news shutterstockIn our roundup of weekend news, see
summaries of our selection of South African
labour-related stories that appeared since
Friday, 16 August 2019.


TOP STORY – MARIKANA COMMEMORATION

Seven years since Marikana massacre and still no justice, says Socio-Economic Rights Institute

News24 reports that Friday marked seven years since 34 mineworkers were shot dead in a burst of police gunfire during a protest at the then Lonmin Platinum's Marikana operations, but families have yet to see justice.  The mass shootings were at two sites around a koppie where workers had gathered during a strike, demanding a minimum salary of R12,500 a month.  Ten people, including security guards and police officers, were killed in the days preceding the massacre.  The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) pointed out:  "Only eight police officers, including Major General William Mpembe, in his capacity as former North West deputy police commissioner, have been charged for crimes related to the massacre.  The eight have been charged for the deaths of three striking mineworkers and two police officers who were killed on 13 August 2012 and for failing to disclose a death in police custody and for lying to the Farlam Commission.  Despite having dockets since 2017, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has failed to prosecute anyone for the deaths on 16 August 2012."  The Marikana massacre came during the rise of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).  The union wants 16 August to be declared a public holiday in honour of workers, instead of the international workers day of 1 May that SA country marks.  Lonmin has since been acquired by Sibanye-Stillwater.

Read the full original of the above report by Jenni Evans at News24

Marikana commission can't be blamed for lack of prosecutions and ‘deafening silence’, says Judge Ian Farlam

News24 reports that Marikana Commission of Inquiry chairperson Judge Ian Farlam is of the view that the commission cannot be blamed for the lack of prosecutions following the shootings that saw 34 people killed by police on 16 August 2012.  He told 702 on Friday morning:  "A panel was appointed to gather evidence for prosecution.  State Advocate [JP] Pretorius was appointed to chair it, but I don’t know what has happened since.  There has been a deafening silence.  I don’t think that we can be blamed for the fact that there were no prosecutions.  If our recommendations were implemented, I have no doubt that there would have been prosecutions."  The commission, headed by the retired judge, investigated the killings which occurred during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana.  The recommendations included that the National Prosecuting Authority investigate several of the killings and whether police exceeded the bounds of self and private defence in shooting the strikers.  According to Gareth Newham of the Institute for Security Studies (Seri), a panel of experts presented a report to the Minister of Police in April last year, with recommendations on police reform, following recommendations made by the Farlam Commission, but to date nothing has happened with that report.  He added that, while a number of police officers had been criminally charged for the death of a striking mineworker, who died on 13 August, there had been no accountability for the officers who oversaw the massacre or who killed the striking miners.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Marikana wounds run deep, at City Press
  • Wonderkop koppie community has no support, at City Press
  • ‘What about our loss?’, ask relatives of those killed in lead-up to Marikana massacre, at City Press
  • ANC is a government for white monopoly capital, not for the people, Amcu’s Mathunjwa tells commemoration event, at News24
  • Mixed feelings about Marikana today, at SowetanLive
  • Ramaphosa's tweet commemorating Marikana 'tragedy' doesn't go down well with Twitter users, at News24


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Uniform policies around health and safety management lacking within construction industry

Patrick Nwabueze Okonkwo, Research Fellow at Stellenbosch University, notes that the construction industry in SA accounts for around 8% of total formal employment and around 17% of total informal employment, but it is also the third most dangerous sector for workers after the transportation and fishing industries.  In a recent study, the author tried to find out why health and safety performance was not up to standard in the industry and looked at how contractor organisations managed health and safety.  Because there’s no uniformity around health and safety management programmes and practices within the industry, he compared the effectiveness of different management arrangements.  What emerged was that health and safety management within the construction industry has not developed at the same pace as in other industries.  Additionally, it hasn’t kept up with technological advances like robotics, 3D printing and data analytics.  Another problem is that legislation governing health and safety management in the industry focuses on individual projects and doesn’t place any obligation on contractors to implement health and safety management systems, nor to maintain these competencies within their organisations in the long-term.  Among the other issues identified was the widespread practice of subcontracting.  The author identifies potential solutions and effective interventions.  These include that stakeholders like the department of labour, employer associations, labour unions, tertiary institutions and industry bodies need to come together to address the lack of suitably qualified and registered health and safety professionals.

Read the above article, which originally appeared at The Conversation, in full at Moneyweb

Free State health MEC condemns attacks on emergency services workers after incident on Sunday

TimesLIVE reports that Free State Health MEC Montseng Tsiu has condemned violent attacks targeting emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and health infrastructure in the province.  According to the provincial health department, an EMS crew was attacked while attending to an assaulted patient in Lusaka in Theunissen at about 1am on Sunday.  "The EMS crew fled from the scene, leaving behind one other ambulance which had punctured tyres.  The police later brought the ambulance to the EMS base," said Mondli Mvambi, spokesperson for the department.  The incident followed a break-in at a local clinic and an attempt to steal a patient transport vehicle in the same town.  The EMS crew will be getting counselling and support to come to terms with this unwelcome incident, Mvambi indicated.

Read the original of the above report by Nomahlubi Jordaan at TimesLIVE

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Noxious fumes from Durban resin plant on Friday leave hundreds of residents ill, at TimesLIVE


MINING LABOUR

Long wait to reopen Vantage Goldfields’ Barbrook and Lily and mines nearly over

Moneyweb writes that it’s been three years of agony for the 1,000 staff who were sidelined when Vantage Goldfields SA (VGSA) was placed in business rescue after a key support pillar at Lily mine collapsed and claimed the lives of three workers.  The two mines owned by Vantage – Lily and Barbrook – were placed in business rescue in 2016.  The mines were the biggest employers for Louisville inhabitants, who have waited anxiously for news of a potential rescuer.  Last week, miners got the news that a group called Real Win Investments was ready to fund the refurbishment of the two mines and recommence production.  It’s a deal that had been simmering for several months pending the unwinding of a failed agreement between VGSA and a group called Flaming Silver, owned by Siyakhula Sonke Corporation (SSC).  Barbrook could be up and running within six months, while Lily could take up to a year before it is back in operation.  Plans are in place to sink a new decline shaft to a depth of about 150 metres at Lily.  It is unlikely that the collapsed shaft at Lily will ever be rehabilitated.  Obstacles now appear to be out of the way and displaced workers are eagerly awaiting news of their call back to work.

Read the full original of the above report by Ciaran Ryan at Moneyweb

March by former mine workers to Parliament on Friday over unpaid benefits

GroundUp reports that about 60 former mine workers, supported by the Unpaid Benefits Campaign (UBC), marched from Keizersgracht Street to Parliament on Friday, claiming they were still owed provident funds and other benefits.  No representatives from either the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) or the Ministry of Finance came out to accept their memorandum, apparently because parliamentary staff were at a women's event.  Western Cape coordinator for UBC, Lunga Guza, indicated it was the third year they had marched to Parliament without getting any answers.  Guza said money due to the ex-mineworkers was trapped in investment funds "where it generates profits, not for the workers but for the fund managers who are already rich and earning very high salaries".  He said the families of the ex-mineworkers, living in Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Gugulethu and Hout Bay, "continue to live in poverty while the sweat of their fathers and grandfathers is providing comfort to families who are already comfortable".  Guza added:  "We have been telling them [government] that we have got relevant documents that can prove that these people were working in mines."  He claimed the workers had contributed to provident funds and paid for funeral cover, but had received no benefits.  Workers had also died in mines and there was no compensation for their families.

Read the full original of the above report by Tariro Washinyira at News24


INSOURCING

City of Joburg to put 1,879 cleaners on its books, says mayor

News24 reports that the City of Johannesburg will be insourcing (directly hiring) 1,879 cleaners, starting with 450 who will go on the metropolitan municipality's books.  Mayor Herman Mashaba's office indicated on Thursday:  "These cleaners previously earned a mere R3,000 per month, while the City paid around R6,500 per cleaner to the outsourced companies they worked for.  These cleaners will now be able to take home more than R4,000 per month after deductions from a salary of around R5,600."  Their perks will include a pension and medical aid.  "We are thrilled with it.  The City should have its own workforce," said Mark Gericke of the Independent and Municipal Allied Trade Union (Imatu) in Johannesburg.  But he also reported that although the recent insourcing of security guards had been positively received, it had not all been smooth sailing.  He explained that it was done hastily so there were hiccups with getting uniforms, clearance certificates and they were still clarifying how overtime pay would work because the guards worked long hours.  Deciding who would work where also had to be ironed out.  "Those were the only real problems.  People are generally happy about it," Gericke said.

Read the full original of the above report by Jenni Evans at News24


RETIREMENT FUNDS

Brian Molefe must pay Solidarity R700,000 within seven days and Eskom pension fund R10m by next week

BusinessLive reports that Solidarity has given former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe seven days to pay the R700,000 owed to it, while the power utility has given him until next week to cough up about R10m in pension payments that were unlawfully paid to him.  The trade union said it received a letter from Molefe's lawyers on Friday requesting a 30-day postponement for the payment of R700,000, which related to legal costs.  This was after the trade union had instructed the sheriff to proceed with the attachment of Molefe's property.  Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann said a period of 30 days was an unnecessarily long time for the repayment and wrote a letter giving Molefe seven days to pay the money.  This came after Molefe lost his final bid in the Constitutional Court earlier in August to appeal against a judgment that ordered that he pay back the pension payments unlawfully paid out to him by the Eskom Pension Fund.  On Friday, Solidarity said the fund had indicated that it had given Molefe until 22 August to repay it, failing which it take legal action.  “For Solidarity, it is solely about accountability.  Money cannot be plundered by tax plunderers and then they walk away scot-free,” Hermann said.

Read the full original of the above report by Genevieve Quintal at BusinessLive

Eskom pension fund confirms that Brian Molefe must pay back over R10m

Fin24 reports that the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF) has confirmed that its lawyers have instructed former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe to return more than R10m he received from the fund.  This was after the Constitutional Court last week dismissed Molefe's application for leave to appeal against a North Gauteng High Court decision handed down last year that he must pay back around R10m in pension benefits from Eskom.  EPPF spokesperson Thato Motlhabi indicated:  "The high court judgment stipulated that Mr Molefe needed to repay all amounts paid to him by the EPPF, totalling R10,327,074.53, within 10 days (of the ruling).  The EPPF is in the process of seeking payment and any payment terms shall be set out in the course of these actions."  He confirmed that the EPPF had instructed its attorneys to seek to recover the amounts due to the Fund and that a letter of demand had been sent to Mr Molefe, through his attorneys, requesting payment.

Read the full original of the above report by Khulekani Magubane at Fin24


SUSPENSIONS / DISMISSALS

Old Mutual and reinstated CEO Peter Moyo to hear outcome of their legal battle in two weeks

News24 reports that Old Mutual and the insurer’s reinstated CEO Peter Moyo will hear the outcome of their increasingly acrimonious legal battle in approximately two weeks.  Judge Brian Mashile reserved his ruling in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Friday, following lengthy arguments from both sides.  Moyo was suspended in May and axed in June, with the company citing a breakdown in trust and a conflict of interest related to NMT Capital, an investment firm Moyo co-founded.  Moyo successfully challenged his dismissal in court in late July.  However, he was barred from work the day after his court victory because the company applied for a declaratory order to advise whether the ruling reinstating Moyo was a final or interim order and whether it could be suspended with notice to appeal.  Old Mutual furthermore argued for leave to appeal Judge Mashile’s decision.  But, Moyo’s advocate argued that all 14 directors should be found in contempt of court for failing to allow Moyo to report for duty.  Speaking on Friday, Moyo and his attorney said that, out of respect for court processes, he had not tried to report for duty since 31 July and would wait until the ruling in around two weeks.

Read the full original of the above report by Tehillah Niselow at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Old Mutual board throws jabs at Peter Moyo’s bid to censure its conduct, at Moneyweb
  • Old Mutual’s bid to stop Moyo’s return is a ‘predetermined strategy’, Mpofu says, at BusinessLive


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Former Oudtshoorn ABET teacher arrested for R1m fraud relating to 'ghost learners'

Fin24 reports that a former Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) teacher from Oudtshoorn has appeared in court for allegedly inflating the number of registered students she taught in order to gain financial benefits from the Western Cape department of education.  Tamsyn Dorothy allegedly registered "ghost learners", thereby managing to rake up a total of R946,538, regional Hawks spokesperson Captain Philane Nkwalase indicated.  The 42-year-old made a brief appearance in the Oudtshoorn Magistrate's Court last Monday on fraud charges, following her arrest on the same day.  She was released on R2,500 bail and is expected to return to the dock on 6 September.  Dorothy, who worked as a teacher and manager at different learning centres around Oudtshoorn, is alleged to have registered a substantial number of "ghost learners" between January 2010 and May 2013.

Read the original of the above report at News24

Two Tsogo Sun employees facing R4m fraud charges for allegedly creating ghost employee accounts

News24 reports that two Tsogo Sun employees have allegedly stolen more than R4m from their employer by creating ghost employee accounts.  Leeba Lesuthu and Jeffrey Moodley, were arrested on Wednesday by the Durban Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team and have already appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court.  The suspects were responsible for the security and human resource sections.  Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo, spokesperson for the Hawks, explained:  "They allegedly created ghost employees and paid more than R4m salaries into fictitious accounts.  Preliminary investigations revealed the said salaries were ultimately withdrawn by them."  Lesuthu and Moodley have been charged with 259 counts of fraud and are each out on R10,000 bail.  The case has been postponed until 12 September.

Read the original of the News24


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES

  • MyCiTi suspension on N2 hits Cape Town commuters hard in the pocket, at News24
  • Sex workers speak of rape, corruption and harassment by police, at TimesLIVE

 


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