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


TOP STORY – ‘TWO POT’ PENSION SYSTEM

Pension fund administrators face 'monumental task' in implementing ‘two-pot’ system, with law yet to be finalised

Fin24 reports that according to the Association of Savings and Investment SA (Asisa), pension fund administrators are facing a "monumental task" to ensure changes to pension funds can be made before the ‘two-pot’ system is implemented later this year. The new system will allow retirement fund members to make partial withdrawals from their retirement funds before retirement, while preserving a portion that can only be accessed at retirement. With Parliament seeking to finalise legislation before the 1 September implementation date and workers anxiously waiting to withdraw from their retirement savings, Asisa’s Adri Messerschmidt said there was little time left to finalise implementation of systems changes and business processes. Pension fund administrators have been forced to work alongside draft rules to prepare for the new retirement system. Both the Pension Funds Amendment Bill (PFAB), which allows for the necessary changes in pension fund rules, and the Revenue Laws Amendment Bill (RLAB), which introduces the two-pot system, need to be promulgated before implementation of the system. However, neither has become law yet. With the RLAB currently awaiting President Cyril Ramaphosa's signature, Parliament's select committee on finance hosted virtual public hearings on the PFAB on Tuesday. Messerschmidt told the committee: “There is a general anxiety among our members about implementing a fundamental change within a short space of time. The problem is that we do not have final legislation to do this.”   Old Mutual previously said that the legislative limbo and a lack of clarity on the tax treatment for withdrawals could hamper the rollout of the initiative by the deadline.

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

Solidarity concerned about alarm bells over two-pot pension system

Maroela Media reports that trade union Solidarity is concerned about the rushed pace at which the Pension Laws Amendment Bill, which will make provision for the ‘two-pot’ pension system, is being finalised.   The system, which will make it possible for employees to access a portion of their pension money earlier than retirement date, is expected to come into effect on 1 September this year.   Yet, Solidarity is of the opinion that too little time is available to test and develop such a comprehensive system properly, and presumably not enough attention will be paid to the technical aspects in the amendment bill. According to Solidarity’s Marius Croucamp, there is a particular concern that the amendments in the proposed amendment bill pose a risk for the preservation of retirement fund money. “There are fears that people are not saving enough for retirement as it is and that they tend to use their pension money paid out to them when the change jobs. The proposed two-pot system will make the process to access pension money earlier even easier,” Croucamp said. He says the earlier availability of pension money will have a negative impact on many employees because there is no provision to make up for the earlier withdrawn funds at a later stage. Further challenges pertain to the tax implications that the two-pot system will pose. Solidarity says it is planning a campaign to assist its members with information and training to help ensure that they make informed decisions about the matter.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard in Afrikaans at Maroela Media. Read Solidarity’s press statement on this matter at Politicsweb


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

Suspect who shot and killed Atlantis police sergeant who was responding to a domestic dispute gunned down

IOL News reports that the man who shot and killed an on-duty Atlantis police officer was found on Thursday and shot dead while refusing to surrender. Sergeant Adrian Mahoney, 44, was shot and killed on Wednesday, in Mamre just outside Atlantis, while responding to a domestic dispute before 1pm. The sergeant and his partner were dispatched to attend to a domestic violence complaint and, upon arrival at the address and during a scuffle, the suspect allegedly took the service pistol of the deceased police officer and fatally shot him. The suspect also opened fire on the partner of the sergeant, after which he fled the scene on foot. The partner of the sergeant was not hurt.   Police launched a manhunt for the suspect and a combat team found him on Thursday on a farm. The suspect was urged to surrender but instead refused and pointed the state firearm at police officers. He was gunned down. The state firearm was recovered.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Robin-Lee Francke at IOL News


INDUSTRIAL ACTION

Nehawu members on strike at Dube TradePort at King Shaka International Airport

Engineering News reports that the Dube TradePort Corporation, an agency of the KwaZulu-Natal government, has announced that 112 employees, members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), have gone on strike. The corporation operates the Dube TradePort special economic zone and air cargo complex at Durban’s King Shaka International Airport. Nehawu issued the notice to strike after what Dube TradePort described as a “prolonged” process of negotiation and arbitration. The company has assured all customers and stakeholders that backup measures have been implemented to ensure that the strike has no significant impact on its operations. The corporation and the union have also agreed on a designated picketing area to ensure unimpeded access to the Dube TradePort and to the airport complex during the strike. The company said in its statement: “Dube TradePort believes that dialogue is the best way to achieve a sustainable settlement. Dube TradePort remains open to further engagements with the union to find a resolution that balances the interests of workers and the financial sustainability of the organisation.”

Read the original of the report in the above regard at Engineering News


NURSES’ SIT-IN

Over 200 unemployed nurses who completed North West community service to stage sit-in on Monday to demand jobs

News24 reports that more than 200 nurses will stage a sit-in at the offices of the Department of Health (DOH) in the North West on Monday, to demand their immediate employment at clinics and hospitals. The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) Student Movement, which will lead the demonstration, said the DOH promised to give the nurses employment offers after completing their community service in June last year. However, the DOH failed to fulfil its promise, citing budgetary constraints for the 2024/25 financial year. According to Denosa Student Movement’s Mothusi Lebatle, there were also about 136 nurses who had just completed the various nursing qualification programmes, while about 126 nurses would be completing their courses between May and June this year. "The community is suffering. If you go to any hospital in the North West and look at the staffing at hospitals and clinics; doctors, and nurses are suffering. They are not even executing their duties as they should, because of staff shortages," he claimed. According to Lebatle, the DOH paid for the education of some of the unemployed nurses and he went on to state: “The taxpayer's money funds these bursaries … Unemployment will add to the backlog because higher learning institutions are producing nurses.   What are they producing them for?   For the streets?" The DOH said that it had noted Denosa's concerns and that MEC Madoda Sambatha had arranged a meeting with the union for Sunday.   Details of the meeting will be shared.

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


MINING RETRENCHMENTS

Sibanye to close loss-making 4B shaft at Marikana, but job losses minimised

Miningmx reports that Sibanye-Stillwater is to close the 4B shaft at its Marikana platinum operations near Brits affecting 1,496 employees and 54 contractors, some five years after the group initially proposed closing it down in 2019. According to a Sibanye statement, the 4b shaft has been unable to meet the profitability conditions set as an outcome of the Section 189A process of the local PGM (platinum group metals) operations which was announced in October last year and has “continued to be loss-making” despite all efforts to restore the shaft to profitability. Out of the affected workforce 643 employees have been granted voluntary separation or early retirement packages and 469 have been transferred to other PGM operations. A further 226 jobs had been removed through natural attrition with workers leaving not being replaced and 93 employees were on fixed term contracts which were not renewed. A total of 65 employees have been retrenched and 54 contractors have been terminated. Sibanye also reported that the Siphumele shaft at the group’s Rustenburg operation was on schedule to resume production during May, as planned following damage to surface infrastructure during February when the surface ore conveyor collapsed.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Brendan Ryan at Miningmx. Read too, Sibanye's Siphumelele shaft on track for May restart; Marikana 4B shaft to be shut, at Mining Weekly


POST OFFICE RETRENCHMENTS

Three hundred Post Office workers retrenched in Limpopo

SABC News reports that retrenchments at the SA Post Office (Sapo) have affected 300 workers in Limpopo and their last day in office will be at the end of April. The lay-offs are part of the so-called Section 189 process implemented in Sapo across the country, with over 4 000 workers set to be retrenched nationwide.   The process has mainly affected drivers, tellers, and postmen. Walter Pheedi, 37, is one of the 300 workers retrenched in the province.   Having worked for 13 years, he has yet to receive the retrenchment package. He indicated that he was unhappy about the retrenchment processes, adding that he was struggling to put food on the table for his family. Government has said it would intervene to reduce the number of retrenchments. Meanwhile, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called on the government to stop the retrenchments. In a video accompanying this report, Cosatu’s Parliamentary Coordinator, Matthew Parks, outlines some of the long-standing challenges that Sapo has faced; and solutions on how it can be saved.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mahlatse Phaladi at SABC News. Read too, Twenty-seven Post Office branches closed in Limpopo, at SABC News. And also, Scramble to save jobs at SA Post office as 300 are retrenched in Limpopo, at The Star


JOB CUTS FOLLOWING MERGER

Coca Cola bottler wins ConCourt battle over job cuts following merger

Fin24 reports that Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) has won an appeal in the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) in a case involving the retrenchment of nearly 400 employees. In 2016, the Competition Tribunal approved the merger of several Coca-Cola bottlers, which resulted in the creation of CCBA.   Conditions attached to the merger included maintaining a certain number of employees from the pre-merger operations and prohibiting merger-related retrenchments. There was, however, an allowance for retrenchments required by the ordinary course of business. A further merger at holding company level was approved in 2017. But, things then took a turn for the worse as economic conditions deteriorated and sales volumes were adversely affected. Coca-Cola wrote to the Competition Commission in January 2019 informing it of the challenges faced and warning that retrenchments for operational requirements might be required. CCBA also told the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU), and the National Union of Food, Beverage, Wine, Spirits and Allied Workers (NUFBWSAW) that it may have to retrench workers. FAWU filed a complaint with the commission alleging a breach of merger conditions. At the end of May 2019, 368 workers were involuntary retrenched, while a "considerable number" opted for voluntary retrenchment. The matter was brought to the tribunal, which found that CCBA had complied with the merger conditions. But, the Competition Appeal Court then overturned the tribunal’s finding.   CCBA then approached the ConCourt to appeal the ruling. "The Competition Appeal Court mischaracterised the nature of the appeal and applied the wrong tests in respect of both review and causation. There was no basis in law or fact for overturning the judgment of the tribunal. The appeal therefore succeeds," the ConCourt ruled.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard compiled by Ahmed Areff at Fin24


DISPUTED SALARY INCREASE

DA determined to get parliament to probe 70% pay hike in 2022 for secretary Xolile George

TimesLIVE reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA) has tabled a motion for parliament to establish an ad hoc joint committee to investigate the details surrounding the 2022 salary increase for secretary to parliament Xolile George. DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube said this was necessary because of the failure of the executive authority, made up of former National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces chair Amos Masondo, to investigate the 70% increase to George’s salary. The DA previously raised the matter at meetings of the joint standing committee on the financial management of parliament. Last week the powers and privileges committee found that Mapisa-Nqakula had a case to answer to in relation to George’s pay hike, but resolved not to probe the matter further, owing to her resignation over corruption charges. In the view of the committee, it no longer had jurisdiction over Mapisa-Nqakula and could no longer pursue the DA’s complaint against her. But according to Gwarube, the chairs of that committee delayed the matter and sought to sweep it under the carpet. She indicated: “The matter also met roadblocks when it was raised in the chief whips’ forum. However, the facts around this salary hike remain vague and questions still remain: why was the secretary to parliament awarded a salary that is 70% more than what was advertised and what was presented in parliament? What remedial actions remain? Who must be held accountable for misleading parliament?”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Andisiwe Makinana at BusinessLive. Read too, DA 'will not rest', says chief whip, as party seeks ad-hoc committee probe into secretary's salary, at News24. En ook, Hernude oproepe vir ondersoek na parlementêre sekretaris se salaris, by Maroela Media


COST OF SUSPENSIONS

Suspended petrol attendant in Emfuleni was paid over R1m in last four years while sitting at home

The Citizen reports that the Emfuleni Local Municipality has paid more than R1 million to a suspended petrol attendant over the last four years. He was suspended in 2020 for reasons which are not clear, but documents show that since then the municipality spent approximately R1,120,554 on him. The documents also show that the municipality suspended a driver in 2020 and, the matter being unresolved, paid him more than a million to date. On the list of people that had been suspended by the municipality over the last four years were clerks, general workers, team leaders, officer managers and a driver of a tipper truck. The documents reveal that an employee suspended for four years and 8 months was paid R3,494,120, while another employee earned R2,272,283 sitting at home for the same duration. In total, the municipality spent more than R20m paying employees who were on suspension.   DA MPL Kingsold Chabalala expressed shock at the amount of money wasted on employees who were at home but still getting paid at the end of each month. “This disclosure effectively reveals the shortcomings of the disciplinary management systems in Emfuleni. While the labour laws guarantee fair disciplinary hearings, the inability to resolve the 19 cases dating back to 2019 is unacceptable and demonstrates an incapable system that needs reform,” Chabalala said. He added that prolonged suspensions hindered the provision of service delivery, particularly as the municipality must take on the added responsibilities of a suspended employee while increasing the workload.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Itumeleng Mafisa at The Citizen


ALLEGED CORRUPTION / FRAUD

Bursary specialist who allegedly stole R16.5m ‘lied’ to Nedbank about KPMG dismissal

The Citizen reports that Fidelis Moema, the former KPMG employee accused of stealing R16.5 million in bursary funds, will remain in custody as he waits to find out on Friday whether he will be released on bail or not. Moema returned to the dock in the Palm Ridge Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday for a formal bail application after the case was postponed last week. The former KPMG bursary specialist was joined by two alleged accomplices who were in court for the first time. The charges include fraud and money laundering.   Moema is accused of embezzling bursary funds intended for university students while employed at KPMG. He is now employed by Nedbank in human resources.   The state prosecutor told the court that Nedbank had filed an affidavit which revealed that Moema allegedly stated that he had resigned from KPMG. "Given the current situation involving Mr Moema, the bank has noted the staff member had failed to disclose he had been dismissed by previous employer KPMG; instead in his CV he submitted to Nedbank, he said he had resigned at KPMG," the bank indicated. Nedbank reportedly confirmed that Moema has been placed on precautionary suspension. The affidavit also mentioned that his contract was scheduled to end on 30 April as he was employed on a fixed-term basis.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Molefe Seeletsa at The Citizen. Read too, Alleged bursary swindler failed to tell Nedbank he was dismissed by KPMG, court hears, at News24

Retired SANDF brigadier general and co-accused get bail in R2.2m military tender fraud case

News24 reports that a retired SA National Defence Force (SANDF) brigadier general has been arrested in connection with alleged irregularities relating to a R2.2-million tender for heat-resistant buffs and military goggles for soldiers undertaking peacekeeping missions in the Darfur region of Sudan. Mendis Eddy Mondlane, 67, appeared in the Pretoria Commercial Crime Court alongside co-accused, Mugisha Charles Mwali, on Thursday, after military police arrested them on Wednesday. Mondlane has been charged with three counts of fraud, and Mwali, the director of Phomolo Enterprises, which was awarded the contract in February 2016, has one fraud charge against him. The charges stem from alleged misrepresentations made in support of the awarding of the tender. The State has accused Mondlane of intentionally making false representations about Phomolo to the Central Procurement Service Centre (CPSC). Mondlane allegedly told the procurement centre that Phomolo had previously supplied the Great Lakes Region with military hardware, that the company had produced the buffs and dust goggles' specifications as required by the end-user and that it had undertaken to provide the equipment in time for mobilisation. The general has also been accused of lying about Phomolo having had experience in supplying military hardware and meeting the requirements and turnaround time for delivery of the equipment. Mondlane was granted R10,000 bail and Mwali was granted R5,000 bail. The matter was postponed to 17 July for outstanding investigations to be completed.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Alex Mitchley at News24. Read too, Retired SANDF Brigadier General, company director out on bail following a R2.2 million military tender fraud, at IOL News. En ook, Oud-SANW-generaal van bedrog verdink, by Maroela Media


OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

  • Labour Court’s decision offers hope to South Africans with criminal records, at City Press
  • Joburg High Court gives costs order in Mkhwebane’s favour in gratuity battle, at Mail & Guardian
  • Bela Bill faces public scrutiny - NCOP reviews education legislation amid outcry, at IOL News
  • Niks gerusstellend aan Bela-wysigings, by Maroela Media
  • Do away with right of veto, otherwise BELA retains its poison, says Solidarity, at Politicsweb

 


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