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, 10 November 2023.


Gun-wielding suspects in school uniform rob teachers at KZN school

Sunday Tribune reports that teachers at a high school in the Pinetown district invigilating exams on Friday were uneasy and afraid after gun-wielding robbers dressed as pupils held up staff the previous day.   The armed robbery, which happened on Thursday morning while pupils were writing exams, forced the school to close early, resulting in the Grade 8 and 9 pupils not sitting for their exams that afternoon. A police spokesperson confirmed that a case of business robbery was being investigated and reported: “It is alleged that unknown men entered the school in KwaNdengezi and held the staff before robbing them of their cellphones. No shots were fired and no injuries were reported.” The robbers apparently gained access to Dick Ndlovu High School dressed in school uniform and pretended to be from a neighbouring primary school. They they had been sent to ask for ink and were directed to the school principal, who was in the staff room with some staff members. Once there, the suspects forced teachers to lie on the ground and robbed them of their cellphones, at gunpoint. On the way out, the robbers stole a laptop from a car. Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza reacted: “Between February and March we had more than 20 schools in the Pinetown district where such robberies happened and where criminals went to the extent of carrying speed points for teachers to use their bank cards. In as much as we understand that there is a safety strategy of the department, it maybe needs reviewing because it is not helping, and this is why we continue to have incidents such as these.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Anelisa Kubheka at Sunday Tribune

EMS crews report being beaten, shot and robbed in SA’s red zones

News24 reports that stonings, shootings and hijackings are just some of the dangers emergency medical services (EMS) personnel face when entering SA’s red zones – areas considered so dangerous that the personnel are not allowed to enter without a police escort to ensure their safety.   Last week, the Eastern Cape Department of Health confirmed that it would declare areas around Mthatha as "danger zones for emergency vehicles", especially at night, after "a series of attacks targeted at emergency vehicles and personnel".   The N2 highway between Mthatha and Qumbu is of particular concern. In the latest incident, which took place just after midnight on Saturday in Nelson Mandela Bay, a brick was thrown at an ambulance, leaving one crew member injured. Western Cape EMS spokesperson Megan Davids said there were four red zones in the province and there had been more than 40 attacks on 70 EMS personnel this year.   She reported that the incidents ranged from robbery and stonings to threats at gunpoint and hijackings.   Davids commented: “Paramedics have [some of] the highest risk for workplace violence because they work in communities where crime is rife.   Paramedics are being assaulted while carrying out a crucial service, specifically in areas where they are needed most. For EMS, the outcomes of these attacks are absenteeism and the increased prevalence of work-related illnesses, all of which contribute to fewer resources being available to respond to emergencies.”

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

Three arrested for firearms theft from Northern Cape cop shop

News24 reports that the Hawks have arrested three suspects in connection with the theft of firearms from the police station in Petrusville in the Northern Cape last Monday. Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Tebogo Thebe said the suspects were arrested on Saturday morning near the R70 road between Senekal and Rosendal in the Free State. A multi-disciplinary team recovered all of the stolen firearms. Thebe reported: “The team followed up on information and pounced on identified suspects. They arrested two males and recovered an R5 rifle with 27 rounds." Further investigation led the team to the farming town of Marquard, where a third suspect was arrested. He was in possession of two shotguns and a Z88 pistol.   "The recovery forms part of an arsenal that [was] stolen from Petrusville police station. This is after unknown suspects stole one R5 rifle, two shotguns and one Z88 pistol. The theft was discovered by the incoming shift [while] compiling the handing over report," said Thebe. An internal investigation is underway to determine the circumstances that led to the negligence. The three suspects will appear in court soon on charges of theft and possession of firearms.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lisalee Solomons at News24. Lees ook, Drie aangekeer wat vuurwapens uit polisiestasie steel, by Maroela Media

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Ekstra tyd gegun vir ondersoek ná vloottragedie, by Maroela Media


West Rand mineworker arrested after allegedly stabbing colleague to death, taking selfie with body

News24 reports that a 43-year-old mineworker has been arrested is and is due to appear in court in connection with the fatal stabbing of a colleague on Thursday. The suspect, a mineworker at Sibanye-Stillwater, is accused of attacking his colleague at the Leseding hostel on the West Rand, where they both live. In a photo that has been circulating on social media, a man can be seen posing with a body. The phone is aimed at them as if a selfie is being taken. Sibanye spokesperson James Wellsted said they were deeply shocked by the tragic incident between two employees at their Kloof operation.   "Our immediate concern is for the families of the employees and the people who witnessed this tragic event.   We will provide any support needed and have offered psychological support to the families and impacted employees. We are committed to ensuring their well-being," Wellsted indicated.   Police have opened a case of murder for further investigation. The suspect is expected to appear in the Westonaria Magistrate's Court on Monday.   Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) staged a protest march on Saturday as part of a rolling programme of mass action urging Sibanye-Stillwater and Harmony to prioritise the wellbeing and plight of workers.

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

PGM miners tighten their belts, as lower prices, higher costs batter sector

Business Times reports that some platinum group metals (PGM) producers are freezing recruitments for non-essential jobs and restructuring loss-making operations as they grapple with weaker metal prices, inflation, rising input costs and energy supply constraints. According to Anglo American Platinum’s Nomonde Ndwalaza, the local industry has to deal with high input costs and energy and logistics constraints. “We anticipate this might lead to a headcount reduction in some head office functions in the businesses we operate and at group level. This work is already under way and the dynamic operating environment we find ourselves in requires us to approach these issues with urgency and diligence,” she indicated. The bleak PGM environment recently resulted in Northam Platinum abandoning its 18-month pursuit of Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat), while Sibanye-Stillwater last month announced plans to restructure its loss-making operations, a move that could affect 4,095 jobs. “Current indications are that the PGM market may remain under pressure for some time,” said Northam CEO Paul Dunne. Impala Platinum (Implats) spokesperson Johan Theron said PGM producers had to align their operational strategies to current metal prices to remain financially sustainable, however, labour cost optimisation did not imply mass-scale retrenchments.   “Presently, labour optimisation at Implats contemplates a range of interventions, including the deferment of annual management salary increases, recruitment freezes for non-essential jobs, natural attrition to realise lower staffing levels, organisational changes and voluntary separation incentives to employees who may already be contemplating leaving the organisation,” he explained.

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

Gold One suspends operations as Amcu lodges urgent labour court application over union recognition

BL Premium reports that Gold One suspended operations at its Modder East shaft in Springs, east of Johannesburg, after the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) launched a fresh bid for recognition rights at the mine. Gold One head of legal, Ziyaad Hassam, indicated that Amcu was demanding to be afforded recognition status and organisational rights by the company, and that the closed shop agreement with rival union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), be revoked. The agreement, which is in terms by the Labour Relations Act (LRA), means Gold One workers must be NUM members. “Amcu has lodged an urgent application at the labour court, which will be heard next week Thursday, to compel NUM to hold a ballot to indicate what the numbers are in favour of keeping the closed shop agreement, and those wanting it dissolved,” said Hassam. He added:   “The operations have been suspended until Monday at the earliest, the decision was taken on Thursday morning and is aimed at ensuring the safety of employees. We will re-evaluate on Monday. All employees were told to go home, further communication will be made when we intend to bring employees back to work.” In October, 543 Gold One employees were trapped underground by their colleagues for three days – in what the police described as a hostage situation – in a dispute about union recognition. The drama was triggered after Gold One management apparently refused to recognise Amcu as a majority union at the mine.

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

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Soldate vir 6 maande teen zama-zamas kos byna R500 m., by Maroela Media
  • Minister: Onwettige mynbou bedreig ‘nasionale veiligheid’, by Maroela Media


Tshwane claims three -month strike has ended and municipal services have been restored

News24 reports that Tshwane city manager Johann Mettler said on Friday that the violent three-month strike by some of the city’s employees had come to an end. The strike was sparked by a salary increase dispute and was marred by violence, including the destruction of city property and threats to employees who had chosen not to take part. Mettler said in a statement that the City, the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union and the SA Municipal Workers' Union were in discussions over the salary increase dispute, which were being facilitated by the CCMA. He added that the discussions were progressing well and that all municipal services were operational. "All the employees are back at work executing their duties. Basic service delivery has returned to normal, and most backlogs have been cleared.   Services such as waste collection, electricity, and water outages, including fixing leaks, which were severely impacted by the strike action, have gradually returned to normality," Mettler claimed. He added that Tshwane Bus Services (TBS) operations, which were halted during the strike due to intimidation, was back at full capacity. Customer care walk-in centres and clinics had also resumed full service and were functioning optimally.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Belinda Pheto at News24. Lees ook, Tshwane-staking finaal verby, by Maroela Media


State to push SA’s call-centre industry

Business Times reports that the government plans to aggressively market to the world its specialist call centre industry to draw new investment and create thousands of jobs for local youth. Minister of Trade, Industry & Competition, Ebrahim Patel, indicated: “We are now thinking of more actively marketing these business services whenever we have these state visits by the president [Cyril Ramaphosa] to other countries. Recently, when the president went to New York for the meeting of the UN General Assembly, we engaged a number of businesses there and some of them were call centre businesses in the US.” Patel pointed out that during the Covid lockdown, his department created regulations to pandemic-proof local call centres so they could continue operating. The minister added that his department had a R3bn programme that covered more than 30,000 workers in the sector: “This programme is about creating industrial capacity to utilise that shift to services,” he explained. Business Process Enabling SA (BPESA) CEO Reshni Singh commented that the sector was being recognised as a sustainable source of employment with broad career prospects and an ability to absorb a young, skills-hungry workforce. Cape Town mayoral committee member for economic growth James Vos said the city and country have become the hub of the BPO industry globally: “Over the years, South Africa has now become a globally favoured hub. When you look at Cape Town, you see that 72,000 people now work in call centres, speaking to domestic and international clients.”

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


Chieta creating jobs through impactful training

Business Times reports that the Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority (Chieta) is positioning itself to become a leader in denting youth unemployment, according outgoing CEO Yershen Pillay. He indicated: “We are no longer in the business of skills development and training. We are now in the business of sustainable livelihoods.   That means we are no longer training for the sake of training, but training for impact to create jobs, to create small businesses that are job creators, to support SMMEs in general.”   Pillay pointed out that addressing youth unemployment was a priority, since young people comprised 62% of the population and 3.5-million of them were not in employment, education or training. Chieta is also involved in upskilling those who have been retrenched in the sector through a programme that creates job opportunities. Retrenched chemical industry workers either get reskilled to improve their chances of getting alternative employment, are helped to start a business or are helped to continue studying. Pillay said Chieta had set a target of helping 300 retrenched people next year and at least 1,000 by 2025. In 2022/2023, Chieta generated R654m in revenue, up from R605m a year earlier.   It trained 2,528 artisans and supported 49,652 learners. To bring the internet to rural youth, the Seta is rolling out nine smart-skills centres, three of which have opened – in Sadhana Bay, Gqeberha and Babanango in KwaZulu-Natal. At the smart-skills centres, learners and unemployed rural youth are trained in digital skills, with free access to data and private internet training.

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


SA cannabis firm hires senior citizens because they're ‘perfect for the job’

Finy24 reports that when directors at Cilo Cybin, a Midrand-based cannabis group, joked over lunch that the ideal candidates for the meticulous work involved in the processing of cannabis plants were retirees who could knit for hours, they had no idea what they were setting in motion.   The throwaway quip is now paying dividends for the medicinal cannabis company, which decided to roll with the idea and hire seven men and women aged between 57 and 71. The new employees have done so well in the intricate work of separating the leaves from the cannabis buds – a process known as "trimming" – that CEO Gabriel Theron says that they plan to run the programme permanently. Jessica Moodley-Theron, who heads up strategy at the company, says the key ingredient in the success of the senior citizens has been patience and "not being in a hurry", something often lacking in younger people. She explained that because people get paid per gram, there could be a temptation to rush to "get as many grams as possible" even if it meant damaging the quality of the product produced.   "But with them (the senior citizens) we found we got a superior product, and we were so happy with it. The quality was phenomenal." Dimitri Shokkos, who heads up cultivation at Cilo Cybin, says the company’s clients in countries as far afield as Australia are so happy with the quality of the buds that have been "trimmed" for export, that there is "no way we are letting these new employees go". Another factor that tipped the scales in favour of supporting senior citizens in the programme, was that most employment programmes are aimed at the youth. This prompted Cilo Cybin to consciously "shift the focus to the elderly and bring them in and reintegrate them in the workplace".

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


Net closing in on ‘hitman’ allegedly offered R400,000 to kill former Eskom employee

City Press reports that the Hawks are edging closer to making arrests related to the planned assassination of a former Eskom employee who had uncovered a string of corrupt activities+

at the power utility during her tenure as a forensic investigator there. Dorothy Mmushi said last week that she continued experiencing moments of anxiety knowing that the man who told her he had been offered R400,000 to kill her was still at large. Mmushi first revealed her chilling telephone conversation with her would-be assassin a few months ago. In the call, the hitman told her that her boss had paid him an advance fee of R50,000, with the promise of a further R350,000 once he had killed her. He also told Mmushi that the assassination plot against her had been designed to prevent her from revealing damning findings of possible collusion between service providers and high-ranking officials at Eskom. Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Thandi Mbambo said there was some credibility to the allegations Mmushi had made and that her case was receiving priority attention.   Mmushi confirmed that she had received updates from the police, but felt that “an arrest should have been made already”. She intends to sue the Hawks for her unlawful arrest and is still weighing up her options on what action to take against Eskom in order to enforce her rights.   She had previously condemned Eskom for failing to take her complaints seriously, as this was the third time she had received a death threat since she had begun uncovering a vast amount of fraud at the power utility.

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

Prosecutor, senior Hawks officer in court over alleged R14,000 hunting trip bribe

News24 reports that a prominent Johannesburg prosecutor and a senior Hawks investigator have appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on allegations they were bribed with a hunting trip worth more than R14,000. The magistrate warned Commercial Crimes Court advocate Phuti Matabane and Hawks senior investigator Lieutenant-Colonel Lucky Thabethe during their bail application on Friday that they faced harsh punishment should they be convicted in the corruption case. They appeared with Daniel Lessing. Matabane, Thabethe and Lessing were arrested on Thursday.   Lessing had faced a police case in which he was accused of defrauding Interwaste of R6.3 million. Thabethe was the investigating officer for the Hawks in the case and referred the docket to Matabane for a decision to prosecute. Matabane allegedly declined to prosecute on 25 May 2021. It is alleged Matabane used his power as a senior prosecutor to influence the decision not to prosecute Lessing. The complainant in the case then raised the alarm. In return for failing to prosecute Lessing, Matabane and Thabethe were allegedly taken on a hunting trip in June 2021 with a fourth person who has not been named. The trip was sponsored by Lessing. The meat was later given to Matabane and Thabethe. The fourth person, who allegedly joined the trio on the hunting trip, is now a State witness. The accused were granted bail of R5,000 each.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ntwaagae Seleka at News24 (subscriber access only). Lees ook, Staatsaanklaer, kolonel verdink van korrupsie, by Maroela Media

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Nxesi gooi ook wal oor omkoopbewerings, by Maroela Media
  • AG flagged 400 eThekwini workers for double-dipping, but only R15,000 recouped by August, at News24 (subscriber access only)


  • Tuks-prof tot regter van Internasionale Geregshof verkies, by Maroela Media
  • Furore over “dodgy” recent appointment of Gauteng Gambling Board CEO Karabo Mbele, at Sunday Independent
  • The rise and rise of quack doctors and possible damage to society, at Sunday Independent
  • Exploring the future workforce trends for 2024, at BizNews


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page