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, 10 April 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

KZN reservist shot dead in botched robbery by men dressed as policemen

TimesLIVE reports that a police reservist was shot dead on Monday when he came across a group of armed men in police uniform who were robbing a business in Mariannhill, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).  Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said Constable Malusi Mahlangu was shot when he responded to a robbery at about 1pm.  He reported further:  "They opened fire on him.  He sustained gunshot wounds to the neck and was declared dead at the scene.  The suspects took airtime and cash from the business premises and fled the scene with the victim’s private firearm and two state firearms."  Gwala indicated that cases of murder and business robbery were being investigated by Mariannhill police.

Read the original of Orrin Singh’s short report on this story at TimesLIVE


MINING LABOUR

Strikes, weak demand putting 90,000 platinum industry jobs at risk, Minerals Council warns

Fin24 reports that the Minerals Council SA (previously called the Chamber of Mines) has warned that 90,000 jobs in the local platinum mining sector are at risk due to a combination of strikes, weak demand, declining productivity, growth in recycling and the rising cost of electricity.  The platinum dollar price has been steadily declining since 2011.  Currently 65% of platinum group metals operations in SA were marginal or loss-making at prevailing prices and some 89,964 jobs were at risk at those operations, according to the council’s Roger Baxter.  On Tuesday he said "bold action" was needed by both the state and mining companies to prevent a further erosion of the industry.  The plan that Baxter outlined included a national strategy to drive investment demand for platinum; market development in jewellery, investment and fuel cells; and the adoption of platinum as a reserve asset.  The platinum industry is the largest mining employer in SA, with 168,000 people directly employed in 2018.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Fin24

Sibanye-Stillwater prepares for the worst ahead of platinum wage talks with R1.8bn share sale

Miningmx reports that Sibanye-Stillwater will be placing shares worth R1.8bn in an effort to minimise the impact on its balance sheet of the ongoing strike at its gold mines and to head-off possible disruptions flowing from the upcoming platinum sector wage negotiations.  Up to 108.9 million shares are to be placed by means of an accelerated book-build with institutions, equal to 5% of the company’s share capital and the maximum it is allowed to sell for cash.  The proceeds will be put to debt reduction.  The precious metals producer said the strike being waged by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at its gold mines since November and the commencement of upcoming platinum group metals (PGM) wage negotiations at the end of the second quarter, “pose potential risks that require due consideration.”  In the event there were no disruptions from wage negotiations, the share placement would be a segue to the resumption of dividends in line with the existing dividend policy, the company indicated.  “The new proceeds from the placing will enhance balance sheet flexibility and ensure that group leverage is appropriately reduced,” the company stated.  

Read the full original of David McKay’s report on the above at Miningmx. Read too, Sibanye to raise R1.8bn in case of platinum strike, at BusinessLive. And also, Sibanye tackles balance sheet woes with cash placing of R1.8bn in new ordinary shares, at Fin24

Human Rights Commission on fact-finding mission at Sibanye’s strike-hit Driefontein mine

Business Report writes that the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) was scheduled on Wednesday to conduct a fact-finding mission at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein mine in Carletonville amid the four-and-a-half-month wage strike that has claimed nine lives.  Employees and community members approached the commission to raise concerns that the strike led by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) could lead to another Marikana tragedy similar to that of mid-August 2012.  The SAHRC said it would investigate alleged human rights violations and attempt to broker a deal to end the strike.  “The commission will seek to examine whether the mining company and the labour unions have exercised their best endeavours to resolve the ongoing industrial dispute and whether sufficient safeguards and measures have been employed to ensure the safety of employees and prevent the outbreak of violence,” the SAHRC indicated.  It also said it planned to examine the role played by the SA Police Service in dealing with incidents and responding to the threat and outbreak of violence between any parties.  During a visit to Carletonville last month, Police Minister Bheki Cele launched a crime combating and reaction team in response to the killings, assaults and the torching of the homes and vehicles of the non-striking workers.

Read the full original of Dineo Faku’s report in the above regard at Business Report. See too, SAHRC to visit Sibanye’s Driefontein division after nine killed in strike, at EWN

Amcu’s Mathunjwa stokes battle with Neal Froneman with ‘Cecil John Rhodes’ jibe

Miningmx writes that Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president, Joseph Mathunjwa, lived up to his billing as “a s**t-stirrer of note” when he launched an all-out attack on Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman on Tuesday.  Introducing Mathunjwa to the Platinum Group Metals Industry Day investment conference, chairman Bernard Swanepoel commented:  “Joseph’s official CV should say s**t-stirrer of note; kicked out of the National Union of Mineworkers by (current mines minister) Gwede Mantashe”.  Mathunjwa firstly stated that “… it would be wrong to reduce these challenges (the four-month long strike by Amcu at Sibanye’s gold mines) to myself and Froneman.  That’s not the case.”  But he then compared Froneman to the imperialist Cecil John Rhodes, saying:  “Neal Froneman and his Mafia are the last battalion of exploiters.  If you look where they are coming from it’s Cecil John Rhodes and Charles Rudd from Gold Fields.”  Mathunjwa continued:  “When they unbundled at Gold Fields, Froneman came up with Sibanye.  He never left the learnings of Cecil Rhodes.  He was groomed and brought up under those circumstances.”  Mathunjwa then broadened his attack to include the ANC government under the leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa and the Minerals Council SA, which he claimed was no different from the former Chamber of Mines.  “The culture has not changed since 1902,” he asserted.

Read the full original of Brendan Ryan’s report in the above regard at Miningmx

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Rapidly rising costs will exacerbate PGMs industry crisis, at Mining Weekly
  • Amplats urges PGM sector to focus on demand instead of growing production, at Miningmx
  • Mining companies urge government to invest in developing platinum markets, at BusinessLive
  • Sibanye share price drops nearly 14% after raising R1.7bn in share offer, at Fin24
  • Minister Mantashe welcomes Rio Tinto’s investment in expansion of its Richards Bay Minerals operation, at Polity (press statement)


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Numsa strike at ArcelorMittal SA enters fifth week

ANA reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said on Wednesday that it was forging ahead with a month-long strike at the local subsidiary of multinational steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal.  This was indicated after union members on Tuesday handed over a memorandum of demands to the UK Embassy, in Pretoria, to highlight the alleged abuse and exploitation of workers at ArcelorMittal SA (AMSA).  At least 2,000 permanent employees and contract workers have been on strike since 12 March.  In Numsa’s view, a large number of its members were at a disadvantage because they were employed through contractors Real Tree Trading and Monyetla Services even though they actually worked for AMSA.  It wants all contract workers to become fully in-sourced by AMSA and to receive the same salaries and benefits as other permanent workers.  "We are told that the contractors are service providers and not labour brokers," Numsa's Hlanganani regional secretary Jerry Morulane remarked.  Numsa also said AMSA should immediately reinstate the union's shop steward whom it said was dismissed in 2016 for objecting when management failed to adhere to health and safety rules.  "We are demanding that the UK ambassador engage with the management of AMSA on these demands over the next seven days," Morulane indicated.

Read the full original of the report on this story at Engineering News


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Musicians’ union vows to continue fight against Copyright Amendment Bill

EWN reports that the Trade Union for Musicians of SA (Tumsa) says it won't give up its fight for the rights of musicians and other creatives in the industry.  A group of 100 musicians and composers staged a protest in Cape Town on Tuesday to express their discontent about certain sections of the Copyright Amendment Bill.  Tumsa's Gabi le Roux claimed that the bill was unconstitutional in its current form and said:  "We're fighting the broad description of 'fair use'.  Anybody can just say 'look, I'm going to infringe this copyright, and I'm just going to say it was fair use'.  A poor musician has to go fight that in court."  Le Roux claimed that, apart from threatening musicians' rights, the bill did not regulate or address "the need for us to look at local content".

Read the short original of the report in the above regard ay Lizell Persens at EWN


UNION NEWS / STRUCTURES

Samwu confirms it's struggling to pay its staff salaries

TimesLIVE reports that the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) has confirmed that it is insolvent and has been struggling to pay staff salaries since August last year.  Newly elected Samwu general secretary Koena Ramatlou said on Wednesday that the new leadership elected at the union's central executive committee meeting last week had been mandated to deal with issues affecting the union.  These included sorting out the union's financial woes, ensuring that provincial allocations were paid on time to enable provinces to service their members, and also ensuring that staff benefits were updated and paid on time and in full.  Ramatlou said the union had been battling to pay staff their salaries since August last year and commented:  "The new leadership has been mandated to find out what caused the union to not be able to pay staff salaries and to look into how we can turn the situation around."  He also said the union would meet with the department of labour's registrar this week in an effort to stop a court application to place the union under administration.  In February, it was reported that the City of Johannesburg had cut power to Samwu's headquarters for nonpayment of outstanding bills.  At the time the union reportedly owed about R1.2m for electricity, water, sewerage, rates and refuse removal.

Read the full original of Nomahlubi Jordaan’s report on this story at TimesLIVE


LABOUR AND POLITICS

Decriminalising sex work should be on the general election agenda, says activist

Kholi Buthelezi, national co-ordinator of the Sisonke National Sex Workers Movement in SA, writes that for decades her sisters and brothers in the sex industry have been battling to get their rights recognised and make the decriminalisation of sex work a reality.  So, as SA approaches the general election in May, Sisonke wants to see politicians engage on this issue.  Buthelezi writes that leaders in the past have made brave decisions that might offend the “morality” of some but protect the vulnerable and marginalised.  Abortion is no longer criminalised and nor are same-sex relationships.  “It is high time we end abuse and pain for sex workers too.  Decriminalising sex work should be on the election agenda.  Our politicians have promised changes but have not followed through,” Buthelezi writes.  She points out that for many years she and her colleagues, together with other human rights activists, have documented abuses against sex workers.  “Almost every sex worker, whether on the streets or in brothels, has a story of being attacked, robbed or raped by men pretending to be clients.  But because sex work is criminalised in SA, sex workers can’t report these abuses to the police, nor can they unite to invest in and create a safe place to work.”  Referring to the coming general elections Buthelezi writes:  “We want to see leaders emerge who come and talk with us, to hear and see for themselves.”  

Read Kholi Buthelezi’s full opinion piece on this issue at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Cosatu Gauteng condemns the indifferent and big-headed Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, at Cosatu News (press statement)


JOB CREATION

Multi-billion rand investment by Nissan means 1,200 new full-time jobs

Fin24 reports that according to Nissan, a multi-billion rand investment in its SA plant for the production of the latest version of the Navara pickup will result in the creation of about 1,200 full time jobs.  Nissan announced the R3bn investment on Wednesday at an event that was also attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa.  Speaking at the ceremony, Ramaphosa described the investment as a significant milestone in the country’s investment drive and an "expression of confidence in the South African economy".  The investment comes on the back of an Investment Summit late in 2018, where various businesses made investment commitments amounting to R290bn over the next five years.  Of the pledges, some R40bn came from the automotive sector.  The Presidency said in a statement that it believed that of the pledges made, projects amounting to at least R187bn were already in implementation phase, while those amounting to about R26bn were in the pre-implementation phase.

Read the full original of Sibongile Khumalo’s report on this story at Fin24


FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (4IR)

Ramaphosa to chair fourth industrial revolution commission

BusinessLive reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed members of a Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to recommend policies, strategies and plans to position SA as a competitive player in the digital space.  Several studies have shown that the 4IR — which involves a fusion of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated machines — has the potential to disrupt every industry.  A recent study by consultancy Accenture found that close to 6-million jobs in SA would be at risk over the next seven years due to automation.  The study highlighted that both blue- and white-collar jobs were at risk, including clerks, cashiers, bank tellers, construction workers, mining and maintenance staff.  Ramaphosa will chair the 30-member commission, the presidency announced in a statement issued on Tuesday.  The deputy chair will be Wits University professor Tshilidzi Marwala, whose expertise spans the theory and application of AI to engineering, computer science, finance, social science and medicine.  Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who is the co-ordinator of the government’s 4IR programme, is due to convene an induction session with the appointed commissioners, after which the commission will have its inaugural meeting with the president.

Read the full original of the report by Bekezela Phakathi on the above at BusinessLive. Read the Presidency’s press statement on this matter at SA Govt News


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Military union gives SANDF deadline to reinstate 'AWOL' students in Cuba

TimesLIVE reports that the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) on Tuesday offered a different version to that of military top brass as to why 35 soldiers studying medicine in Cuba could not continue with their studies abroad.  The defence force earlier this month announced that it had suspended 35 soldiers after they went AWOL (absent without leave) in Cuba for more than a month while studying in the Caribbean nation.  However, Sandu’s Pickle Greeff said that media reports claiming that the students, who are represented by the union, returned to SA because they went on a mutiny were untrue.  The union has demanded that the SANDF should reinstate the students by Wednesday, failing which it would face legal action.  Greeff said the students were contracted by the SANDF to join as soldiers and to study for medical degrees to become doctors.  For that purpose, they were posted to Cuba, but after studying at the university in Cuba and finishing a semester, they were then moved to a different institution.  Greeff said the students started asking questions because they were not registered as medical students and the institution in Cuba where they were studying was not accredited.  He said the students were told that if they were not satisfied with the situation, they could get on a plane back to SA and be regarded as dismissed.  “In the end, it simply boils down to requiring someone to study medicine in circumstances that are clearly unlawful and in breach of their employment contracts," Greeff pointed out.

Read the full original of Ernest Mabuza’s report on the above at TimesLIVE

Bheki Cele’s axing as police commissioner seven years ago declared invalid by High Court

BusinessLive reports that the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday set aside the decision in June 2012 by former president Jacob Zuma to fire Bheki Cele as national police commissioner on allegations of corruption.  Zuma fired Cele after a board of inquiry found that he was not fit to hold office.  The inquiry had been mandated by the former president to establish whether Cele had acted corruptly, dishonestly, or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two police lease deals he signed.  Cele approached the court to challenge the board’s findings and Zuma’s decision to axe him.  In 2014, Cele was appointed deputy agriculture minister and in 2018 after the resignation of Zuma as state president, Cyril Ramaphosa appointed him as police minister.  After his appointment as police minister, Cele amended his court papers to indicate that if he won the matter he would not want to return to the position of national commissioner because it was all about clearing his name.  Cele’s office on Tuesday said the court found in his favour and set aside Zuma’s decision with costs.  Cele felt "vindicated" by the judgment, his spokesperson indicated.

Read the full original of Genevieve Quintal’s report on the ruling at BusinessLive. Read too, Court sets aside 2012 decision to fire Bheki Cele as police commissioner, at News24

One of four Transnet executives suspended in March resigns

Fin24 reports that Transnet has announced that its chief executive for Freight Rail, Ravi Nair, has resigned following his suspension in March.  Nair was one of four executive committee members who were suspended with immediate effect at the time.  The other executives also suspended were group human resources officer Nonkululeko Sishi; group chief operating officer Mlamuli Buthelezi; and chief executive of the Transnet National Port Authority Shulami Qalinge.  At the time Transnet said it was of the view that the executives' continued presence at the workplace had the potential to jeopardise investigations into their alleged misconduct.

Read the original of the report on the above at Fin24


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Hawks close down Limpopo vehicle testing station, arrest seven officials

News24 reports that a sting operation by the Hawks' Serious Corruption Investigation unit, in collaboration with Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) and Special Investigating Unit, culminated in the closing down of a private vehicle testing station in Lephalale on Monday.  Seven officials were arrested.  Provincial Hawks spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke said five vehicle examiners and two clerks aged between 26 and 57 allegedly used the identity particulars of unsuspecting victims to issue roadworthy certificates for vehicles that were never brought to the testing station for compulsory tests.  Last week, four people at a vehicle testing station in Musina, Limpopo were arrested for fraud and corruption.  In a similar operation last month, four people – also from Musina – were nabbed at the Thusalushaka Testing Station.

Read the full original of Riaan Grobler’s report on this matter at News24. Read the RTMC’s press statement on the above at SA Govt News


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT TO AND FROM WORK

Ramaphosa vows to improve failing rail commuter service

ANA reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has committed himself to improving the rail transportation sector which has been criticised in recent years for poor and inefficient service.  Ramaphosa, who visited Cape Town central train station on Tuesday morning, said:  "I went onto a train in Soshanguve hoping to be in Pretoria in about 30 minutes.  It took us three full hours to get to Pretoria.  Firstly the train arrived late and it was overcrowded and the people who were being transported were frustrated, but they also told me that, president, this is our daily experience."  He was in Cape Town for the launch of new Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) trains manufactured in Gauteng at the Gibela factory.  He stated:  "I promised that we are going to make sure that our trains run on time, which I have discussed with the minister, with the chairperson of the board and with the management and that is something that is soon going to be the experience of the past, because we are going to improve rail transportation, we are going to make sure that our trains arrive on time and they are not crowded, but more importantly that they are safe.”

Read the original of this report at Engineering News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Ramaphosa 'happy' after two new Prasa trains unveiled at Cape Town station, at News24
  • #UniteBehind activists crash Ramaphosa’s train launch, at GroundUp
  • UNTU: President Ramaphosa undertakes to consider union’s demands about Prasa, at SA Labour News (press statement)


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • SA’s intellectual property (IP) regime must evolve to adapt to Fourth Industrial Revolution, at Engineering News
  • Cosatu welcomes the new Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shamila Batohi’s decision to strengthen the NPA, at Cosatu News (press statement)
  • SAOU: Using generalisations to cover greater problems is not just, union says with reference to DBE’s 2017-18 School Monitoring Survey, at SA Labour News (press statement)

 


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