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 – TRUCKING PROTEST SUSPENDED

Truckers suspend planned national protest over foreign drivers after government steps in

BL Premium reports that a threatened protest by truckers has been suspended after intervention by the government, which is determined that nothing will be allowed to disrupt next week’s elections.   The truckers threatened highway closures in protest at the hiring of foreign nationals in what could have been a repeat of the disruption caused in 2021 when highways in KwaZulu-Natal were blocked. Transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga gave the assurance on Thursday that the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) had developed an operational plan that was being rolled out to ensure safe, secure national and provincial elections on 29 May. She referred to the threat by some trade unions and associations in the trucking sector to embark on a national protest, including the closure of major routes from 20 May, to express their dissatisfaction.   Chikunga said the justice, crime prevention & security (JCPS) cluster and the Department of Employment & Labour (DEL) had worked with the relevant trade unions, associations and other social partners to ensure the suspension of the planned protest. She added that the challenges in the trucking, freight and logistics sector would be attended to by government by legislative and enforcement measures.   “To this end, ongoing operations, including joint inspections by the technical team, are focused on the enforcement of applicable laws and regulations that govern the conduct of operations in the freight and logistics sector.”   These include enforcement of transport-related legislation as led by the department of transport and continuous compliance visits and inspections by the home affairs department to determine whether a person was in the country legally and was in possession of valid work permits linked to the correct place of work.  

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Linda Ensor at BusinessLive (subscriber access only). See too, Government averts planned trucking strike, says Ntshaveni, at SABC News


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

Western Cape commissioner reports that police investigations into George building collapse wrapped up

EWN reports that Western Cape police say they've wrapped up crime scene investigations at the collapsed George building. Thirty-four people died when a five-storey apartment block under construction collapsed in the Garden Route town on 6 May.   Sixty-two people were on the site at the time of the incident. The rescue and recovery operations concluded last week Friday, with all workers accounted for. Provincial police commissioner, Thembisile Patekile, said they had interviewed several people as part of the investigation. He added: "We've wrapped up, on our part, the crime scene and it has been handed over to [the] Labour [Department] to continue with their part. We are collaborating with all other investigational aids, such as many engineering companies, so we are now at that stage."

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Ntuthuzelo Nene at EWN

Police still to identify two bodies from George building collapse

News24 reports that police are in the process of identifying two last bodies following the collapse of a construction site in George.   On Thursday, Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile said they knew who the victims were, but were awaiting identity documentation to confirm their names. The collapse on 6 May left 34 people dead. Patekile added that some of the crime scene had been handed over to the Department of Labour and Employment for additional investigations. An independent investigation is also being carried out on behalf of the provincial government. On Wednesday, Premier Alan Winde said the investigation was gathering momentum, with the appointed engineers gathering documents and samples. The search and recovery operation was concluded last Friday, when the site was handed over to the police.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nicole McCain at News24

Doctor shot during violent burglary on Tuesday at Free State hospital

News24 reports that a doctor has been shot during a "violent burglary" at a Free State hospital. The 26-year-old doctor was shot at Mofumahali Manapo Mopeli Regional Hospital in QwaQwa on Tuesday at about 20:00. Free State Health MEC Mathabo Leeto indicated: "In an unexpected violent burglary incident at the secured doctors' quarters at the hospital precinct by unknown assailants, a doctor fell victim of this near-fatal shooting. The doctor was rushed into theatre and the good news is that none of his vital organs were affected and he is now recovering at the ICU." Leeto added that the incident would be "thoroughly investigated" to allow the provincial health department to tighten security at its facilities.   The latest shooting comes only weeks after a security guard was shot dead during a robbery at an Eastern Cape clinic. He was shot during a robbery at Maqanyeni Clinic in Ngqeleni in April, after four men attacked him and his female colleague. The guard's colleague was not injured. In February, a nurse and a security guard were tied up for several hours during a robbery at a clinic in Zigodlo near Qonce, also in the Eastern Cape.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nicole McCain at News24

'We can't help if we're injured or dead', says Joburg EMS as attacks compromise response times

News24 reports that Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) has warned that attacks on its staff have an effect on service delivery and response times. This after a firefighter was hijacked on duty on Friday. The EMS officer was assaulted and dropped off in Meyerton while the vehicle was taken by the hijackers. EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said the firefighter was traumatised and would need time to recover at home, while being offered the necessary support. He added: "Attacks on EMS personnel not only create fear and panic among emergency services workers, but it also affects service delivery and response times to emergencies because we cannot afford situations where every time a fire engine or an ambulance is dispatched, to have police escort it; is not feasible because police also are overwhelmed by their duties." A life-support paramedic said there was concern with every scene they attended.   "There's never a guarantee for us that a scene is absolutely safe, and I have been in countless situations where my safety has been compromised and it's scary," she said.   She added that: "At the end of the day we are there to help people, but we can't if we're injured or dead; it's very sad that safety is a concern." According to the paramedic, she had been threatened many times while on the job.   In one instance, she was attacked at a mass casualty scene, by someone who said she wasn't treating someone they wanted her to treat. Public safety MMC Mgcini Tshwaku condemned the acts of violence against EMS officials and commented: “To attack and hijack an EMS vehicle is an attack on the very fabric of our community's wellbeing."

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Aphelele Mbokotho at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Two police suicides in two days spark concerns: Here’s what police are doing to help officers, at The Citizen


PIKITUP STRIKE

No end in sight to Pikitup strike, with ActionSA demanding apology from mayor for saying it sponsored the industrial action

The Citizen reports that a worker representative said on Thursday that the Pikitup strike that has left parts of the Joburg CBD looking like a rubbish heap after waste collection was brought to a standstill last week would continue for the foreseeable future. Speaking to SABC News, Enos Maake said there was no end in sight to the strike, but the posting of jobs next week might bring them a step closer to a resolution.   “We are just waiting to see if maybe next week the advert [for job posts] will be out, and we will assist those people to apply,” he said, adding that many he knew who were turned down for posts “exceeded the requirements” that were listed in job descriptions. He discussed irregularities in appointments, saying he could name officials “close to ward councillors” who were guilty.   Meanwhile, ActionSA hit back at mayor Kabelo Gwamanda’s accusation that its members had “directly influenced and sponsored the disruption of services to nearly a million residences and businesses across the city”. The political party indicated: “We demand a public apology from the Executive Mayor within two working days, and if he fails to do so, ActionSA will take drastic legal action against him in his personal capacity.” ActionSA’s Joburg Caucus on Thursday welcomed an independent investigation into Pikitup officials over the advertising of posts.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nicholas Zaal at The Citizen. Read too, Investigator appointed to probe Pikitup corruption, nepotism amid service disruptions, at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Pikitup says there's significant improvement in waste collection services following strike, at EWN


SEX WORKER PROTEST

Sex workers picket at Parliament on Thursday ahead of next week’s elections

GroundUp reports that over 50 sex workers and civil society activists picketed outside Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.   The group, led by the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), launched its #WhoSpeaksForUs campaign, aimed at political leaders ahead of the elections next week as a “reminder that leadership should reflect the diversity of the people it serves”. SWEAT’s Megan Lessing pointed out that the picket was “symbolic” as there were no politicians in Parliament on Thursday. The campaign seeks to rally support for the decriminalisation of sex work and the fight for equality of all people regardless of their race, sexuality or class.   Sex workers at the picket said they were worried about whether there would be political support for the decriminalisation of sex work after the elections. The current draft bill, which has been through extensive public consultations, would decriminalise sex work to ensure better protection for sex workers from violence, among other aims. However, in May last year the deputy minister of the Department of Justice, John Jeffery, noted that state law advisors had raised concerns that the bill “may not pass constitutional muster if it does not also provide for the regulation of sex work”. Accordingly, the revised bill will be in the hands of the newly elected Parliament.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Liezl Human at GroundUp


KZN TEACHERS’ SIT-IN

KZN teachers stage sit-in protest since Monday to demand permanent employment

News24 reports that more than a hundred KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) teachers have, since Monday, been staging a sit-in outside the education department's head offices demanding to be permanently employed. The group, which calls itself KZN United Unemployed Educators, say there are available vacancies in many schools across the province, but the department is dragging its feet. The group, which has more than 2,000 members, say they are concerned by the extremely high level of unemployment among education graduates. They are also concerned about age restrictions in hiring practices. The group's memorandum reads as follows: "This has forced us to take action by gathering to address this issue with our provincial government, who are the elected officials sworn to serve the people of KZN. We have studied under difficult circumstances and spent lengthy periods studying towards becoming educators, as this is our passion, to empower young kids with education. Therefore, we demand employment. We have noted with sadness the huge shortage of educators in public schools across the province, while many of us remain unemployed. We demand that unemployed educators be placed in those schools. We do not want temporary placement when there is a clear shortage of educators."   Group leader Ndumiso Mngwengwe said that before arranging the sit-in, they had tried to engage the department. The group insisted that they would not leave the sit-in until their issues had been resolved. A KZN education department spokesperson said no parent wanted to send a child to university, only for them to return home without a job, “but we are unable to hire all of them because some of them are oversubscribed in terms of subjects that are not in demand. We hire every time there is a vacancy and that is done by the HR App."

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sakhiseni Nxumalo at News24


MINING

Operations at Harmony’s Phakisa mine suspended following deadly blast

SABC News reports that Harmony Gold has advised that an employee died at its Phakisa mine in Welkom in a blasting incident.   All blasting operations have been temporarily suspended following the incident. The relevant authorities have been informed and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), as well as labour representatives and mine management, will be investigating the cause of the incident. This was the fourth loss of life incident to be reported by Harmony this year alone, with two incidents reported at its Mponeng mine, and another at Doornkop. The National Union of Mineworkers indicated that it was still waiting for the results of the investigations being conducted by the DMRE.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Sizwe Majola at SABC News

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Anglo American rejects R895 billion bid from BHP – but leaves the door open, at BusinessTech


COST OF LIVING / INFLATION

Consumer inflation cools slightly to 5.2%, but still remains stubbornly high

Fin24 reports that annual consumer price inflation decelerated for a second consecutive month to 5.2% in April from 5.3% in March.   But the consumer inflation rate still hasn't been under 5% since August last year and even then, it only achieved a drop beneath 5% for two months in the whole of 2023. The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 0.3% month-on-month in April. The main drivers of inflation in April were housing and utilities, miscellaneous goods and services, food and non-alcoholic beverages and transport.   "Annual inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages moderated further from 5.1% in March to 4.7% in April, representing a fifth consecutive month of decline. Most food and non-alcoholic beverages sub-categories witnessed lower annual rates, except for vegetables, fruit and hot beverages," Statistics SA indicated. On average, vegetable prices increased 7.4% in the 12 months to April, higher than the 6.0% increase recorded in March. Egg inflation recorded its fifth consecutive month of decline after peaking at 39.9% in November and receding to 25.1% in April. At the beginning of May, petrol prices rose 37c a litre to the highest levels in seven months, but recent estimates show that the price of 95 unleaded petrol is due for a decrease of around 62c a litre in June.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Renée Bonorchis at Fin24. Read too, South Africa’s inflation outlook improving but risks remain, at The Citizen


REMUNERATION TRENDS

Salaries could turn out to be better in 2024

The Citizen reports that the BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index (BTPI) tracked lower in April 2024, with the nominal average pay falling below the R16,000 mark experienced over the past two months to R15,374 in April. “The good news is that this figure is still 5.6% up on salary levels from a year ago,” BankservAfrica’s Shergeran Naidoo pointed out. The average real take-home pay, adjusted for inflation, also tracked lower at R13,566 in April although it was also marginally higher than a year ago. Economist Elize Kruger pointed out that a comparison of the average nominal BTPI for the four months to April with the corresponding period one year earlier revealed a 6.0% improvement, with 0.6% in real terms. “If sustained throughout the year, 2024 could turn out to be a better year for salaries, unlike 2023 when the average BTPI increased by only 1.2%,” she said. Kruger pointed out that with no load shedding over the past two months, the business environment had improved, enabling organisations to increase productivity and lower the cost of production. “An improved business environment will positively influence companies’ ability to pay inflation-related salary increases in 2024,” she argued. The BankservAfrica data also aligns with the SA Reserve Bank’s forecast of an average salary increase of 6.1% for 2024. With average consumer inflation likely to be around 5.1% in 2024, a forecast real increase of 1.0% in average wages could bode well for economic activity this year, Kruger said. According to the BankservAfrica BTPI data, about 132,000 more salaries were paid in April 2024 compared to the previous month. The BankservAfrica Private Pensions Index (BPPI), tracking the pension payments to about 700,000 pensioners, was also lower in both nominal and real terms in April 2024, but remained comfortably above levels a year ago.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • What the CEOs of SA’s biggest companies get paid, at BusinessTech


MANGAUNG ‘GHOST’ WORKERS

Ailing Mangaung Metro spent almost R6m on 'ghost workers'

City Press reports that investigations are still underway following the uncovering a massive scam involving "ghost workers" in the Mangaung Metro Municipality in the Free State.   Meanwhile, R5.8 million was apparently paid out salaries, which amount is expected to go up because of ongoing investigations. Mangaung Executive Mayor Gregory Nthatisi confirmed that he was aware of “of around R5 million” spent on ghost employees, an accrued amount because the workers had been earning large amounts "quietly without doing any work". Last year, after Nthatisi found that for a period there had been ghost workers in the metro, he opened a case with the Hawks for a full-scale investigation of those “defrauding and stealing from the municipality”. He reported that with investigations still underway, six people had been handed over to the police, but he could not reveal further details about the ongoing probe. He went on to say: “It's not the ultimate number. We must continue to do our own internal investigation and then hand it over to the police. In a situation like this, even if we have more than 20, the others are still subjected to scrutiny because if you make a wrong accusation, that person may have the right to sue you. So, we must beyond reasonable doubt, say this is a ghost worker and we are now subjecting this to the police for thorough investigation and arrest.”   Apparently, the "ghost" political appointees were mainly ANC regional members after the 2021 municipal polls. Nthathisi, who has been mayor since last year, pointed out that the ghost workers did not exist in his administration but were from the previous administration.   A provincial Hawks spokesperson said they were still investigating the case and could neither confirm the number of people involved nor the amount defrauded as investigations “are at an advanced and sensitive stage”.

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


ALLEGED CORRUPTION

Pretoria chief magistrate's corruption case postponed to 20 August

SowetanLive reports that the case against suspended Pretoria chief magistrate, Desmond Nair, who is facing charges of corruption, has been postponed to 20 August. According to his lawyer, this is to allow him to make representations to the National Director of Public Prosecutions for further investigations and intervention. According to Investigating Directorate spokesperson, Henry Mamothame, Nair appeared before the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on charges of corruption.   "Nair is facing charges of corruption for allegedly receiving security upgrades, valued at approximately R200,000 to his Silverton home, provided by African Global Operations, formerly known as Bosasa, in September 2016," Mamothame indicated. He said the upgrades included an electric fence, alarm system, perimeter beams and CCTV system. "The gratification was allegedly offered and received by Nair in order for him to act in a dishonest or improper manner in his influential position as the officer of the judiciary," Mamothame alleged.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Koena Mashale at SowetanLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Worker alerts Mpumalanga police after men offer R5,000 bribe to steal R160,000 kidney dialysis machine, at IOL News

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page