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, 13 May 2019.


Concerns about GEPF’s long-term funding “creating a lot of anxiety” for members and pensioners

The Sunday Times Business Times writes that concerns about the funding and governance of state pensions continue to plague the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), leaving members and pensioners anxious.  Last week, Adamus Stemmet, spokesperson for the Association of Monitoring and Advocacy of Government Pensions (AmaGP), said conflicting statements from the GEPF about the certainty of long-term funding were "creating a lot of anxiety".  In April, the GEPF assured pensioners of the fund's stability - but this month it acknowledged the possibility that the pensioners might lose their increases.  The long-term funding shortfall is an estimated R583bn, meaning the fund level would be at 75.5%.  Trustees aim to maintain the long-term funding level at or above 100%, which is the current status of the fund.  The AmaGP was in discussions with the public protector about how civil servants' pension monies were invested, said Stemmet.  Abel Sithole, the GEPF's principal executive officer, said despite a decline in long-term funding levels, the fund was not in danger of a depletion of its assets.  "We are nowhere close to that."  He said a high number of resignations, a drop in investment returns for the first time in four years, and pension increases were among the factors affecting funding levels.  Sithole indicated that the GEPF was considering options to improve the projected funding shortfall.  These included paying below-inflation pension increases, which the GEPF trustees were reluctant to do.  Another option was for the government and unions to agree to lower wage settlements, or to ask the government to contribute more than 14.4%.

Read more of this Business Times report by Asha Speckman at SA Labour News


Truck driver killed by rock 'attack' while driving on N1 near De Doorns

TimesLIVE reports that a truck driver was killed on the N1 near De Doorns in the Western Cape when a rock was allegedly thrown through his windshield on Sunday morning.  “The Time Link driver who sadly passed away in the early hours of [Sunday] morning - our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.  A life taken too soon.  A life taken at its peak,” the SA Long-Distance Truckers wrote on their Facebook page.  According to social media reports, the incident happened at around 5am.  The truck crashed and was allegedly looted.  In a video of the incident circulating on social media, another person was seen resting on a bunk bed in the truck when the rock hit the steering wheel.  It is not known what happened to the second person.

Read a short report by Nico Gous on this story at TimesLIVE

Joburg fire stations get R16.4m revamp following deaths of three firefighters last year

The Star reports that the City of Johannesburg has set aside millions to refurbish under-resourced fire stations across the metro, but according to the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu), this would not be enough if the stations were not maintained regularly.  The city last week announced it had started refurbishments to various fire stations, including Brixton, Berea and Dube, at a cost of R16.4-million.  The refurbishments are expected to be completed at the end of the month, while they have already been completed at Lonehill and Eldorado Park.  They come after the tragic deaths of three firefighters in a fire at the Bank of Lisbon building in the CBD last year.  After the incident, firefighters complained about under-resourced fire stations and inadequate equipment.  Member of the mayoral committee for public safety Michael Sun said:  "Refurbishing these buildings ensures that firefighters operate within a safe and functional environment which supports their ability to provide the services of fire prevention and fire suppression.”  Samwu Joburg secretary Bafana Zungu welcomed and supported the refurbishments, but said the union still wanted the city to be held accountable for the three deaths.

Read the full original of Kgomotso Lebelo’s report in the above regard at The Star


Eight Amcu members in court for murder on Monday

SABC News reports that the murder and attempted murder trial of eight Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leaders was scheduled to be heard in the Pretoria High Court on Monday.  The men face charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.  The accused are alleged to have shot and wounded the union’s newly elected chairperson at a Marikana branch, Malibongwe Mdazo, in 2017.  Mdazo was accosted while leaving a soccer stadium in Mooinooi, near Rustenburg and was shot multiple times.  Later in the day, Mveliso Biyela, who had been walking home with his wife and son in Wonderkop near Marikana, was also shot multiple times and died on the scene.  It is the state’s allegation that the same weapon used to kill Biyela was used to shoot Mdazo.  The accused were allegedly frustrated because concerns that they wanted to raise with the union were not being addressed to their satisfaction.

Read the original of the above report at SABC News

Bidding process for Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines opens

Mining Weekly reports that the business rescue practitioners (BRPs) for the Optimum coal mine and the Koornfontein mines have put the assets back up for sale.  The BRPs, along with major creditors, have set the closing date for the structured sales process at 18 June.  GoIndustry Dovebid and Park Village Auctions have been appointed to facilitate the sales process, which includes the coal mine assets along with the allocations at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT).  Optimum’s assets include an opencast strip and underground sections, eight draglines, two processing plants, a railway siding, a rapid load-out facility and a 15-million-litre-a-day water reclamation plant.  Optimum’s Coal Terminal, a shareholder within the RBCT, includes a 6.5-million-ton-a-year coal export entitlement.  The Koornfontein mines, also a shareholder within the RBCT, includes a 1.5-million-ton-a-year coal export entitlement.  Its sale will include the underground operations, three processing plants, two railway sidings and a rapid load-out facility.  The mines went into business rescue in February 2018 following sudden disinvestment by the controversial Gupta family.

Read the full original of the report on the above at Mining Weekly

Race for AngloGold assets may pit Sibanye against rival Harmony

Bloomberg writes that Sibanye Gold faces competition from two rivals if it wants to buy the South African gold mining assets that AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) plans to sell.  Sibanye, headed by prolific mining deal-maker Neal Froneman, would apparently be interested in purchasing AGA’s remaining mine in the country.  But, he would likely face a challenge from other producers, notably Harmony Gold and Chinese-backed Heaven-Sent SA Sunshine Investment, according to Bernard Swanepoel, a former chief of Harmony.  “There should be three interested parties: Harmony, Sibanye and Heaven-Sent.  I really can’t see any outsiders participating,” Swanepoel said.  Sibanye would “certainly engage” AngloGold on the sale, but any deal depended on timing, Froneman observed.  Mponeng was adjacent to Sibanye’s Driefontein operation, and synergies would make a lot of sense, Froneman noted.  Harmony, which completed the purchase of AGA’s Moab Khotsong mine last year, looked at opportunities that added value and was seeking clarity on how AGA intended to handle the sale process, spokeswoman Lauren Fourie said.  AGA would be open-minded when considering offers for Mponeng, but would likely favor a buyer with good finances and experience with deep-level mines, CEO Kelvin Dushnisky indicated.

Read the full original of the report on the above at Mining Weekly

Ex-Anglo CEO Cynthia Carroll says ‘conservative’ miners must push for gender diversity

Bloomberg reports that according to Cynthia Carroll, former chief executive officer of Anglo American, mining is not only for men and needs to change with companies doing more to push gender diversity.  “Companies should require, not ask that executives promote, recruit and include women,” Carroll said in an interview.  Heading the miner from 2007 to 2013, Carroll was Anglo American’s first female chief executive, and now sits on the boards of several companies, including Hitachi.  Mining remains male-dominated.  In a survey of 30 companies, the Responsible Mining Foundation found “little or no evidence of efforts” to strengthen the gender balance of leadership and governance teams.  Women also accounted for less than 5% of senior management at trading houses, Bloomberg has reported.  “It’s a very, very conservative industry and it needs to change,” said Carroll.  “They have got to be casting their net more broadly, and they’ve got to be looking at women.”

Read the original of the report by Krystal Chia at Moneyweb

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • SSC says Vantage ‘misses’ court filing deadline in Lily, Barbrook sales dispute, at Mining Weekly


EFF throws shade at SRWP by claiming to be the ‘only genuine socialist party’

The Citizen reports that a Twitter account representing the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Gauteng sent out a tweet thanking members of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) for voting for them in Wednesday’s national polls.  This was likely a dig at the newly formed Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) and its chairperson Irvin Jim, who is also the general secretary of Numsa.  The SRWP had a dire showing at the polls, earning just 24,439 votes, which was not nearly enough for a single seat in parliament.  That was a particularly sobering result since Numsa has 370,000 members, less than 7% of whom supported a party formed by its leader.  The party has since released a statement indicating that it has no plans of gracefully accepting defeat.  The statement describes the SA electoral process as flawed and says their experience contesting elections shows that the “bourgeois electoral system is not the solution to our problems”.  It gives examples of “evidence of faults and fraud” at the hands of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and concludes that it would be “impossible” for the party “to scientifically accept the accuracy of the results of these elections”.  “We are convinced history will prove us right,” the statement reads.

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


Call for income transparency in recruitment ads as a means to close the wage gap

Moneyweb reports that a growing number of countries have implemented legislation that forces companies to be transparent about how much they pay their employees – the aim being to expose and eliminate salary disparities between different race and gender groups.  The World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Gender Report ranked SA 117th out of 149 countries when it came to equal pay for equal work, while ILO’s 2018/2019 Global Wage Report named SA amongst the countries with the highest levels of gender wage inequality among the 64 countries considered.  It is this inequality that PayslipBanSA is seeking to tackle through a campaign.  The advocacy body ultimately aims to legally challenge the lack of remuneration transparency and the demand for payslips and pay history during recruitment as constitutionally unfair and anti-competitive.  According to founder Leonie Hall, “No transparency means problems.”  She added that if an employer has more information than an applicant, it has more power, which allows it to create an opportunity to prevent job seekers from fairly negotiating pay.  “If they were upfront, they would not need to ask for your payslip,” she opined.  According to Hall, recruiters don’t have context around an employee’s previous salary, which could include being underpaid in a previous position.  There is no law that requires job seekers to disclose their payslip or permits employers to request them.  

Read the full original of Tebogo Tshwane’s report on the above topic at Moneyweb


KZN rail services mostly back on track on Monday after Durban floods

Daily News reports that according to the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), most of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) railway corridors would resume operations on Monday.  However, the corridor along the south coast would not operate because of damage to infrastructure between eManzimtoti and Phahla, as well as towards Kelso and Doonside.  Consequently, trains along the south coast would only run between Durban and Umbogintwini.  Normal services would resume in Cato Ridge, but there would be delays due to only a single line working.  Trains between KwaMashu and uMlazi would work, but there would be delays due to speed restrictions.  However, trains would operate hourly in Crossmoor, based on a revised timetable.  Railway routes were suspended after last month’s heavy rains resulted in trees falling and mudslides on rail networks.  Monthly and week 17 ticket holders would be allowed to travel for free from Monday until 18 May.

Read the full original of Thobeka Ngema’s report on the resumption of services at Daily News

Prasa makes progress in Cape Town rail crime crackdown

EWN reports that in a continued effort to clamp down on the crime crippling Cape Town’s rail network, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA’s (Prasa’s) rail enforcement unit has recorded further successes.  More than 20 court cases are before the courts, where suspects have been arrested for an array of rail-related offences.  In one case, a convicted cable thief was handed a 12-year sentence, suspended for six years, after he pleaded guilty to the crime.  Metrorail’s Riana Scott commented:  “Admission of guilt has become a norm, and this is due to the solid evidence that our team presents in court.  Prasa teams also continue to enforce the Law of Succession Amendment Act.  Accordingly, 29 vagrants and their illegal structures were removed from Prasa property and 32 warnings issued.”

Read a short report by Lauren Isaacs on this story at EWN


On duty Cape Town cop shoots man before committing suicide

ANA reports that a South African Police Service (SAPS) constable fatally wounded a man before turning his service pistol on himself in Khayelitsha in Cape Town on Saturday.  Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana indicated that Khayelitsha detectives were investigating a case of murder and had also opened an inquest docket after a shooting incident at about 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon in Site B, Khayelitsha.  "According to information, a 27-year -old police constable stationed at Philippi East crime prevention was on duty at the time; he allegedly shot and fatally wounded a 23-year-old man before shooting himself with his service pistol.  [The] circumstances surrounding this incident are under investigation," Rwexana indicated.

This short report is at Independent News


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page