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 afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Monday, 12 February 2018.


Electrical sub-station 'explosion' in Sunnyside injures workers

Timeslive reports that an apparent explosion at an electrical sub-station injured two workers‚ one of them seriously‚ in Sunnyside‚ Pretoria‚ on Monday.  Paramedics arrived on the scene shortly after 10am to find a doctor already treating one of the victims while a second man was found walking around.  “It is believed that the two had been working on the sub-station when there had been an alleged explosion‚ causing a fire to break out.  Paramedics assessed the two patients and found that one had sustained serious injuries while the second had escaped with moderate injuries,” said ER24 spokesman Russel Meiring.  The workers were taken to Mediclinic Muelmed for urgent additional medical treatment.

This short report is at Timeslive


Families of three Lily Mine victims yet to be paid, bodies still trapped underground

The Sunday Independent reports that Monday marked the second year anniversary of the Lily Mine disaster when three miners were left trapped underground after the container they were working in as a lamp-room was swallowed whole in a massive cave-in.  Since that fateful day on 5 February 2016 when Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirenda were trapped, there has been nothing but talk, especially from the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).  Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who has been condemned for his inaction regarding the fate of the trapped miners and their families, opened the Mining Indaba on Monday and indicated that the inquiry into the accident had been concluded, and a report would be submitted to the DMR soon.  Approximately a year ago, it was reported that the families of the trio and survivors were due to be paid lump sums of R200,000.  None of the affected mineworkers or their families have seen this money.  It was Zwane who made this bold announcement only to somersault later and point a finger at business rescue practitioners Sturns as being responsible for the payments.  But Sturns has always maintained that the payments could only be made once the mine found new investors, which has not yet eventuated.  NUM deputy president Joseph Montisetse said the union was at its wits’ end and believed that Zwane’s departure as minister was needed to see progress at the mine, which remains closed - leaving the mineworkers and their families destitute.  Amcu, which is the majority union at the mine, is just as disillusioned.  General secretary Jeff Mphahlele commented that “government does not show any interest in this thing”.

Read this report by Don Makatile in full at The Sunday Independent


Eskom advertises CEO and CFO top jobs

ANA reports that power utility Eskom on Sunday advertised the top positions of group chief executive officer (CEO) and group chief financial officer (CFO), and gave interested parties two weeks to apply.  Last month, the government appointed a new 13-member board for the troubled state-owned company, with businessman Jabu Mabuza taking over as chairman and Phakamani Hadebe as acting CEO.  The government instructed the newly elected Eskom board to find suitable candidates to fill the group CEO and group CFO positions permanently within the next three months.  Eskom has been a revolving door for CEOs and acting CEOs in the period dating back to the early 2000s, with Thulani Gcabashe, Jacob Maroga, Mpho Makwana, Brian Dames, Collin Matjila, Tshediso Matona, Brian Molefe, Matshela Koko, Sean Maritz and now Hadebe in 2018.  Controversial CFO Anoj Singh resigned in January at the time of testifying at the parliamentary portfolio committee on public enterprises, which is probing governance failures at Eskom.

Read this report in full at Cape Times

Cop, examiner arrested after scamming 23 job seekers of R10,000 each for JMPD jobs

The Star reports that twenty-three desperate, unemployed people each paid over R10,000 for fraudulent Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) trainee jobs.  A female SA Police Service officer, stationed at Protea Glen, and a male examiner from Aganang Local Municipality in Polokwane, have been arrested for the scam and were due to appear in the Protea Glen Magistrate’s on Monday.  A third suspect is being sought.  Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said the two suspects took advantage of the 1,500 JMPD officers’ recruitment process and recruited an additional 23 bogus recruits who paid R10,200 each.  The R200 was for a fake medical certificate which was issued by the suspects.  New recruits undergo training for 18 months and the official training started in October last year.  Last week when the existing recruits reported for duty, they were joined by the 23 youths who had fallen victim to the scam.  Upon their arrival, they produced fake appointment certificates which stated their salaries and which team they would be working with.  A JMPD-marked vehicle had been used to transport the bogus recruits to the academy.  The city’s group forensic and investigation services department (GFIS) and a team from the SAPS was then called in to assist in questioning and taking down statements from the 23 scam victims.  The scammers were arrested over the weekend.

Read this report by Anna Cox in full at The Star


NHLS employees told they have to pay back 2015 Xmas 'bonuses'

Timeslive reports that when National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) employees on 26 November 2015 noticed that money had been deposited into their accounts, they thought Christmas had come early.  Little did they know they would have to pay back their “bonuses” two years later.  The affected employees, who are mostly from the NHLS office in Limpopo, said they only received letters last year notifying them that the institution was recouping the funds.  In a letter sent in September 2017, NHLS acting CEO Mpho Mphelo said there had been some “miscalculations” when money was paid into the employees’ bank accounts in 2015.  On 16 January 2018 the employees were again sent letters alerting them that the first batch of debits will go off that same month.  NHLS spokesperson Tebogo Seate said the institution alerted the employees to the error in April 2016.

Read a short report by Siphe Macanda at Timeslive or a longer version at TimesSelect (registration required)


Bonus tap opens for top-performing Joburg Water exec after three-year legal fight

Timeslive reports that the financial chief at Johannesburg Water, Cyrus Tavaria, was annoyed after getting a 107% performance rating at the end of 2014, but being denied a bonus‚ alongside fellow senior managers.  He challenged the decision‚ and three years later the Labour Court has called the board’s decision to withhold Tavaria’s bonus “patently arbitrary‚ capricious and inconsistent with the remuneration policy and constitutional imperatives”.  Judge Portia Nkutha-Nkontwana said the board had no right to arbitrarily decide that only staff in the three top pay grades would not get bonuses and that it had ignored its own rules in withholding the bonuses.  The remuneration policy stipulated that up to 3.5% of annual payroll would be allocated based on each individual’s performance rating as long as the company achieved 85% of its performance target — which it did in 2014.  At an earlier CCMA hearing, the commissioner rejected the reason provided by Johannesburg Water that the senior employees were subjected to a collective punishment for the unsatisfactory organisational performance.

Read this report by Dave Chambers in full at Timeslive


Parental Leave coming as a new leave type, but relation to maternity leave unclear

Bradley Workman-Davies, a director at Werksmans Attorneys, writes that a proposed amendment to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 has recently been passed by the National Assembly that would introduce, for the first time, the new leave type of Parental Leave.  Although passed by the NA, the Labour Laws Amendment Bill still needs to go through the National Council of Provinces and then be signed by the President.  The bill specifies that an employee who is a parent of a child will be entitled to ten days parental leave, which may be granted from the day of the child’s birth or the day of the granting of a child’s adoption order.  The bill does not specify ‘paternity leave’ but rather makes provision for Parental Leave, which could apply to both male and female employees.  But it is unclear how this new Parental Leave entitlement is going to complement maternity leave, i.e. if a female employee takes maternity leave, will she also be entitled to Parental Leave?  The wording of the bill does not seem to exclude that.  It may be that the bill, once assented and enacted, will clarify this position.  Adoption Leave is also provided for whereby an employee who is an adoptive parent will be entitled to ten weeks consecutive Adoption Leave.  This amendment will also provide for families in the LBGTQI community.

Read this article in full at Moneyweb


GEPF loan pulled Eskom from brink of default, says PIC

BusinessLive reports that Public Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO Dan Matjila has revealed that Eskom projected a R10bn negative cash flow for the first week of February and was saved from the brink of defaulting on its debt only by the one-month R5bn bridging facility that the PIC provided.  This disclosure was made in a letter sent by Matjila to the chairman of Parliament’s standing committee on finance, Yunus Carrim.  Without the R5bn, Eskom’s going-concern status would have been jeopardised, Matjila told Carrim and emphasised that Eskom was "too important to fail".  A default would have put the PIC’s R95bn government-guaranteed exposure to Eskom at risk.  The PIC acts as investment manager on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and other statutory funds.  The decision to invest the R5bn was taken in consultation with the GEPF’s executive management and some members of its board of trustees, said Matjila.  The Public Servants Association (PSA) and the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) have objected to the loan because they were not consulted beforehand about the investment.  Matjila noted that the PIC was under no obligation to consult or inform any trade union when it implemented the mandate of the GEPF.

Read this report by Linda Ensor in full at BusinessLive

Gigaba cancels urgent Monday meeting with PSA over use of GEPF funds to bail Eskom out

EWN reports that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Monday cancelled an urgent meeting with the Public Servants Association (PSA) which was aimed at discussing various matters relating to the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and its investment manager the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).  The trade union is angry over the decision to bail out cash-strapped Eskom using GEPF funds and wants a labour representative to sit on the board of the PIC in order to safeguard workers' money.  The PSA said that Gigaba's postponement of Monday's meeting once again indicated that the interests of public sector employees were not a priority.  The PSA's Tahir Maepa stated:  “Today is the deadline that we gave to him to meet our demand for the reform of the PIC, so come this afternoon if this issue is not resolved, then obviously our attorneys will proceed with drafting papers to the court."  The PIC is the investment manager of the GEPF and other statutory funds.

Read this report by Thando Kubheka in full at EWN


High level delegation to investigate allegations of torture of civilians in DRC by SA troops

Timeslive reports that a high level delegation of military lawyers and investigators is to be despatched to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to investigate allegations of scores of civilians having been tortured by South African peacekeepers.  The team‚ SA National Defence Force (SANDF) military top brass say‚ is to be sent within the week.  Reports emerged over the weekend that South African peacekeepers were involved in the torture of women and men.  Over 1‚000 SA troops from 5 South African Infantry Battalion, which is based out of Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal, are taking part in a United Nations peacekeeping mission in the DRC.  The majority of the troops are operating in the highly volatile region of Goma‚ which is where the allegations of torture come from.  Four years ago a UN report labelled South Africa troops as among the worst peacekeepers when it came to sexual assaults on civilians.

Read this report by Graeme Hosken in full at Timeslive

Parliament’s police committee slams involvement of senior cops in crime

Timeslive reports that Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police has condemned the participation of senior police officers in criminal activities and said the fight against crime could only be won if led by a credible and corruption-free SA Police Service (SAPS).  On Friday, the committee noted that over the week past several current senior and former senior SAPS officials had been subjected to court processes.  Some had pleaded guilty on corruption-related charges‚ others were sentenced to long prison terms while others had to still offer their pleas in the related court cases.  The committee’s chairperson‚ Francois Beukman‚ said senior officers must lead by example in the fight against crime and condemned any act of criminality by SAPS members‚ more so those committed by senior SAPS officials.  Beukman said that ongoing lifestyle audits of senior officers‚ strict implementation of the NDP’s recommendations on recruitment and promotions‚ and concerted operations by IPID in relation to systemic corruption in the SAPS were essential in dealing with criminal conduct by police officers.

Read this report in full at Timeslive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Stellenbosch municipal official's misconduct charges dropped, at Weekend Argus


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