armed robbery at Ga-Rankuwa fire station on Friday

EWN reports that Tshwane Emergency Services has condemned a brazen robbery at one of its fire stations. Spokesperson Charles Mabaso said gunmen stormed the Ga-Rankuwa fire station in the early hours of Friday morning. Apparently, the criminals broke through a concrete wall, cornered six firefighters in the rest area and robbed them of their cellphones at gunpoint.   Mabaso said this was the second time the station had been targeted since 2022. A case of robbery has been opened at the Ga-Rankuwa police station.   "We urge law enforcement to work swiftly to bring perpetrators to book and we condemn this act because EMS officials go out and work 24/7 to ensure communities are kept safe," said Mabaso.

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Bernadette Wicks at EWN. Lees ook, Boewe slaan toe op Pta-brandweerstasie, by Maroela Media

Groundbreaking study shows that sleep-deprived executives set themselves up for heart attacks and strokes

BL Premium reports that SA corporate executives who say they don’t get enough sleep may be more vulnerable to obesity and other conditions that increase their risk of heart attacks and strokes. In the first of its kind conducted in SA, new research analysed the annual health risk assessments of more than 1,500 executives and senior managers from 56 companies across a range of industries.   Its results added to a growing body of research on the health risks associated with insufficient sleep.   The research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Preventative Medicine, found consistently sleeping less than seven to nine hours a night was associated with a higher body mass index and waist circumference, with intriguing differences between men and women.   The study’s lead author Paula Pienaar commented: “In both men and women, sleep is a pillar of occupational health that needs to be addressed. Women are (generally) less active, so we need interventions to help them balance their lifestyle so they can have time to sleep enough and be more physically active.”   Even at senior level women typically bear most of the responsibility for childcare and running their households, leaving little time for sleep or exercise.   By contrast, many male executives regarded exercise as part of their to-do list and considered sleep a luxury.   “Their weakness is they feel they don’t need to sleep,” Pienaar pointed out. Life Health Solutions corporate wellness manager Zaheer Hammersley observed: “Creating a good foundation around sleep behaviour, attitude and habits is of paramount importance.”

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


Tshwane bus torched on Friday as wage dispute rages on

City Press reports that the battle between the City of Tshwane and its striking employees seems to be far from over.   In the latest turn of events, a City bus driver was forced to a halt by armed men in Olievenhoutbosch on Friday morning. The incident took place just before 6am when the bus was en route from a township on the outskirts of Centurion to the capital city. Tshwane MMC for roads and transport, Katlego Mathebe, reported: “The perpetrator entered a bus armed with a gun. He instructed all the commuters to get out of the bus and held the bus driver at gunpoint until he managed to escape. He, along with other perpetrators, then burnt down the bus.   We suspect that this is a result of illegal strikers being called in to terminate their services.” Mathebe said the drivers were aware that the workers were on an illegal strike, and when the bus operation resumed, they refused to report for duty. For the past four months, workers belonging to the SA Municipal Workers' Union have been involved in a violent labour dispute with the city management over the council's decision not to effect salary and wage increases for the financial year. They have damaged the city's buildings and infrastructure, and torched municipal vehicles. According to the metro, it does not have money to pay the increases, but the union insists that the city agreed to the hikes and must honour its part of the contract.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Abram Mashego at City Press. See too, Tshwane bus torched a week after returning to service, at Pretoria Rekord. En ook, Nog ʼn Tshwane-bus brand, by Maroela Media


Gold One expects number of workers being disciplined for holding co-workers 'hostage' to rise

TimesLIVE reports that Gold One is moving with speed on the disciplinary hearings of employees suspended for allegedly holding co-workers hostage underground. The company last week placed 34 workers on suspension on charges relating to “participating in the sit-in underground which turned into a hostage situation, as well as picketing on surface, which was against a company instruction for all employees not to come to work during those days, as well as a violation of two court orders preventing any strike action”. Gold One legal head Ziyaad Hassam said the disciplinary proceedings were expected to commence early this week. “All hearings are planned to be individually conducted, with external chairpersons overseeing proceedings, where necessary,” he indicated. The workers are on the firing line after more than 550 employees spent three days underground. After resurfacing, some of the workers said they were held against their will while others said it was a voluntary sit-in protest action against the company’s failure to recognise the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu). Hassam said the company was continuing with its internal investigation and he expected the number of workers being disciplined to rise. No criminal charges have been pressed against implicated workers.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mpho Sibanyoni at TimesLIVE


Already weakened unions suffer near-record membership decline

Fin24 reports that SA trade union membership decreased by half a million in the year to end March, with 10 unions deregistering over the course of the year. Membership fell almost 11% to 3.96 million, according to statistics from the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL). This was the biggest drop in union membership since 2004/5 when 934,135 trade union members left. According to trade unions, increased job losses and a move of employees to the informal sector prompted the decline. However, in the view of experts, the decrease in union membership has revealed a weakening influence of trade unions as members become disillusioned by continuous strikes. Labour expert Andrew Levy commented: “Workers have become disenchanted with strikes because they lose their much-needed pay or wages. Some have said they no longer want to lose their income and have no interest in their union disputes.” According to Levy, declining membership and decreased influence of trade unionism has been experienced worldwide, not just SA. However, he added that "smokestack" industries, such as mining, steel and the vehicle manufacturing, as well as the public sector, would continue to have a strong union membership. Levy also pointed out that many sectors had been hit by retrenchments and job losses. Thembinkosi Mkalipi, chief director of labour policy at the DEL, commented:   “One of the biggest contributors is the weakness of trade unions in the service to their members. The lack of skills and capacity in trade union leadership causes the lack of service, which drives workers away, with the lack of membership also increasing the weakness of trade unions.” Cosatu’s Matthew Parks said membership had stabilised for the federation at about 1.6 million, but some individual unions had experienced a decline in membership due to retrenchments and job losses.   Saftu’s Trebor Shaku said the federation had lost 250,000 members since Covid-19, and there was a fear that membership would continue to decline.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Na'ilah Ebrahim at Fin24


Three executives emerge as strong candidates for Transnet CEO post

Business Times reports that two former Transnet executives and the board chair of Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) are believed to be front-runners for the position of group CEO at the state-owned rail and ports company. Apparently, RBCT executive chair Nosipho Damasane, former Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) CEO Ravi Nair, and former Transnet Group COO Mlamuli Buthelezi are in the running for the top job. Damasane is a former COO of Transnet Port Terminals and has previously acted as an adviser to public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan. She has also had a stint as CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA. Damasane also chairs Indlela, a company formed late last year to invest in wagons and locomotives to improve rail and port logistics in Southern Africa.   Buthelezi and Nair were among four executives suspended by Transnet in 2019 after investigations took place into maladministration as the company moved to improve corporate governance and regain market confidence after state capture. Transnet is on the hunt for a new boss after group CEO Portia Derby resigned alongside CFO Nonkululeko Dlamini in October. A week later, TFR CEO Sizakele Mzimela also stepped down. While the selection process – including the shortlisting of candidates to be interviewed – has yet to be concluded for the CEO vacancy, Damasane, Nair and Buthelezi are said to be emerging as strong contenders due to their extensive experience at Transnet.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Dineo Faku at Business Times (subscriber access only)


Only 15.8% of SA population on medical aid as people prioritise day-to-day expenses instead

News24 reports that many working-class South Africans cannot afford to pay for medical aid, according to Frikkie de Bruin, general secretary of the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council.     Chana Pilane-Majake, Deputy Minister of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), pointed out at the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) annual symposium on Thursday that a mere 15.8% of the South African population belonged to medical aid schemes as of 2022. "This gives you a sense of the enormous burden of care to the public health system and of how important it is to DPSA and all our stakeholders to break the societal barriers to healthcare in both the private and public sectors," she said. The minister said the health equity gap indicated a broader societal inequity that could no longer stand. "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane. And so, one of the questions we must ask ourselves is how do we bring humanity to our healthcare ecosystem,” the minister asked. De Bruin pointed out that several low-income employees did not pay for medical aid but used the money as part of their disposable income to address their day-to-day financial needs. He observed: “Despite being part of the working force, half of the working South Africans are living in poverty. These adverse conditions make the social determinants of health even more significant towards the overall health of the working class.” Chief healthcare officer at GEMS, Dr Vuyo Gqola, added: "There are tremendous disparities between the public and private healthcare sectors. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), numerous studies suggest that the social determinants of health account for between 30% and 55% of health outcomes."

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


Freight company successfully restrains former employees from ‘soliciting’ clients away

BL Premium reports that a freight company has successfully restrained a former employee and his wife from competing and diverting business away from it. The former employee had close relationships with 151 clients and the freight company was concerned he would solicit them away. On Wednesday, the Johannesburg High Court granted the freight company its urgent interdict to prohibit the couple from competing. Rudolph Matthee and his wife, Elize, ran a transport and freight forwarding company, Clyroscan, which in 2022 ran into financial distress. Mathee then approached Emlink for assistance. In July 2022, Emlink entered into an agreement with Matthee to bring in clients. Both Matthees had access to Emlink’s database and other trade secrets as part of their work with the company. The Matthees opted to leave Emlink’s employment in October 2023. However, Emlink obtained evidence that the Matthees were in breach of the restraint clauses they had agreed to in 2022.   Emlink then approached the court for an urgent interdict to stop the continuing breach it believed the Matthees were perpetuating. On Wednesday, Judge Leicester Adams examined evidence put up by Emlink and concluded it “confirms that the (Matthees) are making use of their relationships and Emlink’s confidential information and trade secrets to solicit and canvas clients for third-party entities, including a company seemingly under the control of the (Rudolph Matthee’s) son.” He ruled in Emlink’s favour, restraining the Matthees and ordering that they be prohibited for two years from being involved in transport services to any of Emlink’s clients.

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


IT specialists fired summarily for bugging CETA board, leaking sensitive info

City Press reports that the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) fired two of its most senior IT specialists after it emerged that the pair allegedly leaked sensitive information to unauthorised parties and deleted the organisation’s CEO’s email account.   CETA issued summary dismissals to Bernard Mavangira and Bongani Sibanyoni after the pair were allegedly found to have been spying on the organisation’s board of directors by bugging their meetings and listening in on them. A forensic investigation into the activities of the pair revealed that the now dismissed IT gurus had allegedly applied their expertise to breach a litany of the information and communication technology (ICT) policies of the CETA. The investigators termed these as acts of malice, sabotage, fraud, dishonesty and insolence. Mavangira and Sibanyoni had sweeping access to the entire ICT infrastructure of CETA, and had clearance to access the organisation’s servers remotely. When confronted with information that he allegedly deleted evidence of his access to the CETA IT systems without being authorised to do so, and, the organisation’s intention to suspend him for other alleged transgressions, Sibanyoni apparently lost his cool in a meeting with the CEO, Malusi Shezi, and later sent him a heated WhatsApp message calling him a “small boy”. When asked for comment, Mavangira indicated: “Yes, I can confirm that I have been dismissed by the CETA without commissioning of any disciplinary hearing. The matter has since been referred to the CCMA and I cannot divulge the allegations and merits thereof, pending the CCMA outcome.” The CETA was placed under administration following a string of poor performances which the Auditor-General blamed on defective project management by the leadership of the organisation.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nkululeko Ncana at City Press (subscriber access only)


More shenanigans in North West's health department emerge

News24 reports that Obakeng Mongale, who allegedly led a corrupt R470 million hospital-building project while he was the North West public works' departmental head, was hired to head the provincial health department 13 years later. On Thursday, Mongale was arrested for the 2008 tender in which, according to the North West police, he gave tenders to companies that did not meet the bid's requirements, including one business undergoing liquidation, to develop the Brits District Hospital. The facility's opening was delayed by several years and only opened in April 2014. Mongale faces charges of contravention of the Public Finance Management Act. Police said the provincial government had given about R57 million to the liquidated Ilima Projects and Tsoga Developers when the contract was stopped in 2010 following shoddy work, which had to be fixed by another company at extra cost to the state worth millions of rand. Ironically, Mongale was replaced in the health department by Dr Andrew Lekalakala, who was nabbed about three weeks ago for alleged fraud he and his company, Raliform Investment, committed during the building of the Moses Kotane Hospital in Ledig outside Rustenburg and the Joe Morolong Hospital in Vryburg.   Lekalakala allegedly paid R49 million to a company that submitted fraudulent documents before receiving the tender. He is expected to appear in the Molapo Magistrate's Court on 31 January, the same day Mongale will appear in the Mahikeng Magistrate's Court. Each was released on bail of R50.000.

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


  • Cape Town teacher recognised globally for her contribution in education, at Weekend Argus
  • How to protect your business and staff against phishing cyber attacks, at News24
  • Blade Nzimande asked to intervene over suspension of Vaal University of Technology registrar, at Daily Maverick
  • Vavi accuses US of using Agoa to silence African leaders on Israel-Palestine war, at EWN


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