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
Thursday, 22 August 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Life sentences for four KZN cop killers

TimesLIVE reports that four men have been found guilty of murdering Captain Nkosenye Welcome Ntombela in an armed robbery in KwaZulu-Natal in 2016.  Ntombela and a friend were in a local supermarket when the gun-wielding men burst in, demanding cash.  The situation escalated and shots were fired.  Ntombela was fatally wounded.  On Wednesday, the Mtubatuba High Court sentenced Ntokozo Mbatha, 29, Siphamandla Mbatha, 28, Mzokhona Dlamini, 33, and Sifiso Mnyandu, 48, to life behind bars for murder, as well as 15 years for robbery and 10 years for attempted murder.  The sentences will run concurrently.

The original of the above report by Dan Meyer is at TimesLIVE


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Justice Minister’s intervention in Legal Aid SA saga averts judiciary shutdown

BusinessLive reports that justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola has moved to avoid debilitating industrial action that could have resulted in a total shutdown of all Legal Aid SA offices in the country.  This was after disgruntled attorneys of the state-owned law firm handed over a list of their demands to Lamola’s office on Tuesday.  His intervention effectively halted planned nationwide protests that would have prevented the poor from accessing free legal services.  Industrial action by the attorneys would have also affected the functioning of the country’s judiciary system by putting further strain on the backlog of cases on the court roll.  The lawyers’ grievances relate to unilateral changes to their group life cover policy, and what they claim are horrible working conditions and abuse from senior executives.  They are also unhappy about the process followed to appoint outgoing CEO Vidhu Vedalankar’s successor; and the company’s decision to stop payment of their subscription fees of about R2,500 per person per year to the Legal Practice Council.  Another grievance is the lack of security personnel at the Legal Aid SA headquarters in Braamfontein.  On Wednesday, worker representative Vhambedzani Muregu indicated:  “The minister’s office said they are aware of our demands and that some of them can be quickly resolved.  They said the minister is intervening and attending to the issues raised.  We then decided to suspend the total shutdown of the Legal Aid SA offices to give the minister a chance to intervene.”

Read the full original of the above report by Luyolo Mkentane BusinessLive

Johannesburg School for Autism hit by Sadtu strike

The Citizen reports that the Johannesburg School for Autism was brought to a standstill on Wednesday after teachers belonging to the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) downed tools in their second strike in two weeks.  Teachers were protesting the alleged ill-treatment of staff and deteriorating working conditions, while accusing the school administration of nepotism, irregular appointments and maladministration.  The school caters for 319 pupils with autism.  Sadtu’s Tlou Chosi said they wanted the school appointment processes to be handled by an independent panel rather than the governing body because the present system was open to nepotism and irregular appointments.  “When you hire someone, you are supposed to start internally and have consultation.  What is happening now is that you just see someone being hired,” claimed Tlou.  But according to some staff members, the union was on strike simply because it wanted the vacant principal position to be filled by its own member and not the current acting principal.  Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona has since said that “all was back to normal” at the school.  He indicated:  “All concerns have been attended to by our officials.  All disruptive employees will be taken to task, necessary disciplinary processes will be undertaken accordingly.”

Read the full original of the above report by Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni at The Citizen


PROTESTS / MARCHES

Angry paramedics march to Free State premier’s office

OFM News reports that increasing attacks on emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and poor working conditions in the Free State came under the spotlight when hundreds of EMS workers took their frustrations to the streets of Bloemfontein on Wednesday.  The protesters, who marched from the Free State Psychiatric Hospital to the premier’s office, claimed that their calls for better working conditions, salary increments, payment of overdue overtime, and complaints over unfair dismissals have consistently fallen on deaf ears.  The group, represented by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) and trade union federation Cosatu, lambasted the provincial health department for failing to take action on their demands.  They said they wanted premier Sisi Ntombela to take immediate action and redress their issues.  The unions have vowed to halt medical services in the province should their demands in their memorandum not be met.  The provincial government said it would respond to the demands within seven working days.

Read the full original of the above report by Katleho Morapela at The Citizen


MINING LABOUR

Coal employers ditch centralised wage bargaining through Minerals Council

BL Premium reports that employers in the coal industry have withdrawn from the centralised bargaining process under the auspices of the Minerals Council SA (MCSA) and have informed trade unions that wages will be negotiated at company level in the future.  Centralised bargaining in coal (and gold mining) has taken place for decades, with members of the Council (previously known as the Chamber of Mines) negotiating in a joint sector forum.  But the MCSA says that ownership in the coal industry has changed so much in the past 25 years that centralised bargaining no longer makes sense.  Back in the 1980s, there were only six mining companies which together owned the entire coal industry, but now there are 21 different employers.  “The last rounds or two of the centralised coal negotiations have involved only seven of the 21 employers.  Secondly, even where bargaining has been centralised, different agreements have been reached with different companies and sometimes even with different mines owned by the same company,” a MCSA spokesperson said on Wednesday.  The four recognised trade unions that negotiate coal wages through the MCSA are unanimously opposed to the decision, but as the MCSA is a voluntary association, the unions have little recourse.  The United Association of SA (Uasa) has appealed to parliament’s portfolio committee on mineral resources and energy to intervene on their behalf.  Solidarity’s Riaan Visser said the union had been hoping for more engagement.  Wage talks in the gold sector will continue to take place at a centralised level.  There are no centralised wage talks for the platinum sector.

Read the full original of the above report by Carol Paton at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • UASA: Female workers make their voices heard at the Women in Mining Indaba, at Uasa News (press statement)


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT / JOBS

New Durban cruise terminal to boost tourism, jobs in SA

Moneyweb reports that construction work on the new R200 million Durban Cruise Terminal will commence in November and is due to be completed in 2021.  This was confirmed by the MD for MSC Cruises SA, Ross Volk, on Tuesday, who added that this was part of significant investments by the Italian, family-owned company into SA’s booming cruise tourism industry.  “We are investing heavily in infrastructure as well as training, which includes the new Durban Cruise Terminal that will also house the MSC Shosholoza Ocean Academy,” Volk said.  Last year MSC Cruises signed a deal with Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) to invest in a new cruise terminal as part of the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Consortium (KTC).  The terminal will be a multi-user facility, meaning that while MSC will be the main user of the terminal, it will also be able to be used by other cruise line operators to Durban.  “This terminal will make Durban an even more desirable destination for cruise ships from all over the world.  It will substantially boost tourism numbers, create thousands of jobs and lead to supplier development,” Volk indicated.  The new academy aims to train some 5,000 young people over the next five years.  “They will receive the skills necessary to work on cruise ships and once qualified will be given an internship to work on our cruise liners both in SA and around the world.  With this initiative, MSC Cruises is supporting President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to grow the tourism sector in SA and create jobs,” Volk stated.

Read the full original of the above report by Suren Naidoo at Moneyweb

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • DA says Arcelor Mittal’s protection by government leads to job losses, at DA News (press statement)
  • Opinion: What is decent work and how can it be achieved in SA? at Independent News


PRICES / TARIFFS

Consumer inflation eased to 4% in July, presenting a 'brief window' for a repo rate cut

Business Report writes that July's headline inflation rate (CPI) marked the eighth consecutive month that year-on-year consumer prices were at or below the midpoint of the target range of the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb).  This will provide further motivation for the central bank to cut interest rates next month.  Statistics SA reported on Wednesday that inflation in July moderated to 4% from 4.5% in June, well below the Sarb’s target band of 3% to 6%.  It attributed the slowdown to lower transport prices due to the decline in oil prices in July.  Capital Economics economist John Ashbourne commented:  “With inflation now near the bottom of the target range, we think that there is a brief window for another rate cut.  The arguments that justified a rate cut in July are even stronger now; inflation is below the target midpoint and the economy remains very weak.”  The Sarb’s Quarterly Projection Model is for headline inflation to average 4.4% this year.

Read the full original of the above report at Business Report


MEDICAL SCHEMES / NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

Medical scheme administrators overstepping the mark in fraud investigations into healthcare professionals

BusinessLive reports that according to consultancy Elsabé Klinck & Associates, medical scheme administrators are overstepping the mark in their fraud investigations into healthcare professionals.  It is alleged that they stray into the terrain of regulatory authorities and claim back money they have not proved they are entitled to.  “In the name of curbing fraud, they have overstepped their mandates.  They are making pronouncements on what equipment a practice should have, what a practitioner can and cannot do, and there are clawbacks that happen without losses being proven” said the firm’s Elsabé Klinck.  This followed a presentation she made to the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) inquiry into allegations that medical schemes unfairly targeted black, Indian and coloured healthcare professionals for forensic investigations.  Klinck hopes the inquiry will make recommendations on how to resolve these issue, and other key aspects of how forensic investigations into allegedly fraudulent healthcare practitioners are conducted.  Fraud is a major concern for the medical schemes industry, which says it is a significant driver of escalating monthly premiums.  The CMS, which regulates the sector, said in February that fraud, abuse and waste cost the industry between R22bn and R28bn a year.  

Read the full original of the above report by Tamar Kahn at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Doctors entrapped by Discovery, at The Star


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Old Mutual issues another termination notice to temporarily reinstated CEO Peter Moyo

BusinessLive reports that Old Mutual, which is under pressure from shareholders to end its bruising public battle with Peter Moyo, says it has issued the previously axed CEO with a further notice terminating his employment.  In July, the High Court in Johannesburg ruled that Old Mutual should temporarily reinstate Moyo after firing him without a disciplinary hearing in June over alleged conflicts of interest.  The insurer is appealing against the order.  The second notice of termination “has been taken after legal advice and on careful reflection by directors, with proper regard to their fiduciary duties to the company”, the board said.  “We must accept that Mr Moyo may decide to challenge this step too.  We will stand our ground if he does, naturally and at all times continuing to respect the law and our court system,” it added.

Read the full original of Nick Hedley’s report in the above regard at BusinessLive. Read too, Peter Moyo consulting lawyers after being fired again by Old Mutual, at EWN

Sars suspends IT executive in continued Moyane-era clean-up drive

BusinessLive reports that the clean-up of the SA Revenue Service (Sars) by the tax agency’s commissioner, Edward Kieswetter, has gathered pace with the suspension of IT executive Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane over allegations of serious misconduct.  Sars did not disclose the misconduct.  Makhekhe-Mokhuane’s suspension on Wednesday was the fifth of its kind as efforts to improve governance and efficiencies at the agency continued.  Governance failures at Sars during former commissioner Tom Moyane’s reign were partly credited for large revenue shortfalls.  He was fired on the recommendation of a commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at Sars headed by retired judge Robert Nugent.  The inquiry found that Moyane was not fit to hold office and was largely responsible for the mess the tax agency found itself in.  The other suspended senior executives are Luther Lebelo, group executive of employee relations; Hlengani Mathebula, chief officer of governance, international relations, strategy and communication; and Teboho Mokoena chief officer for human capital and development.  In October under the leadership of acting commissioner Mark Kingon, the agency’s legal services head Refiloe Mokoena was suspended.  All the executives were close allies of Moyane, and Lebelo was singled out as his “hitman” by witnesses at the commission of inquiry.  

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION / SPECIAL LEAVE

'I have decided to walk away', says Cape Town transport head after guilty finding on two charges

News24 reports that suspended City of Cape Town transport executive director Melissa Whitehead has resigned after being found guilty on two charges at a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.  She indicated in a statement:  "Today the chairperson of a disciplinary hearing, that lasted for more than a year, exonerated me on any allegation of corruption or financial misconduct.  Furthermore, my professional integrity remains intact.  I was, however, shocked to be found guilty on two charges."  The City confirmed her resignation with immediate effect and said she was facing another disciplinary hearing that related to a tender for electric buses.  Whitehead said that the finding that she attempted to influence the Foreshore Freeway Bid Evaluation Committee, and that she treated one of the bidders unfairly, was "particularly egregious".  She went on to say that despite the advice of her legal team that she had strong prospects of success for both a review and an appeal, "I have decided to walk away".  Whitehead also claimed she had been subjected to unfathomable victimisation and bullying by the City's leadership and management over the past 19 months.  She is currently suing the Deputy Mayor for defamation.  The City will now proceed to declare a vacancy for her position to the Council.

Read the full original of the above report by Jenna Etheridge at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Oudtshoorn mayor put on special leave, pending DA probe into his conduct, at News24


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Durban constable arrested after demanding R7,000 bribe from driver who crashed

TimesLIVE reports that a KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) police constable has been arrested for allegedly soliciting a R7,000 bribe.  The Durban North constable, 30, allegedly asked the complainant who crashed his car on Monday for the money.  “The police officer did not open a case.  He towed the vehicle and informed the vehicle owner to pay him R7,000 in cash for him to release his vehicle,” said police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbele.  The constable was arrested on Tuesday evening and was allegedly found to be in possession of two cellphones as well as the money he had solicited.  He was scheduled to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

Read the original of Lwandile Bhengu’s report in the above regard at TimesLIVE

Three Cape Town cops charged with corruption over 'R20,000 bribe request'

TimesLIVE reports that a police sergeant and two constables appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Wednesday on charges of corruption, theft and defeating the ends of justice.  They were arrested by anti-corruption unit officers at Cape Town central police station on Tuesday.  Sgt Larry Adams, Const Olof Africa and Const William Abrahams were attached to the police's crime-prevention unit.  They allegedly tried to solicit a R20,000 bribe after threatening to arrest a foreigner for being in possession of suspected stolen property.  The case was postponed until 2 September.

Read the full original of the above report by Aron Hyman at TimesLIVE


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • Richards Bay CBD shut down for three-days by violent protests, at TimesLIVE
  • Historical Joburg labour pact overshadowed by Samwu factional battles, at Moneyweb
  • Samwu distances itself from MoU with City of Johannesburg, at Samwu News (press statement)
  • Out with the old and in with the new, employment equity roadshow in Rustenburg told, at DEL News (press statement)
  • DEL: Show us the salary gap between highest earners and lowest earners, at DEL News (press statement)
  • Cosatu welcomes the Johannesburg High Court’s ruling on the “gratuitous display” of the old apartheid national flag, at Cosatu News (press statement)

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page