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 roundup of weekend news, see
summaries of our selection of South African
labour-related stories that appeared since
Thursday, 8 August 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Cape Town's gun violence is making health workers ill‚ authorities warn

TimesLIVE reports that according to the head of trauma at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, high levels of violence and the severity of some of the injuries they deal with are driving health workers to their sick beds.  Prof Andrew Nicol told a media briefing on Thursday that many emergency workers were being booked off with burnout and post-traumatic stress disorder.  "The numbers (of gunshot injuries) have increased but the complexity has changed.  The heart-wrenching cases that we have to endure on a daily basis is something to behold.  It does cause damage‚ especially to our young doctors who are exposed to this massive level of violence and who work on weekends often with intoxicated patients.  It’s taking a toll on them," said Nicol.  The head of health in the Western Cape‚ Dr Beth Engelbrecht‚ noted that ambulance staff were particularly badly affected by post-traumatic stress disorder due to the violence aimed at them.  Over the last three years‚ at least 100 EMS staff have taken time off due to post-traumatic stress disorder‚ and the number was probably higher because staff did not always disclose the reason for their sick leave.  "The impact of violence on staff who have to manage complex trauma‚ see and experience violence day in and day out and face a never-ending wave of illness‚ pain and injury‚ is massive‚" Engelbrecht observed.

Read the full original of the above report by Sipokazi Fokazi at BusinessLive

Second truck petrol-bombed in Cape Town in less than a week

News24 reports that a truck assistant suffered burn wounds to his face and hands after a bread truck was petrol-bombed near Strand on Saturday.  Three unknown men approached the truck while it was waiting for the traffic lights to turn green, threw the petrol bomb and then ran away.  A team of 12 firefighters responded in two fire engines and a rescue vehicle at 13:30 to the burning truck on the corners of the N2 and Onverwacht Street in Lwandle.  They treated the man for his burn wounds and he was then transported to a nearby hospital.  This was the second incident of a truck being petrol-bombed in the area in less than a week.  On Wednesday, a truck driver broke his collarbone after fleeing from a truck that was petrol-bombed.  A video shows two truck drivers sitting inside a stationary truck when the petrol bomb was thrown.  Both men fled from the truck, which was at a red light on Broadlands Road in Somerset West.  Western Cape trucks have increasingly become the targets of suspected criminal activity this year.

Read the full original of the above report by Tammy Petersen and Ntwaagae Seleka at News24. Read too, Driver flees as delivery truck is petrol bombed at traffic light in Cape Town, at News24

Press Council concerned about threats against journalists

News24 reports that the Press Council of SA is concerned about threats levelled at journalists and has urged members of the public to rather use the appropriate platform to resolve disputes.  "Threats of violence through social media are intended to undermine media freedom and aggrieved members of the public and politicians should use existing channels to lodge complaints," the council noted at its annual general meeting on Wednesday.  The council's executive director, Latiefa Mobara, urged members of the public to use its processes to resolve disputes with the media.  The council heard 533 complaints that had been received in 2018, up from 499 in the previous year.  The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) recently faced off with the EFF in the Equality Court, seeking to interdict the political party from intimidating, harassing and assaulting journalists.

Read the full original of the above report by Canny Maphanga at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Over 120 new EMS vehicles distributed across the Eastern Cape, at EWN
  • Zwartkop air force hangar catches fire on Saturday, no injuries reported, at EWN
  • Parliamentary Committee on Employment and Labour welcomes health campaign for workers, at Parliamentary News (press statement)


MINING LABOUR

Impala Platinum confirms fatality at Rustenburg shaft in underground locomotive accident

Mining Weekly reports that a worker died in a locomotive accident at the Rustenburg 1 Shaft of Impala Platinum (Implats) this week.  Implats on Thursday said that apparently Nelso Thipe’s locomotive was travelling from the underground shaft tipping area towards the workings to collect another load of ore when another fully loaded locomotive en route to the tipping area failed to stop – against standard safety protocol – at the demarcated place, before entering the tipping area.  This locomotive then collided with the rail carriage on which Thipe was sitting, fatally injuring him in the collision.  The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) noted in a separate statement that four people had lost their lives at Implats’ operations this year, while this had apparently been the third locomotive accident in as many months at the shaft in question.  But, Implats pointed out that, while there had been a regression in safety performance recently at the operation, the regression followed an extended period of an unprecedented improvement in safety performance.

Read the full original of the above report at Mining Weekly

AngloGold Ashanti sets safety record

Mining Weekly reports that AngloGold Ashanti set a new safety record, the Johannesburg- and New York-listed gold producer advised on Thursday.  The company achieved four consecutive quarters and a total of 449 days without a fatality, a first in the history of AngloGold, which operates Mponeng, the world's deepest mine.  "Mponeng has operated very well from a safety perspective and is improving," CEO Kelvin Dushnisky indicated.  The second-quarter all injury frequency rate of 3.07 injuries per million hours worked was a 27% improvement on the first quarter.  Meantime, AngloGold is streamlining its portfolio to ensure greater management focus and to concentrate its capital on projects delivering the highest returns.  The company has received strong interest for its remaining South African assets.  Separate sale processes are underway for its holdings in the Cerro Vanguardia mine in Argentina and the Sadiola mine in Mali.

Read the full original of the above report at Mining Weekly

Sibanye-Stillwater took huge hit from Amcu’s five-month gold strike

BusinessLive reports that Sibanye-Stillwater is putting a difficult start to the year behind it as it sees its strike-hit gold operations return to normal production.  The producer reported last week that its first-half gold production fell to 262,904oz because of a five-month wage strike called by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) towards the end of November 2018.  Sibanye sat out the Amcu strike, leaving the union's 14,000 members with virtually nothing to show for five months without a salary.  It has taken until August for the Kloof, Driefontein and Beatrix gold mines to return to normalised gold production, about four months after the strike was called off in April.  “The build … up of the SA gold division has been slower than we forecast with the 46% quarter-on-quarter increase in production still taking volumes to a level well below our forecast,” noted analyst James Bell.  “The planned claw back of production from first quarter 2019 remains on track, with a significant improvement in production and costs forecast for second half 2019,” Sibanye said.  The producer heads into wage talks with Amcu for its SA platinum division in coming weeks.  It has already said the demands Amcu has publicised, including a demand for basic wages to increase about 46% to R17,000 a month, cannot be met.

Read the full original of the above report by Allan Seccombe at BusinessLive. Read too, Sibanye expects further improvements after better second quarter, at Mining Weekly


GENDER EQUALITY

Women remain under-represented at executive level in SA firms

ANA reports that despite research confirming the positive correlation between the presence of women in corporate leadership and company performance, they remain grossly underrepresented at the executive level in SA firms.  This was indicated on the eve of Women's Day by Beverley Hancock of human resources company Sirdar, who reported that 31% of SA companies did not have any female representation in senior leadership roles.  "There is an increasing awareness of the power of a gender diverse team.  We have seen a marked increase in opportunities for women in non-executive director roles but there remains a long way to go as women remain under-represented at executive level.  Certainly not all company and board cultures are proactive in their approach to driving gender diversity and in understanding the benefits and value from having a diverse team or board," Hancock noted.  Hancock's comments came a day after a report by professional services company PwC similarly urged corporate SA to pay more attention to increasing the number of women at leadership level, with global focus on gender equality and awareness around the gender pay gap gaining momentum.

Read the full original of the above report at Business Report. Read too, Push for gender parity in corporate leadership, at Business Report

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Want to tackle GDP growth, unemployment? Close the gender gap, research shows, at Fin24
  • The fourth industrial revolution risks leaving women behind, at The Conversation
  • Cosatu Women’s Day 2019 statement, at Cosatu News (press statement)
  • Fedusa calls on government to ratify ILO Convention 190 and domesticate Convention 100 in honour of Women’s Month, at SA Labour News (press statement)


WORKPLACE DRESS CODES

Muslim army major at centre of hijab case granted interim relief

TimesLIVE reports that a Muslim major in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), who has refused to remove the headscarf (hijab) she wears under her beret, may have won her battle against the prohibition.  The SANDF on Wednesday announced that it was considering allowing women serving in the army to wear headscarves as part of the military dress code.  Meanwhile, the SANDF and the Military Command Council (MCC) have agreed to grant interim relief while they revisit the dress code policy.  SANDF head of communications, Siphiwe Dlamini, said the move came after engagements between the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) and the chaplaincy of the SANDF.  Major Fatima Isaacs appeared in a private court session on Wednesday over the matter.  The case was postponed, Dlamini reported.  He said the interim measure to grant relief had been welcomed by the MCC and an instruction to effect that ratification was being developed.  Separately, the chairperson of parliament's portfolio committee on defence and military veterans, Cyril Xaba, called on the SANDF to find an amicable solution.

Read the full original of the above report by Nonkululeko Njilo at TimesLIVE


RECRUITMENT / APPOINTMENTS

New Massmart CEO on his way after getting work visa at last

Business Times reports that newly appointed Massmart CEO Mitchell Slape has at last received his work visa for SA and will soon take up his new position.  It was announced in May that Slape would take over as CEO as soon as he obtained his visa.  Asked last week about the reason for the delay in Slape's arrival, the retailer’s Brian Leroni said the application process required that the applicant obtain police clearance from countries they have lived in.  In Slape's case, this included applying for clearances from numerous countries, including India, Japan, Mexico, China, Argentina and the US.  "The work permit application is only submitted when these clearances are available.  In this context we do not have the view that the work permit process has been unduly lengthy," Leroni observed.  On Thursday, Massmart confirmed the visa had been issued, though it did not say when Slape would be in SA.  Guy Hayward, who is still CEO, has been overseeing operations pending Slape's arrival.  In Massmart's latest trading update, a number of resignations of senior managers at Massdiscounters and Masscash, the group's worst performers, were advised.  "It appears like more of a clean-out than actual resignations.  Whether that's from the new CEO before he formally starts work is yet to be seen…” analyst Damon Buss said.

Read the full original of the above report by Adele Shevel at BusinessLive (paywall access only)


RETIREMENT FUNDS

ConCourt confirms that Brian Molefe must pay back R10m of his golden handshake from Eskom pension fund

Business Report writes that former Eskom boss Brian Molefe will have to pay back the power utility R10 million of a R30m golden handshake he received when he resigned from the state-owned company after his last-ditch attempt to keep the money was dealt a fatal blow by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt).  As the ConCourt is the apex court in the land, Molefe will have to comply with the order.  Trade union Solidarity, which opposed Molefe’s numerous appeals, last week said it would immediately institute action to collect the cost order and to ensure the R10m Molefe received from the Eskom Pension Fund was paid back without delay.  Solidarity chief operating officer Dirk Hermann reacted to the news:  “We are delighted with the ruling.  One can only hide in the courts up to a certain point, but the law always prevails.  It is sad that the courts have to take over the role of a person’s conscience.  Solidarity knows its way about the courts and Brian Molefe underestimated us.  We will not let injustice happen.”  Molefe has also been ordered to pay the lion’s share of Solidarity’s legal fees.  Hermann added that the ConCourt ruling opened the door for the union to pursue criminal proceedings against Molefe.  Wayne Duvenage of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) also commented:  “We always maintained that he (Molefe) did not qualify for such an exuberant amount in the short time he spent as Eskom’s employee.”

Read the full original of the above report by Kabelo Khumalo at Business Report. Read Solidarity’s press statement in the above regard at SA Labour News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • DA: Victory in case to force Brian Molefe to repay “golden handshake” millions, at DA News (press statement)


DISMISSALS

Old Mutual signals willingness to talk to axed CEO about a settlement

BL Premium reports that insurer Old Mutual’s board struck a conciliatory tone on Wednesday, saying the nasty fight between it and axed CEO Peter Moyo had dragged on for too long and it was perhaps time for the two parties to negotiate a settlement.  The boardroom brawl, which started in May when Old Mutual suspended Moyo and later fired him over an alleged conflict of interest, has weighed on the insurer’s share price and is threatening to tarnish its reputation after a court ruled that Moyo must be reinstated as his dismissal was unlawful.  "If there is any prospect that the matter could be settled, so that employees could continue to focus on the operation and the board’s attention can move away from this matter, we would welcome it.  But at this moment it looks like the parties are far apart. Obviously if an opportunity avails itself, we would do that," board member Pinky Moholi indicated.  Old Mutual is appealing the court ruling that also blocks it from taking steps to search for a new CEO.  It is also seeking legal clarity on whether Moyo should return to work despite its appeal.  Moyo’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, said that if Old Mutual was willing to find common ground, it would have to propose that to Moyo and not talk about it to third parties.  Moyo’s other legal challenge is to have Old Mutual board members, whom he accused of bending to chair Trevor Manuel’s will, branded as delinquent directors

Read the full original of the above report by Londiwe Buthelezi at BusinessLive (paywall access only)


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Will Transport Minister’s war room be able to fix Prasa’s core problems?

City Press reports that Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has launched a war room to sort out the problems at the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).  The war room will be used as a tool to track the progress of the plan to improve the country’s railways.  At the core of this turnaround strategy will be a process to modernise infrastructure and technology that is long outdated.  However, Steve Harris, general secretary of the United National Transport Union (Untu), said the war room will only succeed if the fundamental problems around passenger train services are resolved.  These, he indicated, included cable theft, a shortage of spare parts to fix Prasa’s broken trains and the inability of control rooms to communicate with passengers in the event of a delay.  But according to Mbalula, the war room, which will start functioning on Monday under the control of director-general Alec Moemi, will be a game changer.  It will track service recovery, safety management and the modernisation programme, as well as organisational and operation progress within the first 100 days.  “The war room is a physical space that will enable those deployed to it to make rapid decisions based on the information they gather from the operations on the ground, on an hour-by-hour basis,” Mbalula said.  He has until 31 December to show an improvement.  The announcement comes after a dramatic increase in train accidents and an appalling service which has frustrated passengers so much that they have sometimes set fire to trains.

Read the full original of the above report by Antoinette Slabbert at City Press

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • GCIS: Ministerial War Room on Prasa service is a game changer for passenger rail, at Polity (press statement)
  • Arson suspected after fire destroys train coach, carriage in Somerset West, at News24


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • DA’s Solly Msimanga says professionalising SAPS only way to root out corruption, at Politicsweb
  • Seifsa says slowdown in manufacturing output for June 2019 is concerning, at Seifsa News (press statement)
  • Cosatu welcomes decision of Minister for Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries to postpone the allocation of fishing quotas across the twelve commercial sectors, at Polity (press statement)

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page