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 Thursday roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that have appeared since
midday on Wednesday, 19 April 2017.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Providing private security to protect Cape Town EMS staff 'too expensive'

Cape Argus reports that Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato has done an about-turn on his promise to provide private security to escort EMS (Emergency Medical Services) staff responding to medical emergencies in “red zones”.  Plato was quoted on the TV programme Carte Blanche as saying that he would set up Safety Kiosks manned by private security and neighbourhood watch members to escort EMS staff who have been under attack in dangerous areas.  He has now said it would be too expensive and that he was in talks with various stakeholders on possible ways to protect EMS staff.  He indicated that hiring of private security guards would be costly and his department was coming up with ideas from his responsibilities as oversight officer for policing in the province.  “We will have meetings where I will take a lead and look at all issues of safety regarding paramedics before a decision is made,” Plato said on Tuesday.  From 2012 to 2016 there were 231 attacks on paramedics and eight in 2017 so far.

Read this report by Zodidi Dano in full at Cape Argus.  See too, Attacks on EMS staff hinder service delivery, at EWN

SAPS launch manhunt for hit man who targeted KZN policeman

eNCA reports that police in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) are searching for a man who shot and killed a police officer in cold blood in Durban on Wednesday.  Captain Bheki Simelane was killed just metres from his house in Phoenix.  KZN police spokesperson Thembeka Mbhele said Simelane was accosted at 6:30 by an unknown man when he intended to board a taxi.  He was shot twice and died instantly.  According to an eye witness, immediately after that the assailant jumped into a red Polo that had stopped alongside and fled the scene.  A career policeman, Simelane was with the service for 35 years and was the spokesperson for the Point Police Station.  His colleagues have ruled out robbery as a motive, and believe it was a hit.  Mbhele said that “we suspect that he was just targeted either as a policeman or there are other reasons why and that is subject to investigation.”  The incident has sparked renewed concern about the increase in the number of attacks on officers in the province.  Simelane is the fourth policeman to be killed since January.

Read this report in full at eNCA

Bishop Lavis school principal brutally stabbed

Cape Argus reports that on the second day of the second term, a school principal was brutally attacked by two assailants and stabbed multiple times at his school premises.  The Western Cape Education Department said it was monitoring his condition after two attackers entered the school premises on Wednesday morning and stabbed him.  It appears the attack was in retaliation against Wayne Abrahams, principal of the Bishop Lavis School of Skills, for having commenced disciplinary proceedings against a pupil who had shot another in the leg in March.  The principal had been threatened prior to the attack.  Safe Schools has arranged four additional security guards, while the Metropolitan Police have deployed two additional School Resource Officers to the school.

Read this report in full at Cape Argus.  See too, Principal attacked in suspected gang related incident, at City Press.  And also, Officials beef up security after principal stabbed at Cape Town school, at EWN

Man arrested for allegedly attempting to kill his employee over salary payment

Caxton News Service writes that a man was arrested in Ekurhuleni on Monday after his alleged victim told the police that the suspect almost killed him following an argument over money.  The Boksburg Advertiser reported:  “The victim apparently asked the suspect, his employer, to give him his monthly salary.  The employer then told him to get into his car to go for a drive.  While driving at high speed, the suspect then allegedly opened the passenger door and pushed the victim out of the vehicle.”  The victim suffered injuries when he hit the tarmac.  A Boksburg police spokesperson indicated:  “The suspect then apparently reversed his car with the intention to drive over the victim.  The victim, however, immediately recovered and managed to escape the imminent danger.”  The suspect was charged with attempted murder and is expected to appear in court soon.

A short report is at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Konstabel skiet kollega glo per ongeluk dood in Kraaifontein, at Netwerk24 (limit on access)
  • PE-man sit lank vir moord op polisieman, at Maroela Media
  • Sailor missing after falling off vessel near Cape Point, at News24
  • No casualties in Braampark fire, at The Citizen


MINING LABOUR

NUM in dispute with Evander Gold Mines over compliance with retrenchment agreement

Mining Weekly reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has declared a dispute against Evander Gold Mines (EGM), saying the company refused to implement both the voluntary separation package (VSP) and retrenchment agreements.  EGM is a subsidiary of Pan African Resources (PAR).  The union said in a statement:  “During our engagements with the company, the number of affected employees was reduced from 976 to 650.  With regards to a VSP agreement, there are 656 employees who have applied for VSP but the employer has only approved 154 and denied the rest.  The employer's reasons are not justifiable.”  The NUM also said Evander was refusing to apply avoidance measures as per the retrenchment agreement.  The retrenchment of some 30% of the mine’s employees is aimed at reducing the underground operation’s fixed cost base.  PAR meanwhile said it was adhering strictly to the collective agreement, which was facilitated by the CCMA.

Read this report in full at Mining Weekly.  Read the NUM’s press statement in this regard at SA Labour News

Other general internet posting(s) on mining

  • Rockwell files for business rescue; will retain company operations in the interim, at Mining Weekly
  • Application filed for winding-up of Eastern Platinum, at Mining Weekly
  • Peter Skeat pushes ahead with Blyvoor Gold, at Miningmx
  • SA coal mines leave legacy of ruin, at Fin24


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING / INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

Nehawu to seek above-inflation wage hikes in public sector

Reuters reports that the National Education Health & Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) on Wednesday vowed to seek wage hikes above the inflation rate in coming public sector negotiations that are expected to begin in June or July.  The tough stance taken by SA’s largest public sector union will be in defiance of the new finance minister's demands for restraint to avoid further credit downgrades and raises the spectre of a protest wave seeking President Jacob Zuma's resignation widening into strikes.  The public sector wage bill accounts for nearly half of government revenue and has risen more than 80% over the last decade, with yearly increases averaging more than 6% above inflation.  "Any increase below 6.5 percent is a poverty wage.  Whatever increase we get must be above 6.5 percent so that our workers can be able to afford the basic basket of goods," said Nehawu spokesman Khaya Xaba.  Inflation was 6.1% last month.  The SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu), as well two transport sector unions, have also said they would pursue above-inflation increases for their members.

Read this report by Mfuneko Toyana in full at Business Report

Nehawu to undertake protest action at Rhodes University over wages

ANA reports that Rhodes University said on Wednesday it had received notification from the National Education Health & Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) of the union’s intention to embark on three days of protected industrial action over wages.  The planned action will take the form of lunch hour picketing on Thursday and Friday, while on Tuesday next week the union will embark on a march to the Great Hall where a memorandum will be handed over to management.  This follows a deadlock in wage negotiations.  The union has rejected a revised offer of a 5% salary adjustment for 2017.  In a statement, the university highlighted the serious risk to the sustainability of the institution of increasing the current deficit budget to fund salaries.

Read this report in full at eNCA

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Bus companies count loss after nationwide wage strike, at SABC News


PROTESTS / MARCHES / BOYCOTTS

Cosatu Gauteng to march on Absa’s Joburg headquarters on Thursday

eNCA reports that Cosatu in Gauteng plans to march to Absa's headquarters in Johannesburg on Thursday.  The trade union federation said the bank has been involved in controversial activities which have been detrimental to the country.  It cited the Competition Commission case in which several banks -- including Absa -- were accused of price-fixing and market allocation in the trade of foreign currency.  It also highlighted the over R2-billion bailout Absa received during the apartheid era.  The Public Protector has recommended that the bank should pay back that money.  In a statement, Cosatu said Absa symbolised what was wrong with SA’s economic structure.

This short report is at eNCA.  Read Cosatu’s press statement in this regard at Cosatu Today

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Blind people take staff members ‘hostage’ at Tshwane centre, at The Citizen


UNION NEWS / STRUCTURES / ORGANISATIONAL REPORTS

Fedusa demands that Saftu must change its name

The Star writes that the new South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) might be on a collision course with its rival, the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa), over its choice of name.  Fedusa instructed its attorneys to issue a letter of demand to Zwelinzima Vavi, Saftu’s steering committee convenor, to change the new body’s name, or face legal action.  Fedusa has objected to Saftu’s name because it “closely resembles” theirs.  Saftu registered with the Labour Department last month and its new name, chosen ahead of two others, is expected to be ratified at its congress this weekend.  Vavi confirmed having received correspondence from Fedusa’s attorneys, but has written back dismissing the demand.  He insisted that the name was “absolutely nothing close” to their rival’s name.

This short report by Mayibongwe Maqhina is at The Star.  See too, Saftu refutes Fedusa’s claim of similarity between names, at EWN


THE ECONOMY / PRICES / PRODUCTIVITY

Consumer inflation slows to 6.1% as food price increases moderate

BusinessLive reports that consumer inflation slowed in March with a moderation in food price increases, but economists say interest rate cuts are unlikely until inflation falls back into the Reserve Bank’s target band of 3% to 6%.  The consumer price index (CPI) rose 6.1% year-on-year after a 6.3% increase in February following the dip in food inflation.  The food and nonalcoholic beverages index increased 8.7%, after rising 9.9% in February.  Food inflation is moderating because the drought is dissipating and the rand is comparatively stronger.  Economist Sanisha Packirisamy expects a further drop in food inflation in coming months.  Improved weather conditions bode well for bread and cereal prices while the 2017 maize harvest is set to nearly double compared with 2016, which would mean lower grain prices.

Read this report by Sunita Menon in full at BusinessLive.  Read too, Food and beverages inflation falls to lowest level in 14 months, at BusinessLive

Cosatu backs Gigaba's controversial aide Prof Chris Malikane

Fin24 reports that according to Cosatu, the appointment of Professor Chris Malikane as a technical adviser to Finance Miniister Malusi Gigaba was a step in the right direction.  The union federation showed its support for Malikane in a statement issued on Wednesday, labelling his detractors as “agents of white monopoly capital”.  Malikane had written an opinion piece published in Sunday Times this past weekend, which promoted nationalisation.  Treasury subsequently distanced itself from the article and reiterating that nationalisation was not government policy.  “Whilst this appointment is unlikely to change Treasury’s conservative approach to macroeconomic policy issues, it is a step in the right direction,” said Cosatu’s Sizwe Pamla.  He explained that Malikane’s appointment would give the space needed for a different economic philosophy than the “mainstream free market fundamentalism” followed by Treasury since the 1900s.

Read this report by Lameez Omarjee in full at Fin24.  Read too, Who is Prof Christopher Malikane? at Business Report.  Read Cosatu’s press statement in this regard at Cosatu Today

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • BLSA bemoans Gigaba road show sans business and labour, at BusinessLive
  • Skies are getting darker for heavy industries, at BusinessLive
  • The biggest time-suck at the office might be your computer, at BusinessLive
  • Farmer suicides soar as worst drought in decades drives them to ruin, at BusinessLive


EXECUTIVE PAY

Numsa roasts Eskom over Brian Molefe's R30 million windfall

TimesLive reports that National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim has berated Eskom for its parting payment of R30.1 million to former chief executive Brian Molefe.  Molefe spent only 18 months at the power utility and resigned in November 2016 after former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s "State of Capture" report revealed his curious relationship with the controversial Gupta family.  Jim said:  "The board of Eskom and government must account for on what basis would this [amount] be justified.  It is shocking because there has been a deepening crisis on all the SOEs (state owned enterprises).  We have a weakness in the serious growth of cronyism and corruption ... be it tenders or a particular trend of handshakes that this government has allowed itself to continue with."  The new Public Protector has received two complaints about the hefty payment and they are being are being assessed for jurisdiction and merit.  The complaints came from the Democratic Alliance and the SA National Civic Organisation.

Read this report by Neo Goba in full at TimesLive.  Read too, Public Protector assessing Molefe 'golden handshake' complaint, at Engineering News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • DA wil Molefe se kontrak sien ná R30 miljoen, at Netwerk24 (limit on access)


EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT / CORRUPTION / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Case against MTN accountant accused of fraud of R24 million postponed to Friday

The Citizen reports that Ruth Moshabane, the woman accused of siphoning off about R24 million from MTN over nearly two years, will plead not guilty, her attorney said on Wednesday.  Moshabane, an accountant at the multinational cellular phone company, is alleged to have committed the crimes of fraud and theft between July 2105 and 4 April this year.  She appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday to apply for bail.  However, due to a full roll, the matter was rolled over to Friday.  Moshabane made a brief appearance in court last Thursday.  She worked for MTN for more than 13 years.

Read this report by Amanda Watson and ANA in full at The Citizen


OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

KZN state healthcare on brink of collapse, say doctors

eNCA reports that medical practitioners in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) say the province’s state healthcare system is on the brink of collapse.  A branch of the SA Medical Association (Sama) has raised the alarm about critical staff shortages, broken equipment and a number of other issues.  The branch, which represents almost 2,500 doctors in and around eThekwini, has gathered information from heads of departments at several major government hospitals.  In a letter to the province, it has called for urgent intervention to address various issues, including critical shortages of medical and nursing staff, frozen posts, and no new equipment provided in the last three years.    KZN’s Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said he was surprised by Sama’s letter as the department met the group two weeks ago.  But he admitted that the system was under pressure.  Sama KZN Coastal Branch members will meet soon to decide whether to embark on protest action.

Read this report in full at eNCA

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • KZN Health MEC begs patients not to sue over negligence, at The Mercury


WEB LINKS TO LABOUR NEWS ARTICLES ON WEDNESDAY, 19 APRIL 2017

See our listing of links to labour articles published on the internet on Wednesday, 19 April 2017 at SA Labour News

 

Get South African labour news reports at SA Labour News