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, 11 September 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Workman plunges 25m to his death from roof in Durban on Tuesday

News24 reports that a man died after he fell approximately 25 metres from a roof on Tuesday afternoon.  According to Rescue Care spokesperson Garrith Jamieson, paramedics were called to a business address in Morton Road in Seaview where they found the patient, believed to be in his 20s, lying on the ground.  "He had sustained multiple major injuries and showed no signs of life.  The man was declared deceased on the scene," Jamieson reported.  Apparently, the man was working on the roof when he fell to the ground.  Jamieson said police were on the scene and would be investigating the incident further.

Read the original of the above report by Riaan Grobler at News24

Gauteng has spent R2.3m since 2018 on rates and taxes for burnt out Bank of Lisbon building

The Star reports that the Gauteng government has spent more than R2.3 million paying the City of Joburg rates and utilities for the vacant Bank of Lisbon building.  The building, which used to house three government departments, caught fire a year ago, leading to the evacuation of staff and the death of three firefighters.  Though the building has been stripped of electrical wires, its biggest monthly expense is the electricity bill of about R141,000.  The building is being prepared for demolition later this year and, although contractors on site use industrial generators for their power supply, they still use the building’s water supply.  MEC for Infrastructure Development and Property Management Tasneem Motara remarked as follows in the Gauteng Legislature:  “We pay rates and taxes because the building is still there.  Rates and taxes are for land use and not necessarily utilities.”  Motara also said that of the 18 buildings the provincial office owned in the city, it only occupied nine because of compliance issues.  She added:  “We have issued landlords who own the 13 buildings we are leasing on behalf of Gauteng Provincial Government with the necessary compliance notices in order to improve on the Occupation Health and Safety of all employees in those buildings.”

Read the full original of the above report by Tebogo Monama at The Star


SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / TRAINING

Irregular spending dogs many Setas

The Star writes that the majority of the country’s 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas), the recipients of more than R10billion of taxpayers’ money annually, remain far from being institutions the government could be proud of.  Not only did they expend a staggering R216million in dubious transactions over the past financial year, many of them remain plagued by governance instability.  Executives at several of the Setas, which have a mandate to skill millions of youths who are not yet in education, employment or training, face corruption allegations.  The bodies fall under the .  Two Setas currently face probes by the Special Investigations Unit, while several have been hit by a senior staff brain drain.  The troubles of the Setas were laid bare in a report that the Department of Higher Education and Training has presented to Parliament’s portfolio committee on higher education.  The 216m in irregular expenditure was incurred by 12 of the 21 Seats.  The Wholesale and Retail Seta incurred the highest irregular spending, amounting to R85m.  The Financial and Accounting Seta came second, with its irregular spending amounting to R56m.  But there was a glimmer of hope at a few Setas.  Though it faced numerous allegations of corruption, the Construction Seta (Ceta) significantly improved its performance.  Despite incurring R2m in irregular expenditure, the previously troubled Safety and Security Seta also improved its performance.

Read the full original of the above report by Bongani Nkosi on page 4 of The Star of 11 September 2019


DISCRIMINATION / RACISM / SEXISM / HOMOPHOBIA

Shoprite staff at Southgate store protest after manager's alleged k-word rant

SowetanLive reports that employees at a Shoprite supermarket in Southgate, Johannesburg south, want justice after allegedly being called "lazy k***s" by a regional manager.  Agitated employees embarked on a protest to demand the matter be probed, with the store being closed for several hours on Monday.  In a statement, the company said a complaint had been lodged with the head office and appropriate action would be taken in accordance with the law and the company's code of conduct.  One of the employees, Thulani Tyala, said he'd been employed by Shoprite for more than five years and had seen many occasions when the same manager bullied, threatened and, on one occasion, slapped an employee.  "I know a lot of people who resigned because of her, some tried reporting the cases but didn't get anywhere," he stated.  The latest incident occurred in Saturday.  Tyala recounted further:  "We had been doing stocktaking at the back.  Someone cracked a joke and we all laughed.  Then she came in and asked why we were laughing.  Before anyone could answer, she started shouting 'You lazy k***s are not doing your jobs' and left."  A case of crimen injuria was opened with the Mondeor police station by Tyala.  

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

Another staff member at Malibu High School in Blue Downs accused of racist remarks over hair

Cape Times reports that a second staffer at Malibu High School in Blue Downs faces disciplinary action for alleged discriminatory comments made to pupils over the way they wore their natural hair.  This comes as the school’s caretaker has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.  Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the school’s hair policy was being reviewed.  “The caretaker will face a disciplinary hearing regarding the comments allegedly made.  He’s a school governing body appointee and is currently suspended.  An investigation into the comments made by one of the teachers is also under way by Labour Relations.  The teacher is employed by the WCED,” Hammond indicated.  The school made headlines earlier this month when pupils in grades 10 to 12 charged that they were told their “outrageous hair needed to be kept in plaits or tied up”.  Nine pupils who protested against the school’s policy and alleged racist comments by the staff members were initially issued with disciplinary notices, which were later withdrawn.  On voice recordings staffers can be heard saying “Afros are not allowed in this school”; “it’s just hair, why must you cry?”; “only apes and bears are born with Afros”; “no, that’s not your hair”; “you look outrageous” and “go fix your hair”.

Read the full original of the above report by Francesca Villette at Cape Times

Basic education spokesperson Elijah Mhalanga in hot water over sexist tweets

SowetanLive reports that the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has subpoenaed the spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education following his alleged sexist tweets.  Elijah Mhlanga and director-general Matanzima Mlweli were called to a meeting by the CGE following Mhlanga's tweets last month.  Commission spokesperson Javu Baloyi said the CGE met with the two after it had been inundated with complaints as a result of the tweets associated with the #readtolead campaign.  Last month, Mhlanga posted a series of pictures of semi-naked women apparently in an effort to encourage the public, and particularly young people, to read.  In the first picture of a woman wearing a grey body top revealing her oily breasts and most of her body, @ElijahMhlanga wrote:  "Reading for leisure is also therapeutic. It relaxes the mind, body and soul."  The second picture is of a naked woman lying on her stomach and reading a book.  He wrote: "Let's make reading sexy.  Don't just do it as a habit, you can do it every day.  It feels good when you get into it."  Baloyi commented that the CGE believed that the right to education should be fulfilled free from discrimination, objectification and harassment.

Read the full original of the above report by Yoliswa Sobuwa at SowetanLive. Read too, Basic Education Department’s Elijah Mhlanga agrees to gender sensitisation training, at EWN

EFF rejects EWN's apology over Barry Bateman's vulgar comment aimed at Julius Malema

Independent News reports that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has rejected Eyewitness News' apology over an insult made by journalist Barry Bateman allegedly aimed at Julius Malema.  This came after Eyewitness News apologised to Malema after Bateman allegedly called him a "p**s" at an impromptu press briefing outside the Hawks offices.  Bateman was caught on camera using derogatory words while in conversation with another reporter.  The video was widely shared on social media.  "Bateman was taken off air immediately after we were made aware of the video.  EWN will hold an internal probe that will deal with the matter appropriately," EWN indicated in a statement.  The Red Berets rejected the "lukewarm and delayed" apology, calling on EWN to take "concomitant" action.  The political party added:  "It is obvious that Bateman could swear at the EFF President Julius Malema because South African journalism has allowed, condoned and promoted biased reporters."  Malema was summoned to the Hawks’ offices in Pretoria on Tuesday, where he was asked to sign a warning statement pertaining to the charge of discharging a firearm in a public place as well as allegedly assaulting a police officer at the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Read the full original of the above report by Mayibongwe Maqhina and Baldwin Ndaba at Independent News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Opinion: Gender violence is to be punished in — and out of — the workplace, at BusinessLive


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

African Methodist Episcopal church fires 'homophobic' bishop

The Star reports that a “homophobic” bishop from an international church with roughly three million members has been ditched from the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church as the furore surrounding the controversial clergyman rages on.  It was reported on Friday that Bishop Paul Mulenga Kawimbe, who heads the more than 40,000-member strong 19th district of the AME, was accused by Reverend Teboho Klaas in court papers of waging a concerted battle to get rid of him as a pastor due to Klaas’s public support for the LGBTI community.  Klaas hauled the AME and Kawimbe before the South Gauteng High Court over his unfair dismissal as the head of AME’s Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, branch.  Klaas alleged that his removal was because the bishop was homophobic.  It has now emerged that Kawimbe was officially removed on Thursday “for the good of the church” by AME’s judicial council.  Among others, allegations against Kawimbe - who held the post since 2012 - were that the 19th district was riven with problems, including the alleged looting of the Sanlam provident fund, and that the bishop flouted AME processes by axing pastors without following the church’s procedures.  Kawimbe’s lawyer did not respond to the allegations of homophobia against his client in court last week.  Judgment was reserved.

Read the full original of the above report by Khaya Koko at The Star

Three SABC employees suspended for ‘sabotaging’ Ramaphosa’s address on gender violence

EWN reports that the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has suspended three of its employees for the airing of the incorrect clip of President Cyril Ramaphosa's address on gender-based violence.  One freelancer has also been unscheduled after last week’s incident.  The clip shows Ramaphosa making mistakes and asking to start over in what was thought to be a live broadcast.  The SABC launched a preliminary investigation into the matter and said it had strong prima facie evidence indicating that the broadcast of the incorrect clip was a well-considered and coordinated act of sabotage to bring the public broadcaster, and consequently the president, into disrepute.   Spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu said:  “Due process will be followed and the second process of investigation into this incident is still under way.”

Read the original of the above report by Kgomotso Modise at EWN. Read too, SABC warns employees over sabotaging its work to restore credibility, at EWN

Motsoeneng tells Zondo commission he was not involved in the suspension of the SABC 8

The Citizen reports that former SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) chief operation officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng told the commission of inquiry into state capture that the suspension of a group of journalists known as the SABC 8, who were subsequently fired from the public broadcaster, had nothing to do with their refusal and failure to adhere to a decision he had taken to ban the broadcasting of violent and destructive protests.  The name was given to a group of eight journalists in 2016 when they spoke out against what they called “censorship” under the leadership of Motsoeneng.  Four of the journalists recently testified before commission, chaired by Judge Raymond Zondo.  Motsoeneng told the commission on Wednesday that there were no consequences for journalists who failed to adhere to his decision.  “If people differ with you there can’t be consequences, it is normal for people to differ with you,” Motsoeneng said, adding that it would be incorrect to get rid of people who had dissenting views.  He claimed the disciplinary procedures instituted against the SABC 8 were because they had brought the public broadcaster into disrepute by speaking to the media, which was prohibited by the corporation’s policy.  Motsoeneng further denied being involved in their suspension.  Zondo however, noted that the suspension letters made it clear that the suspension of the SABC 8 was due to their failure or refusal to comply with the instruction to ban the broadcasting of violent or destructive protests.

Read the full original of the above report by Makhosandile Zulu at The Citizen. Read too, Hlaudi Motsoeneng defends controversial SABC ‘censorship policy’, at BusinessLive


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Parliamentary disciplinary panel finds Mgidlana guilty of serious misconduct and recommends summary dismissal

EWN reports that a disciplinary panel has found suspended secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana guilty of serious misconduct and has recommended his summary dismissal.  Mgidlana was put on precautionary leave in 2017 pending a disciplinary hearing on allegations against him of maladministration and abuse of power.  National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise said it would now be up to both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to decide on the matter.  Modise said Mgidlana had faced 13 charges.  One was withdrawn for lack of evidence and on five, he was found not guilty, as policy on these issues was unclear.  “He was found guilty on seven charges.  On four of the seven charges, he was found guilty of serious misconduct, with a sanction that was summary dismissal.  The other three charges were final warnings,” she advised.

Read the full original of the above report by Gaye Davis at EWN


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Jail time of two years for former employee who defrauded cancer association

TimesLIVE reports that a former employee who defrauded the Cancer Association of SA (Cansa) out of more than R300,000 in an electricity payment scam has been jailed for two years.  Phadi Jim Maboea, 37, was convicted on 309 counts of fraud by the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on Monday.  "Maboea's fraudulent activities were discovered on October 11 2018 when it came to light that he had duplicated payments meant for electricity of the entity thereby pocketing a total of R308,998 in inflated amounts," Hawks spokesperson Lynda Steyn said.  The illegal transactions were conducted from June 2017 until they were uncovered by an internal forensic probe.  "The Hawks' serious commercial crime investigation kick-started following a formal complaint and Maboea was arrested on March 19 2019, culminating in his conviction," said Steyn.

Read the original of the above report at TimesLIVE


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • Business confidence hits lowest in at least 20 years, at BusinessLive
  • 1,000 metro cops deployed in Joburg to deal with xenophobic attacks, at EWN
  • Tshwane mayor commits to R100K donation to family of slain Pretoria taxi driver, at News24
  • Bye madam! Domestic worker wins R70m PowerBall jackpot, at TimesLIVE

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page