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 and recent reports,
see summaries of our selection of South African
labour-related stories that recently appeared.


New Stats SA sample data suggest better post-Covid jobs recovery

BusinessLive reports that the latest quarterly employment statistics released by Stats SA, for the fourth quarter of 2023, were based on a new sample drawn last year. According to employment data based on this new sample, employment increased at more than double the rate between early 2021 and 2023 than previously thought. Lisette IJssel de Schepper of the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) commented:   “With the new sample, it seems that the post-Covid employment recovery was much stronger than initially thought.   It seems like the level of formal non-agri employment was back at pre-pandemic levels in 2021 already, while the 2021 sample did not have it reach pre-pandemic levels at all.” The 2023 fourth-quarter employment statistics show formal employment dropped from 10.3-million just before the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020 to about 9.6-million by mid-2020. According to the previous 2021 sample data, employment figures in the formal sector had still not recovered to pre-pandemic levels by September 2023. However, the new 2023 sample data showed formal employment rose above 10.3-million by mid-2022, reaching a high of 10.9-million in September last year before declining again slightly to 10.7-million by December. According to the previous sample, formal employment grew by only about 3.8% in 2021-23. However, the 2023 sample shows employment recovering by about 11% in 2021-23.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Denene Erasmus at BusinessLive


Fourteen Fort Hare suspended staff members among those arrested at the weekend in connection with killings at the university

News24 reports that after months of investigation, police have made a breakthrough following the spate of killings that have plagued the University of Fort Hare (UFH). The university made headlines Last year after the bodyguard of Professor Sakhele Buhlungu died in a hail of bullets on 6 January when he was shot in the vice-chancellor's car. Buhlungu was not in the vehicle, but was later taken to a safe house. A bounty of R5 million had allegedly been placed on the vice-chancellor's head. Bodyguard Mboneli Vesele’s death followed the assassination of fleet manager Petrus Roets in May 2022. Fourteen senior staff members at the university were among the 15 people arrested in various provinces over the Easter weekend in connection with the killings at the institution. They are reportedly facing a string of charges. The senior staff members arrested had all been suspended from the university and had been subjected to disciplinary hearings. They included a supply chain manager who was suspended for irregular transactions. A human resources director was suspended for fraudulent qualifications, and an executive manager was suspended for using university funds for personal purposes.   A member of the security and protection services team at the university was also among those arrested.   They are expected to make their first appearance in the Dimbaza Magistrate's Court in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday.

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

KZN traffic cop, N3 toll official seriously injured by speeding taxi on Friday

News24 reports that a traffic official and an official from N3 Toll Concession route services were seriously injured when they were hit head-on by a taxi while they were performing their duties on Friday at the N3 Mooi River off-ramp. Spokesperson and national manager of Midlands EMS, Roland Robertson, said the officers were pulling trucks at the weighbridge when a speeding taxi hit them head-on. "Upon arrival, it was discovered that a traffic officer and another official had been struck while performing their duties. Both were in a serious condition and required urgent advanced life support treatment," Robertson reported.   Both officials were transported to hospital for further care. A passenger in the taxi also suffered moderate injuries. The 24-year-old taxi driver will appear in court on Tuesday on charges of reckless and negligent driving.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Belinda Pheto at News24. Read too, Easter road crash: Two traffic officials were injured in taxi collision on the N3, at The Citizen


This is how much you will pay at the petrol pumps from Wednesday

The Citizen reports that with increases in petrol prices kicking in from Wednesday, 3 April, motorists will pay a lot more for the commodity at the pumps. The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) published the latest official fuel price adjustments last week. As it had been reported throughout March, both grades of petrol will see big price hikes. The department said 93 octane petrol will increase by 65 cents per litre and 95 octane will rise by 67 cents per litre. The price of diesel (0.05% sulphur) will increase by 3.2 cents per litre, while diesel with 0.005% sulphur will decrease by 1.78 cents per litre. Meanwhile, illuminating paraffin will cost 29 cents per litre less, while the price of LP Gas will decrease by 19 cents per kilogram. The department noted that the Finance Minister announced in his budget speech in February that the fuel levy and Road Accident Fund (RAF) levy on both petrol and diesel would remain unchanged with effect from 3 April 2024. “However, the carbon fuel levy increased by 1.00 c/l on both petrol and diesel. Thus, the fuel levy on petrol and diesel will increase to 396 c/l and 384 c/l, respectively,” the department pointed out.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Faizel Patel and see a table of the new process at The Citizen. See too, Petrol price increases in April but some diesel cuts, at BusinessLive


Former MTN senior manager is demanding R541m following retrenchment

Sunday Independent reports that a former senior manager at MTN is demanding more than R541 million from Africa’s largest mobile network operator, after he was retrenched. Dr Ernest Ketcha Ngassam, who held the position of general manager: information security architecture and technical excellence, instituted his legal action against MTN in February 2022, seeking damages for the termination of his employment under section 189 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA).   According to Ngassam, the South Gauteng High Court has concurrent jurisdiction in respect of employment-related disputes and the Labour Court does not have exclusive jurisdiction. “This means that the high court’s jurisdiction should not be ousted simply because a dispute falls within the overall sphere of employment disputes,” he explained. Ngassam is challenging the lawfulness of the termination of his employment contract and the alleged infringement of the LRA. He also has a contractual claim for the enforcement of his rights that does not emanate from the LRA. MTN is fighting the matter and has stated that Ngassam’s case is “vague and embarrassing”. Earlier this month, Acting Judge JJ Meiring declared one of the documents filed by Ngassam an irregular step and set it aside.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Loyiso Sidimba at Sunday Independent


Tiger Brands allegedly lays off over 90 employees after five years of seasonal work

City Press reports that more than five years after joining the company as seasonal workers, over 90 employees at food and beverage giant Tiger Brands are alleging that they have been dismissed unfairly by the company. The employees at the Van Dyk Road plant in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, were laid off between November 2023 and February 2024 after their salaries were also allegedly cut in 2021. Two employees claimed: “When we first joined the company six years ago and eight years ago, the entry-level requirements were that one should be in possession of a matric certificate.   Last year, the company amended their policies to say that the matric certificate should include mathematics and physical science subjects.” Tiger Brands PR manager Azure Fey advised: “Seasonal workers who were offered seasonal contracts during prior harvest seasons have been given until 2025 to acquire the necessary qualifications.” One of the employees alleged that their names had been written on a board at the entrance on Van Dyk Road, declaring that they were not permitted access inside the premises. Fey indicated that in the interest of safety and quality, access to all Tiger Brands manufacturing sites was restricted. She explained that the company employed seasonal workers during specific periods that coincided with the harvest seasons for different canned vegetable and salad products the company produced. Fey added that contract renewals from one harvest season to the next were not guaranteed, and no rolling contracts were offered for these specific roles as each season was treated as a new contract. But, according to an HR specialist, the repeated renewal of contracts may create an expectation of permanent employment on the employees’ part.

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


Teacher union Naptosa raises alarm bells over Grade R, 1, 2 and 3 teacher shortage

News24 reports that far fewer Grade R, 1, 2 and 3 teachers were being produced by the country's higher education institutions than what was required, according to delegates who attended a recent basic education sector lekgotla. Basil Manuel of the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA (Naptosa) said the disparity was so large that "you find most people with an intermediate [Grades 4-6] or FET [Grades 10-12] qualification finding themselves teaching even in the foundation phase [Grades R, 1,2 and 3]. With the issue of reading, there is no way that somebody who trained for FET is going to be able to teach reading, and that is where the disjuncture lies." He was reporting back on the deliberations of one of the commissions at the lekgotla that examined the issue of the need for proper recruitment, induction, and in-service professional development for improving learner outcomes. He commented: “There is certainly a disjuncture. If we continue to train people for the wrong phases, the problem is not going to resolve itself.” He said many teachers were not teaching the subjects they majored in at university or the correct teaching phase they had qualified to teach in. "Compounding the problem will be the introduction of new subjects because the problem just gets larger," Manuel warned.

Read the full original of the detailed report in the above regard by Prega Govender at News24


Push and pull factors are driving SA’s doctors to leave for posts overseas

Financial Mail reports that doctors in SA are caught in isolated collectives serving narrow interests and in a poorly regulated, dysfunctional health-care environment. This is according to Ken Boffard, who retired last month as president of the SA Medical Association (Sama). The national membership of Sama, which is the country’s largest doctor collective, dropped from 18,000 in 2013 to just over 12,000 this year – out of an estimated 35,000 registered doctors and specialists. Private doctor membership stood at 6,000 in 2013 and is now 4,000.   Those in the state sector were 5,500 in 2013 and now are 2,500. Other groups are divided among the SA Medical Association Trade Union with about 8,000 members and the Private Practitioners Forum (3,000 specialists plus 3,500 others, including GPs and health-care practitioners). The Academy of Family Practitioners has 525 members. Boffard wonders if the profession can survive. “We’re not singing from the same hymn sheet,” he says and warns that National Health Insurance (NHI) is coming “whether we like it or not”. He says the profession faces slashed budgets, a paucity of posts, a lack of equipment and proper supervision, huge work pressure, burnout, poor regulation, endemic corruption, emigrating doctors and terrible management in the public sector. “We’re losing half of our newly trained annual doctors to aggressive overseas recruiters. That’s besides our more seasoned doctors who are highly sought after,” he warns

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Chris Bateman at Financial Mail (subscriber access only)

SA Medical Association warns that public health system not ready for NHI

The Citizen reports that the SA Medical Association (Sama) told Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla last week that the country’s health system was not ready for National Health Insurance (NHI). “We support the objectives of NHI, but the system is not ready for implementation. There is a human resources shortage and as a funding model NHI does not have sufficient funding for staff,” Dr. Mvuyisi Mzukwa, Sama chairperson pointed out.   Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, former health ombud, also said at the meeting in Limpopo that the Department of Health (DOH) did not have competent leaders and managers to lead NHI.   Mzukwa pointed out that this was important because besides money, NHI also needed good governance. “If NHI does not address these issues, it will just be a big medical aid. NHI will not build infrastructure and address staff shortages, shortages of information technology and the many other issues in health,” he said, adding that government must first capacitate the DOH before it could get the funds for the NHI. “Only then can government render the private sector optional, but the system is not ready,” he noted Sama was also perturbed that the DOH did not consider its submissions on the NHI, despite the association being part of the NHI journey from the time it was described in a green paper. “We really thought government would call on us, but it did not,” Mzukwa complained. Sama also raised the issue of unemployed young doctors with the minister. A further issue raised was about committed overtime and salaries for doctors employed in the public health system.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ina Opperman at The Citizen


Lifestyle audits mooted for senior MPs, but graft allegations will 'red-flag' all lawmakers

News24 reports that just like Cabinet ministers, some of the most senior parliamentarians could soon be subjected to lifestyle audits if proposals contained in a review of the 2014 Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members' Interests are accepted. The report on the Code review has been tabled for consideration and the co-chairperson of the Joint Committee On Ethics And Members' Interests, Bekizwe Simon Nkosi, said the proposals would await Parliament programming to schedule them for consideration by the National Assembly.   One of the prime proposals is the introduction of lifestyle audits for the presiding officers of Parliament (National Assembly speaker and NCOP chairperson), chairpersons of all committees, and chief whips of all political parties. Additionally, any MP who has been red-flagged by the e-disclosure system would also have to undergo a lifestyle audit. The proposal reads: “If there is an allegation of fraud, bribery, corruption or unethical conduct against a member, such member shall also form part of the risk profile for a lifestyle audit. The registrar must conduct a verification process and inform the member that she or he will be subjected to a verification process as the first step in a lifestyle audit. A member must comply with the request to subject herself or himself to a lifestyle audit.” It was recently reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa's executive would have to bare it all, as the Presidency has finally embarked on lifestyle audits. This was the first time that national government was conducting lifestyle audits of members of the executive, requiring new systems, processes, and methodologies to be developed.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jason Felix at News24


Nama-Khoi Local Municipality manager arrested for fraud and corruption

News24 reports that the Hawks in the Northern Cape have arrested Nama-Khoi Local Municipality manager Jan Swartz for fraud and corruption. Hawks spokesperson Warrant Officer Nomthandazo Mnisi said the 63-year-old was arrested in Springbok last Wednesday and appeared in the Calvinia Magistrate's Court. "It is alleged that, between 2019 and 2020, the suspect while being a municipal manager at Hantam Municipality, [his previous employer], received a monthly subsidy for two official cellphones whereas the municipality was also paying for the bill to the service provider, which was contrary to the package he had with the municipality," Mnisi indicated.   Swartz also allegedly ordered two loads of gravel belonging to the municipality to be delivered to his residence. The municipality allegedly suffered actual prejudice of R33,470.39. Swartz is facing charges of fraud and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act. He was granted bail of R5,000 and the matter was postponed to 13 May for Swart to appoint an attorney.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


Lottery legal manager to pay punitive costs, after failed court bid to halt disciplinary action

GroundUp reports that Gugulethu Yako, the suspended legal manager at the National Lotteries Commision (NLC), who is facing charges of taking money from a grant beneficiary, has failed in an urgent court bid to stop disciplinary proceedings against her. South Gauteng Acting High Court Judge Johan Moorcroft last week dismissed her application and ordered Yako to pay punitive costs.   He noted: “It is impossible to avoid the inference that this application is a tactic to delay, rather than finalise the disciplinary proceedings in good time.” Yako sought orders setting aside a decision to suspend her and institute disciplinary proceedings ahead of a review application in which she seeks to overturn the findings of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) against her.   Yako was suspended by the head of the NLC Jodi Scholtz in October 2023. She was charged in December and informed in January that advocate Mandla Mkhatshwa had been appointed to preside over the disciplinary hearing.   Judge Moorcroft noted that the urgent application had been brought some six months after her suspension and “no explanation is provided for this delay”. Yako also challenged the appointment of Advocate Mkhatshwa, which the judge said had no merit. Yako furthermore complained that she had been suspended by Scholtz and not by the board, but the chairperson of the board confirmed that it had approved the action.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tania Broughton at GroundUp


  • Cape Town teacher alleges contract was not renewed because 'school wants to silence critical voices', at News24
  • Eskom worker fired for using his phone at power station, at Pretoria News
  • Former Libstar employee still disgruntled despite settlement, at Sunday Independent
  • ArcelorMittal lays bare the effect of mooted closure of long steel business, at BusinessLive
  • Emfuleni municipality spends R55m on legal battle with employee to avoid paying R70,000, at City Press (subscriber access only)
  • Broke SANDF's DRC deployment mess: 600 troops share 6 pit latrines, at City Press (subscriber access only)
  • Fired head of legal Martha Ngoye’s reinstatement at Prasa overturned on appeal, at GroundUp


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