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


ConCourt to hear case on worker representation by union outside its own sector

BL Premium reports that the rights of millions of SA workers will be debated on Tuesday at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt), where the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) will argue that workers can be represented even by unions that normally represent a different sector. If the court agrees with Numsa, millions of workers will benefit from a broader range of unions to assist in unfair dismissal disputes. In 2017, Afgri Animal Feeds refused to grant Numsa workplace organisational rights, which would have allowed Numsa to participate in collective bargaining between workers and Afgri. More than 100 of its workers then went on a two-day strike in 2017. Twelve of these workers were dismissed and Numsa referred an unfair dismissal dispute to the Labour Court (LC). Afgri argued Numsa could not bring the matter because it had no standing to represent these workers as they were from the animal feed manufacturing sector and Numsa’s constitution stipulated that it represented metalworkers and those from related sectors. The LC dismissed the entire case. In 2021 Numsa appealed against this ruling to the Labour Appeal Court (LAC), which in 2022 overturned the LC’s findings in favour of Numsa. The LAC held that Afgri’s concerns were misplaced as Numsa was not trying to engage in collective bargaining, where its expertise and knowledge of the particular industry was relevant. Further, the relationship between Numsa and members was of no concern to Afgri, since Numsa was a voluntary association and could administer its own membership. Aggrieved by this finding, Afgri appealed to the ConCourt.

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


Director of investigations and vetting services at Fort Hare arrested in connection with staff member murders

News24 reports that the director of investigations and vetting services at the University of Fort Hare (UFH), Isaac Plaatjies, has been arrested on charges relating to the killing of staff members.   Plaatjies was arrested on Friday as the tenth accused in the murders. The university declined to give more details about the case, saying it was before the court and within the jurisdiction of the national task team appointed to investigate the killings. NPA spokesperson in the Eastern Cape, Luxolo Tyali, said Plaatjies faced two murder charges and three attempted murder charges. Tyali said the case in the Alice Magistrate's Court was rolled over to Tuesday for a possible bail application. Plaatjies remains in custody. National police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe confirmed that Plaatjies was arrested by the national task team investigating the spate of killings at UFH. Mathe said Deputy Minister of Police Cassel Mathale and Fannie Masemola, the national commissioner, would attend Plaatjies' court appearance on Tuesday.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Cebelihle Bhengu at News24 (subscriber access only). Read too, Fort Hare’s head of investigations joins murder accused, at The Citizen. En ook, Tiende verdagte vir universiteitmoorde in hegtenis geneem, by Maroela Media


Police captain gunned down in Tableview on Sunday

IOL News reports that police in the Western Cape have launched a manhunt after a police captain was shot and killed on Sunday afternoon. He had been attached to the Table View police station. Provincial police spokesperson, Brigadier Novela Potelwa, said the 54-year-old police officer’s colleagues were still reeling in shock at the loss. “Reports indicate the captain attached to Tableview police station was shot in the Site 5 informal settlement on Sunday afternoon by yet-to-be-arrested suspects who later fled with the policeman’s firearm,” Potelwa said. She said the murder was under investigation, and the matter had been handed over to members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as Hawks). Potelwa said the motive for the murder was expected to be unravelled as the investigation unfolded. The identity of the 54-year-old victim has yet to be released.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Robin-Lee Francke at IOL News. Lees ook, Polisiekaptein in Tableview vermoor, by Maroela Media

City Power withdraws overnight services in hotspots in response to escalating attacks on operators

The Citizen reports that Joburg’s City Power has withdrawn overnight services in areas that are deemed to be hotspots amid increasing attacks on their operators and other officials. The power utility revealed that on Sunday, one of their operators, who was on his way to Pennyvile to restore power after load shedding at midday, was held at gunpoint, robbed, and nearly hijacked.   City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena added that over the weekend, a team of electricians was also robbed of their belongings at gunpoint in Randburg. According to City Power, almost every month cases of intimidation, assault and robbery are reported. The issue was particularly concerning because, just this year, a large number of employees have been hospitalised after being shot at point blank range, robbed of laptops, cellphones, and toolboxes, and hijacked while performing their jobs. “Even with additional security measures, we cannot guarantee the safety of our personnel, but this is also not sustainable considering that, at worst, we deal with almost 4,000 outage calls that need to be dispatched,” City Power indicated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Chulumanco Mahamba at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Popcru members frustrated over killing of police, at Daily News
  • Union calls for more inspections at Master’s Office building in Pietermaritzburg, at The Witness


Accused to remain behind bars for allegedly brutally murdering colleague at Sibanye hostel

The Star reports that the case of a Sibanye-Stillwater 7 Shaft mine employee Boinehelo Lefefa, who allegedly stabbed to death his Sibanye-Stillwater colleague Alcino Macovo before taking a selfie with his dead body was postponed to Thursday. Lefefa made a brief court appearance in the Westonaria Magistrate’s Court to face a charge of premeditated murder. About two weeks ago, a horrific incident was captured on video apparently showing Lefefa, 43, tearing open Macovo’s abdomen, revealing his intestines. It is reported that he also attempted to behead the victim. This brutal incident took place at Sibanye’s Leseding hostel, where both men resided. A colleague claimed that the mining company was partly to blame for the incident and explained why as follows: “Lefefa and Macovo had an incident while underground in June which led to a fight.   Lefefa poured water on Macovo by mistake. Macovo assaulted Lefefa underground. A disciplinary took place and Lefefa was charged. As employees, we blame the company for causing the rift between the two men. Lefefa felt it was wrong for the company to charge him and for the deceased not to be fired.” However, Sibanye spokesperson James Wellsted refused to comment on the allegations. “The alleged perpetrator was arrested and the incident is being investigated by the SAPS, with our full support and co-operation,” said Wellsted.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ntombi Nkosi at The Star

Sibanye-Stillwater probing claims it failed to resolve impasse five months before miner's killing

TimesLIVE reports that Sibanye-Stillwater has initiated an internal investigation amid allegations the company failed for months to resolve an impasse which led to the murder of a miner by a co-worker.   Boinehelo Lefefa, charged with the murder of Alcino Macovo, appeared in the Westonaria Magistrate's Court on Monday. The case was postponed to Thursday for a formal bail application.   Lefefa was last week allegedly caught on camera stabbing Macovo to death, disembowelling him and trying to behead him, before taking a selfie with the corpse. It emerged last week that the impasse between the two started about five months ago when Macovo allegedly assaulted Lefefa underground. A representative of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the same shaft said Lefefa was on sick leave for quite some time and when he returned to work he and Macovo were apparently given final warnings. The NUM representative alleged the company did not take enough steps to resolve the matter amicably and offer reconciliation services. Lefefa and Macovo allegedly continued to work in the same shaft while tensions continued to simmer between them. Sibanye-Stillwater spokesperson James Wellsted said: “The incident is under investigation and we are conducting our own internal investigation, including the allegations made by the unions.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Phathu Luvhengo at TimesLIVE

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Harmony illegally discharged wastewater into Free State dam since 2019, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)


Farm worker family evicted, belongings dumped on the side of the road

GroundUp reports that a Cape Winelands farm worker returned from work on Thursday to find his family’s belongings dumped by the side of the R45 between Malmesbury and Paarl. In March, the Land Claims Court in Randburg ordered the eviction of farm worker Jan Marthinus and his family from the two-roomed house they had lived in for more than 20 years on Ongegund Farm. Marthinus started working at Ongegund in 1999. He was fired in 2013 but continued living on the farm while he worked elsewhere. The court granted an application by farm owner Gerhardus Visser to have the family evicted and gave them until 1 September to leave the house. But, Marthinus said the eviction took him by surprise. He had been given court papers earlier this year but had not understood them because they were in English and he only speaks Afrikaans.   “I wasn’t aware of the eviction. My wife and I were busy working at a farm in Stellenbosch,” he indicated.   When informed of the eviction, he got a lift from Stellenbosch to Paarl and then walked for more than two hours to the R45 where he saw his children sitting next to their belongings on the roadside. The eviction order did not contain any instruction to the Drakenstein Municipality to provide the family with alternative accommodation.   Drakenstein’s Seraj Johaar said the municipality had found them temporary accommodation “on humanitarian grounds”. Marthinus and his family are currently living at Groenheuwel Library in Paarl, about 20 kilometres from the farm. Women on Farms Project’s Carmen Louw said those evicted from farms often did not understand the process. But, she pointed out that in terms of the seminal Grootboom case handed down by the Constitutional Court in October 2000, no eviction could take place unless there was alternative accommodation.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Marecia Damons at GroundUp


DBE adjusts school calendar to accommodate public holiday to celebrate Springboks’ victory

The Citizen reports that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has adjusted the 2023 school calendar in light of the public holiday President Cyril Ramaphosa declared on 15 December to celebrate the Springbok’s victory at the Rugby World Cup. On 16 November, the DBE’s acting director general, Dr Granville Whittle, issued a circular to the heads of provincial education departments, district directors, educator unions, government body associations, and school principals about the amendment to the 2023 school calendar. Initially, the 2023 school calendar was supposed to have 199 school days for pupils and 203 school days for teachers. The fourth term was going to end on Wednesday, 13 December for pupils and Friday, 15 December for teachers. “Teachers must remain for two days after the learners have closed in order to complete administrative tasks and planning for the following school year; therefore, the schools will close on Tuesday, 12 December for learners and Thursday 14 December for teachers,” the acting director-general advised.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Chulumanco Mahamba at The Citizen


Business organisation calls for more clarity on immigration white paper

BL Premium reports that Business Unity SA (Busa) says more clarity is needed on changes proposed in the long-awaited white paper on citizenship, immigration and refugee protection, published recently.   Cas Coovadia, CEO of Busa which represents almost all big businesses in the country, said the sector has reservations about “certain aspects” of the paper such as the expansion of ministerial powers with respect to permanent residency. “Of key concern for business is that the white paper proposes SA temporarily withdraw from two international treaties on refugee protection [the UN Refugee Convention and the UN Protocol relating to the status of Refugees]. The business sector is preparing substantive positioning on this as the withdrawal of these ratifications will have severe ramifications for SA migration.   Secondly, our biggest concern would be the implementation of some of the recommendations in the white paper,” Coovadia indicated. The white paper states that there is an urgent need to “completely overhaul the three pieces of legislation to meet the new challenges facing SA and introduce single legislation dealing with citizenship, immigration and refugee protection”. SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) spokesperson Trevor Shaku welcomed the “synergising of the three laws into one” as it did not make sense to have three pieces of legislation that duplicated or contradicted one another.   Cosatu’s spokesperson Matthew Parks said the federation looked forward to engaging the government on these “sensitive and important matters”. He added:   “Cosatu is deeply concerned about our 41% unemployment rate and a 60% youth unemployment rate. We must find the right balance. We cannot continue with the status quo. It is a ticking time bomb.”

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


Principal who ‘stopped pupils from writing matric exams’ suspended

TimesLIVE reports that the Eastern Cape education department has confirmed the suspension of a principal who allegedly instructed seven pupils to sit out the matric exams as they were “unfit to write” and would ruin the good pass mark of their school. The principal from Mount Fletcher used the pupils’ September marks as a criteria for exclusion. The school recorded a 64.5% pass mark last year. The department said it intervened and the pupils were proceeding with their exams. The suspension is precautionary, pending an inquiry into the extent of the principal’s actions.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard at SowetanLive. Read too, Pupils told they're unfit to write matric exams because they would embarrass their school, at City Press (subscriber access only)


UIF to co-operate with authorities on alleged corruption

TimesLIVE reports that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) says it will co-operate with law enforcement agencies on investigations into alleged corruption related to its labour activation programme.   The UIF noted that a Sunday World report referred to a Hawks and Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation into allegations of corruption related to its programme designed to ensure that unemployed UIF beneficiaries were reintegrated into the labour market. “The UIF has not received official correspondence from the law enforcement agencies pertaining to the said investigation but will co-operate fully if requested to do so,” the UIF indicated in a statement. The Sunday World reported that employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi has been fingered as a person of interest for the Hawks and SIU after an investigation into fresh allegations of corruption involving about R3bn. It said a senior government official, who has turned whistle-blower, drafted an affidavit implicating Nxesi and his former director-general, Thobile Lamati, as the masterminds behind the scheme to irregularly pump millions of the labour activation programme funds to companies without following due process. The official alleged Nxesi would give directives to Lamati, who then passed the unlawful instructions to UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping. It said Maruping would ensure the execution of the instructions.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ernest Mabuza at TimesLIVE

North West senior health official hasn't spent a day in office this year, but has drawn R600,000 in salary payments

News24 reports that a senior North West Health Department official, who faces misconduct and criminal charges related to alleged tender fraud, has not reported for duty since January but has drawn nearly R600,000 in salary payments this year. Vuyo Mbulawa, the chief director of the provincial department, was criminally charged in an R86 million tender fraud case and also charged with misconduct by the department. According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Mbulawa faces 10 counts of fraud after allegedly signing off on dubious invoices. Mbulawa, 54, laid blame for his absence from work on the department's "ill-treatment" of him, saying his tenure in the past year led to severe depression and memory loss. He is a career civil servant who has made several moves between departments. The hospital procurement scandal he is linked to dates back to 2008. North West MEC Madoda Sambatha indicated:   "He has never attended any sittings of the disciplinary inquiry, thereby occasioning several postponements.   The reason for his non-attendance was the alleged ill-health.” Mbulawa's last attempt to postpone the case did not succeed and the inquiry proceeded in his absence. The chairperson is expected to hand down a ruling on the matter before the end of this month. Mbulawa has since applied for incapacity leave – additional sick leave granted conditionally at the employer's discretion. The department's health risk managers will meet this month to determine whether or not the incapacity leave should be approved. Regarding the criminal case, Mbulawa is out on R20,000 bail, and his case has been postponed for a hearing early next year.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Yoliswa Sobuwa at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Voormalige finansiële hoof van Bojanala-distriksmunisipalitiet vas vir bedrog, by Maroela Media


  • ‘I’m doing it with my whole heart’, says rural nurse of the year, at TimesLIVE
  • Coping mechanisms to deal with year-end fatigue, at SowetanLive
  • As a worker, are you entitled to a 13th cheque or a bonus this festive season? at IOL Business
  • Unisa ‘vindicated’ by minister’s withdrawal from placing it under administration, at The Star
  • Minister approves rescue plan to clean up master’s office mess, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)
  • Koeberg Unit 1 finally back online after almost a year, at Fin24


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page