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.


Pay negotiations begin again between City of Tshwane and unions

TimesLIVE reports that the administration of the Tshwane metro municipality and its municipal workers are back at the negotiating table in yet another effort to resolve their pay dispute and labour unrest.   This is according to the multiparty coalition oversight group, which met on Tuesday to receive a progress report on the fraught labour relations in Tshwane. On Wednesday, the group reported that the CCMA was facilitating pay talks between the City of Tshwane and labour union representatives. In a statement, the oversight group indicated: “The city and the unions have agreed to protect the integrity of the talks by allowing the CCMA to communicate on their collective behalf and, as such, we will not ventilate these matters as a multiparty coalition.”   Despite the step back, the multiparty top brass expressed that there were two important issues that should take centre stage, namely labour stability and the financial sustainability of the municipality. “The CCMA engagements are a positive step in this regard,” they said. Tshwane’s DA mayor Cilliers Brink has consistently maintained that the city cannot afford the pay rise demanded by the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal & Allied Trade Union (Imatu). The SA Local Government Bargaining Council has ruled in favour of the unions, but the metro has appealed against this in the Labour Court.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sisanda Mbolekwa at BusinessLive. Lees ook, Minister beroof: ‘Hulle het wapen teen my kop gedruk’, by Maroela Media

Tshwane stinks as Samwu strike continues

The Citizen reports that the impact of the strike by City of Tshwane workers affiliated to the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) is far from over. Tshwane and Samwu are still wrestling over salary increases behind closed doors with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, while the community continues to live in a dirty city. A resident, Hannie van Zyl, said the smell at the Daan de Wet refuse site was overwhelming. “If anyone says the city is doing something, I don’t see it. There is no attempt by the city to clean here,” she complained. Another resident, Bernie Cloete, said the garden refuse site was overflowing: “It attracts flies. The rubbish is everywhere.”   Cloete added that there seemed to be no urgency to fix the illegal dumping or the overflow of refuse sites.   Tshwane city manager Johann Mettler commented: “We have a city that doesn’t look good. It’s my job to make sure the new team gets on the bus rapidly so we can do what is most obvious – clean the city.” Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink indicated that the priority remained to get the city out of financial trouble.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Marizka Coetzer at The Citizen


Transport minister tells of ‘traumatising’ robbery at gunpoint on N3 on Monday morning

TimesLIVE reports that Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga was robbed at 3am on Monday after her vehicle’s tyre burst on the N3 between Vosloorus and Heidelberg. She told MPs on Monday: “It was traumatising, devastating and bad. After the burst tyre, we drove quite a distance until the rim was on the road. So we had to stop to change the tyre.” Though accompanied by two armed bodyguards who proceeded to replace the burst tyre, three balaclava-clad men appeared and held them at gunpoint. Chikunga was also travelling with her brother.   When they heard a commotion outside the vehicle she attempted to call the police but the men entered the car and held a gun to her head, demanding cash. “It was three well-dressed men – not usual criminals. They forced me out, told me to sit and demanded money.   They said, ‘we know you have money, give us your money’. They were speaking isiZulu but understood English,” Chikunga reported. The men took the bodyguards’ firearms and other items of value. “I'm OK now but it was traumatising,” said Chikunga.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Anthony Molyneaux at BusinessLive

Security guard killed, two injured during cash-in-transit robbery near Durban on Tuesday

TimesLIVE reports that one guard died and two others were injured during a cash-in-transit robbery near Folweni, south of Durban, on Tuesday. ALS Paramedics spokesperson Garrith Jamieson said emergency services responded to the scene on the M35 and found an armoured van lying on its side at the entrance to a private residence. “Paramedics assessed the scene and found three guards had been involved in the attempted robbery. Unfortunately, one believed to be in his 30s, died on the scene,” he reported.   A second guard with critical injuries was stabilised and airlifted to a level 1 trauma facility. The third guard was treated for moderate injuries at the scene.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard at TimesLIVE. Lees ook, Wag doodgeskiet toe polisie transitoroof fnuik, by Maroela Media

Critical failures by government departments and emergency services uncovered in reports into deadly Bank of Lisbon fire

IOL News reports that five years after a fire razed the Bank of Lisbon building in the Johannesburg city centre, killing three firefighters and leaving many injured, the Gauteng Legislature has received final reports from different entities that investigated the incident.   The fire broke out on 5 September 2018 inside the 101 metre-high building. The 23-floor building housed the Gauteng departments of Human Settlements, Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs, and the Provincial Health Department. The fire started from an electrical machinery outlet on the 23rd floor of the building, which was occupied by the Department of Health. In a report to the Gauteng Legislature last month, the Department of Employment and Labour found that the fire suppression system was not installed in the offices by the tenant departments. It also found the tenant departments did not conduct a risk assessment, regular inspection of the electrical installation and appliances was not done, and the departments failed to ensure that firefighting equipment was serviced and in good working condition. The report recommended that an annual audit be conducted at all government department buildings to advise and correct shortfalls during a fire safety inspection, as well as frequent fire drills to ensure people evacuate safely. The police investigation is still ongoing.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kailene Pillay at IOL News. Lees ook, Dodelike Bank of Lisbon-brand kon verhoed gewees het – verslag, by Maroela Media


Internal school exams in KZN under threat as Sadtu embarks on protest action

News24 reports that a protest by the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is threatening the final examinations for some pupils in the province. While matrics are not expected to be affected, grades 9 to 11 could expect delays in the final weeks of their internal exams. The peaceful picket by Sadtu members began on Monday and was expected to intensify from Wednesday morning.   Despite criticism for picketing amid examinations, the union’s leadership in the province said they had tried to bring pivotal issues to education department management for months.   Sadtu KZN provincial secretary Noma Caluza said protests would be held in all the districts and circuits in the province. She advised that the union had been speaking to the education department since May about norms and standards. Caluza said they were also protesting the fact that vacancies had yet to be filled and about an outstanding 1.5% wage increase. She added that monies for schools to pay for items such as paper and ink were outstanding, and many principals had to pay out of their pockets for these essentials. "While the department has responded to us, we are not happy with what they are saying. We are seeing their response as justification for what is going wrong," Caluza indicated. Education department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said they had met with Sadtu and had amicable discussions. "We had some resolutions for specific dates for implementation. They were going to go back to consult with structures. The impression they gave us is that while there were issues, they were fine with what is on the table," he said.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kaveel Singh at News24


Impala Platinum starts voluntary job cuts at platinum mines

Reuters reports that Impala Platinum is offering voluntary job cuts to workers at platinum mining shafts in SA in a bid to cut costs as prices for the metal fall. The platinum producer started the process at its head office last month, and is now extending the exit packages to its sprawling Rustenburg mining complex in North West province. Company spokesperson Johan Theron declined to say how many jobs the company expected to cut and how much money it planned to save. “We are obviously doing everything to reduce costs.   Labour is a big cost component so you always start with labour by offering voluntary separation packages,” Theron indicated. The price for palladium has plunged nearly 40% so far this year while primary metal platinum is down 14%. Demand for particularly palladium has been hit by weakening demand in China.   Impala’s rival Sibanye Stillwater said last month it planned to cut more than 4,000 jobs and close some of its old platinum mining shafts that were running out of commercially viable ore.   Anglo American said in October it was weighing job cuts at its head offices in SA and across the globe in a bid to save costs.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Felix Njini at Moneyweb


Independent Newspapers retrenches 128, delays payment of severance packages

News24 reports that Independent Newspapers, the publisher of The Cape Times, The Star, Isolezwe and The Mercury, has retrenched 128 employees to cut its wage bill. The group, an indirect subsidiary of Iqbal Survé's Sekunjalo group, warned of the "harsh reality of job reductions" in June amid falling advertising and dwindling circulation figures. The last day at work for the employees was 31 October. Of the 128 employees, 44 took voluntary severance packages, while 84 received notices saying they would not be reappointed after they were asked to reapply for their jobs. Another 13 staff members chose to resign, bringing to 141 the number of people leaving.   The group includes editorial and advertising staff, as well as admin and sales workers in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. Many are now up in arms that the first tranche of their promised severance packages has not been paid. Employee representatives agreed during weeks of negotiations for severance pay to be spread out over three months rather than deposited in a lump sum.   But nothing was paid over in early November. Staff say they then hoped payment would take place on 7 November. But the payments are still outstanding. Staff were also given grocery vouchers but initially these had not been loaded with funds.

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


National Treasury questions feasibility of proposed maternity support grant

BusinessLive reports that the National Treasury has expressed doubt about the feasibility of the proposal put forward by the SA Law Reform Commission advising the government to introduce a maternity support grant for poor pregnant women and to extend the benefits of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to self-employed workers. “Treasury appreciates these proposals but it is necessary to cost proposals at the time of development as it would have significant financial impacts on the resources available in the fiscus, given the current economic climate, but also for the UIF and the Compensation Fund and current contributors to these funds,” the National Treasury indicated. It added: “The discussion paper is not clear on how contributions would be sourced from prospective beneficiaries given that the informal nature of their work would make it difficult to trace UIF contributions for financing. It will be difficult for the UIF to ascertain the appropriate level of support without verifiable incomes for informal workers. The commission’s final report said the maternity support should be provided for six months of pregnancy and be registered in the name of the expectant mother. In addition, this help should be converted into a child support grant after the child was born. The commission also recommended that a definition of “self-employed worker” be added in the relevant sections of all the employment and labour legislation providing for state maternity and parental benefits.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kabelo Khumalo at BusinessLive


Floyd Brink is still Johannesburg's city manager – for now, pending leave to appeal judgment

News24 reports that Floyd Brink has been thrown a lifeline by the City of Johannesburg, which filed an application for leave to appeal a court finding that his appointment as city manager was unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid. An appeal would effectively suspend the finding by Acting Judge Steven Budlender handed down in the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday that the way in which the speaker had brought the motion to hire Brink in February was illegal.   The DA brought the matter to court in May. The judge gave the city two weeks to find an acting city manager and ordered that the respondents – the City, the council, city manager, mayor and speaker – pay the DA's costs. On Wednesday, the City said there were a "number of legal grounds for concern in the High Court judgment, which the City believes an appeal court may decide upon differently". It commented further: “The consistent political onslaught and attempts to derail the City's ability to deliver services and improve governance at an administrative level must be frowned upon and acted against."

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Alex Patrick at News24. Read too, Court rules Floyd Brink’s appointment as Joburg city manager was unlawful, at BusinessLive


Transnet considers use of private mechanics to solve Cape Town port crisis

BL Premium reports that Transnet is considering opening the door to companies to second mechanics at the dysfunctional Port of Cape Town. This is to help speed up repairs of critical equipment and avoid an escalating logistics crisis that threatens exports. The dysfunction has made the harbour one of the world’s worst underperformers, costing billions in lost fiscal revenue. “Transnet is considering allowing the private sector to second its people to fix equipment at the Port of Cape Town,” Transnet indicated after a meeting with fresh produce industry leaders. Transnet and fresh produce industry leaders issued a joint statement on Tuesday, mapping a way forward to address the port’s challenges.   It advised: “Industry also agreed to investigate mechanisms to contract and second maintenance capacity [mechanics and millwrights] and to investigate ways to fast-track the procurement of key pieces of equipment ... The cost and contractual arrangements for Transnet to use and reimburse such procured equipment need to be resolved.” The crisis comes at a bad time for the deciduous fruit export sector, which is ramping up for its export season. Long waiting times harm the quality of fruit sent to markets abroad, cutting growers’ returns. The Western Cape accounts for more than half of SA’s agricultural exports.

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


SIU blocks pension fund payouts of two Transnet executives implicated in R33m breathalyser straw tender

BusinessLive reports that two former Transnet executives embroiled in a R33m tender for the procurement of straw breathalysers have been prevented from withdrawing their respective pension fund benefits worth R8.9m. The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was granted a special interdict by the Special Tribunal to block the pension funds of former executive manager responsible for group business continuity Lerato Makenete and former executive manager for safety Landela Madubane. The pair are being investigated for allegedly inflating the price of straw breathalysers by almost 10,000% during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to a report by the SIU, the pair colluded with three service providers to deliver more than 1-million disposable breathalyser straws. The straws were originally priced at 29c each but Transnet was charged R29.99 per straw. “Following the conclusion of the investigation, the SIU made a disciplinary referral to Transnet against Makenete and Madubane. Transnet actioned the referral, however, they both failed to appear for disciplinary hearings, but the proceeding continued in their absence. The duo was found guilty and dismissed,” the SIU’s spokesperson said on Tuesday.   The SIU and Transnet have instituted civil action in the Special Tribunal to review and set aside the contracts and recover financial losses suffered by Transnet due to overpayment of approximately R33.5-million.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Thando Maeko at BusinessLive. Lees ook, Uitbetaling van voormalige Transnet-hoës se pensioen verbied, by Maroela Media

Employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi rubbishes R500m bribe claim

The Star reports that Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) Minister Thulas Nxesi has dismissed claims that he was one of three ministers who solicited a bribe of R500 million. This after a Sunday World report fingered Nxesi as being one of the three ministers who solicited a bribe from the CEO of Thuja Capital, Mthunzi Mdwaba, in connection with an Unemployed Insurance Fund jobs scheme. Mdwaba alleged that Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana sent three ministers to get the money, which was part of a failed R5bn contract. However, the minister, through his spokesperson, Sabelo Mali, said these reports were not true. “We are aware of the new claims attributable to Mdwaba in the Sunday World, and reject with contempt as false and without foundation. The allegations are completely unsupported by facts or any piece of evidence,” Mali said. According to Mdwaba, Nxesi, Godongwana, and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande were the three ministers involved in the bribery scandal.   On Tuesday, the DA’s Michael Cardo called on Nxesi to come out and clear his name. “The minister should respond to the explosive allegation that he – along with two other ministers – attempted to solicit a 10% kickback on the dodgy R5bn UIF/Thuja Capital job-creation deal,” Cardo said. He added: “If Mr Mdwaba is tilting at windmills and making up stories to deflect blame, then Minister Nxesi should sue him for defamation.” An ActionSA spokesperson said the party would be writing to the president urging him to lodge an SIU investigation into the matter.  

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Siyabonga Sithole at The Star. Read too, Thulas Nxesi denies allegations in R500-million UIF bribery scandal, at The Citizen


  • High Court dismisses ZEP enforcement order but rights are still guaranteed, at BusinessLive
  • Former special ops boss Thulani Dlomo loses bid to get his job back, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)
  • Ford to put R5bn into SA to build hybrid-electric Ranger, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)
  • N1 assault case: Mashatile's former bodyguards expected back in court on Thursday, at EWN


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