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
Wednesday, 9 January 2019.


SA’s youth jobless rate of 52.8% ranked as the highest in the world

BusinessLive notes that the Spectator Index has ranked SA’s youth unemployment rate as the highest in the world.  Of the countries ranked‚ the Spectator Index said the five countries with the highest youth unemployment were SA at 52.8%; followed by Greece (36.8%)‚ Spain (34.9%)‚ Nigeria (33.1%) and Italy (32.5%).  The QLFS released by Statistics SA in July 2018 revealed there were 6.2-million unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 24.  To combat unemployment‚ President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative last year with the aim of giving a million young people “work opportunities” in the next three years.  SA also hosted a jobs summit in October.  SA’s poor foundation-phase education system has repeatedly been linked to the country’s skills shortage.  Education expert Nic Spaull believes a fundamental problem with SA’s education system is that not all students are equipped with the basics in primary school and says that’s where attention should be focused.  Spaull has also raised concerns about the 2018 matric results‚ especially the high drop-out rate of pupils before they reach grade 12.  He observed that these drop-outs were “almost certainly unemployed” and did not on to any form of further education or training

Read the original report by Iavan Pijoos in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • DTI launches new incentive to spur job creation (audio interview), at Moneyweb
  • Matriculants urged by Cape Chamber to study for jobs in demand, at SABC News


Commuters’ concerns mount after fourth Gauteng train crash in four months

TimesLive reports that commuters have taken to Twitter to raise their concerns about travelling by train, following four crashes in Gauteng in as many months.  Two trains travelling on the same line from Mabopane to Pretoria collided near Mountain View station on Tuesday during the early-morning rush-hour commute, leaving four people dead and another 620 injured.  A deeply shocked Gauteng roads and traffic MEC, Ismail Vadi, called for an urgent investigation into the cause of the accident.  In December, four people were injured when two goods trains slammed into each other at Vulcania station in Brakpan, east of Johannesburg.  Two trains collided at Van Riebeck Park station in Kempton Park, east of Joburg, in October last year, leaving 320 passengers injured.  Four months ago, Booysens station in Joburg’s southern suburbs was also been the scene of a train crash.  Four train crew members and 112 commuters had to receive medical treatment at hospitals in the area.  With four dead and over 1,000 commuters injured in these four recent train accidents in Gauteng alone, it's said to be no wonder that people are feeling increasingly insecure about taking the train.

Read the original report by Ntokozo Miya in full at TimesLive. See eyewitness footage of aftermath of deadly Pretoria train crash at EWN

Nzimande blames cable theft for deadly Pretoria train crash, demands action

ANA reports that Transport Minister Blade Nzimande said on Tuesday that he was outraged after two trains collided earlier in the morning, leaving hundreds of people injured and three people dead.  He laid the blame on cable theft.  The trains were both travelling on the same line towards Pretoria from Mabopane when they collided at Mountain View Station.  The trains were transporting more than 800 passengers.  Over 300 commuters were left injured and were transported to different hospitals around the area.  Nzimande indicated that cable theft resulted in the malfunctioning of the signalling system, which forced train operations to be switched to manual authorisation, which led in turn to miscommunication.  He said management had to account on why money was being spent on upgrading security, yet cable theft was still on the rise.  Nzimande demanded answers from the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) and the Railway Safety Regulator within a few days on actions to be taken to deal with security.  He stated that no security company should get a tender from Prasa if they could not demonstrate what they intended to do in combating cable theft.

Read the original of this report by Brenda Masilela in full at IOL News. Read too, Minister Blade Nzimande demands accountability from Prasa after fatal train crash, at News24

EFF want MEC Vadi and Minister Nzimande to take responsibility for fatal Pretoria train collision

SABC News reports that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Gauteng says Transport MEC Ismail Vadi and Transport Minister Blade Nzimande must take responsibility for Tuesday’s fatal train collision in Pretoria.  The party maintains that the two have failed to hold the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) accountable for the many train deaths in the past.  Since January last year, 22 people have died in train crashes on the country’s railway lines.  EFF Gauteng’s chairperson Mandisa Mashego said Vadi and Nzimande should consider the fact that train commuters were vulnerable members of society.  “What we are saying is that we want Ismail Vadi to get directly involved, to make sure as the MEC for Transport in Gauteng that the issues of safety and anxiety and the concerns of our commuters who are 100% the black working class.  We need him to make sure that the correct compensation level is starting to be given,” Mashego stated.

Read the original of this report in full at SABC News

Lucky commuter fingers signalling faults for deadly Pretoria train crash

SowetanLive reports that an eyewitness who missed Tuesday morning’s deadly train collision by a whisker said one of the trains experienced problems along the way and had stopped for 20 to 30 minutes on multiple occasions.  Velly Jente, who witnessed the aftermath of a horrific crash that claimed three lives and injured more than 600 people at the Mountain View train station, north of Pretoria, claimed the collision was caused by a signalling problem.  He said drivers were forced to use cellphones because the system was not working, which led to delays.  "I'm very hurt.  I don't think this is an accident.  They failed to fix the problems and now people are dead.  Some of those people are breadwinners in their families," he said.  Jente had just disembarked from the train and went to buy fried chips when he heard what he thought was an explosion.  When he rushed to the platform, Jente was met by the sight of injured people lying on the train tracks and crying out for help.  In January last year, the Rail Safety Regulator imposed a ban on the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) to stop the use of manual signalling amid complaints that the practice was placing the lives of commuters at risk.  Prasa had to approach the court to prevent the suspension of its safety permit.  The regulator said on Tuesday that they would release preliminary findings of its investigations on Wednesday.

Read the original report by Zoë Mahopo in full at SowetanLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Rail Safety Regulator to release prelim report on Wednesday on Pretoria train crash, at The Citizen
  • Metrorail: Estimated cost of Pretoria train crash is R21m, at Engineering News


We want to show Sibanye-Stillwater that we mean business, Mathunjwa tells Amcu strikers

ANA reports that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) vowed on Tuesday to continue with its protected strike at Sibanye-Stillwater's gold operations until its demand of a R1,000 annual wage increment for the next three-year period was met.  Addressing members in Carletonville at the union's first central mass meeting of 2019, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa assured his members that the strike would proceed despite the multiple attempts by Sibanye to hinder it.  Amcu has been on strike at Sibanye's Kloof, Beatrix and Driefontein mines since 22 November 2018, refusing a three-year wage agreement signed with three other unions.  He said that this year the protected strike would encompass several marches to key locations including a march to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), and could include a secondary strike in the platinum sector in support of the strike against Sibanye.  "We want to show the Sibanye Stillwater CEO and executives that we mean business when it comes to fighting for and protecting the rights of workers.  We will stand up and make them listen by affecting them where it hurts the most," Mathunjwa said.  He also accused Sibanye of using underhanded tactics by recruiting workers to join rival union the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) while the verification process to determine which was the majority union at Sibanye's operation was in progress.

Read the original report by Siphelele Dludla in full at IOL News

Sibanye’s gold operations going strong despite Amcu wage strike

Business Report writes that precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater is going strong with its gold operations at the Kloof, Beatrix and Driefontein mines open for business.  This is despite a prolonged wage strike by members of the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (Amcu) that has led to violence involving the union and its rival the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).  Sibanye’s James Wellsted said on Tuesday:  “We have developed strike plans to offset the impact of a prolonged strike which have largely been implemented.  We will update the market on the production impact in due course.”  Wellsted confirmed that there had been a number of houses and cars burnt since the strike started on 21 November 2018.  The NUM said on Tuesday that at least 15 houses and six cars belonging to its members had been burnt since Amcu went on strike.  “NUM members’ houses are being burnt down every day.  It is also disturbing that NUM members are also being forced to join Amcu by thugs carrying spears,” the NUM said in a statement.  Wellsted observed the company had negotiated with all unions and Amcu was the only union that had not accepted their wage settlement.  “The offer signed with the three other unions is final and will not be changed,” he stated.

Read the original report by Sandile Mchunu in full at Business Report

Six illegal miners nabbed during gun battle in Actonville in Ekurhuleni

ANA reports that Gauteng police said on Wednesday that they had taken in for questioning a group of six men suspected to be involved in illegal mining and gangsterism in the Ekurhuleni areas of Benoni, Springs and Actonville.  A spokesperson said the police surrounded and then arrested the six men, all foreign nationals, in an open field in Actonville as they were shooting at each other.  The police seized five unlicensed firearms.  Charges of attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and illegal mining are being investigated.  The gangs might also have been responsible for several murders of illegal miners and house robberies in the areas concerned.  The suspects are due to appear at the Benoni Magistrate Court on Thursday.  Mining areas in Ekurhuleni have for years been plagued by illegal mining activities that go hand-in-hand with gangsterism as gangs of illegal miners try to mine and steal gold and other precious minerals from each other.  In January last year, the bodies of seven suspected illegal miners, who had been shot dead execution-style, were found dumped in an open veld in Benoni.

Read the original report on this story in full at IOL News

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Tensions rise again as Mantashe attempts to visit Xolobeni community, at Mining Weekly
  • Optimum mine workers ask for government intervention for unpaid wages, at SABC News


Backlash against racist treatment of guard brings Bronkhorstspruit to a halt on Tuesday

The Citizen reports that the ANC Youth League’s (ANCYL’s) march against racism not only brought Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria, to a standstill on Tuesday, but three surrounding townships were also on lockdown, with people barred from leaving.  The wrath was sparked by an incident in which security officer Charlie Mabuza was allegedly roughed up, stripped of his uniform and forced to walk half-naked in the rain by his supervisor on New Year’s Day.  Mabuza had reportedly been found asleep and tested positive for alcohol consumption while on the job at a factory in Ekandustria, which provoked the alleged attack.  Security company GE Secure’s signage was ripped off the walls of businesses and private properties and mounted on makeshift crosses that were carried on the march.  Nomvula Kgomo, a resident, claimed racist incidents in the town were rife.  “We have been quiet for too long.  Now we are saying, if you are a racist or support racist businesses, you must get out of Bronkhorstspruit,” she observed.

Read the original report by Sipho Mabena in full at The Citizen


Hundreds of doctors left in limbo without community service and internship placements

The Citizen reports that hundreds of graduates are sitting at home after the Department of Health (DOH) bungled their placement into public health facilities to do community service and internships.  Failure to complete a year of community service bars healthcare workers from practicing, essentially meaning they would be unable to work in the medical field.  In December, the department issued a statement saying that 9,797 health professionals were allocated for community service and internship positions, of which 1,465 were community service medical practitioners.  According to the DOH spokesperson Popo Maja, the starting dates for the young graduates would be between 2 and 15 January, based on the date when the current incumbents exited the posts.  However a young doctor said he was initially allocated to a municipality, but was told that the specific post would be available soon.  “That was in the middle of December and up until today [8 January] there is still no post.  I have appealed my placement and my appeal was successful but the e-mail I received stated that there were no resources to give me a post.”.  According to posts on the Junior Doctors Association of SA (Judasa) telegram chat group, several doctors face similar problems.  They complain that the placement algorithm on the department’s website, used to assign them to posts, was flawed, as several were placed in facilities to which they had not applied.

Read the original report by Gcina Ntsaluba in full at The Citizen

Contracts of Limpopo community service pharmacists, intern-nurses and others not renewed

SABC News reports that the contracts of community service pharmacists, intern-nurses and other professionals in the Limpopo Department of Health will not be renewed when they expire at the end of the month.  The department informed workers last month that their 12-month contracts would not be renewed due to budgetary constraints.  Provincial chairperson of the SA Association of Hospital and Institutional Pharmacists (SAAHIP), Nhlanhla Mafarafara, indicated that the department had failed to set aside a budget for its bursary holders.  The health MEC, Phophi Ramathuba, said there were plans to engage with labour and national treasury regarding the possible re-appointment of the affected workers.

Read the original report by Katlego Nyoni in full at SABC News


National minimum wage applies from May 2017 due to error in legislation

Landbouweekblad reports that the new National Minimum Wage Act (No. 9 of 2018) will have to be referred back to Parliament because it contains a far-reaching error.  A section in the new act indicating that it would be an unfair labour practice for an employer to change wages, working hours or other conditions in response to the introduction of the minimum wage makes reference to an incorrect clause in the law.  Because of this error in the legislation, payment of the minimum wage rate applies retrospectively to 1 May 2017.  Business Unity SA (Busa) has confirmed that there was never any agreement to make the minimum wage rate retrospective and that the cross reference is faulty.  Busa is seeking clarity from the government.  Theo Boshoff of Agbiz commented:  “It appears that this was a genuine mistake so there’s no reason to believe that the Department of Labour won’t fix the problem.”  Parliament’s portfolio committee on labour has indicated that it will fix the problem as soon as Parliament reconvenes.

Read the original of this report by Joylene van Wyk in full in Afrikaans in the 4-11 January 2019 issue of Landbouweekblad


  • SAA secures R3.5bn loan to keep operating until March, at Engineering News
  • Read and fully understand your employment contract before signing it, at The Star


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page