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 January 2020.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Fears grow over safety at KZN hospitals after dramatic 'hit' on patient

Daily News reports that safety concerns at KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) hospitals have arisen after two men walked into Clairwood Hospital and fatally shot a 47-year-old man in the head.  Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the two men had entered the men’s surgical ward and forced their way past security guards after pointing firearms at them on Friday.  “It is believed that the man was killed in full view of other patients and hospital staff,” said Gwala.  Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said the patient was being treated for gunshot wounds from a previous incident and had been transferred from King Edward VIII Hospital to Clairwood in late December.  “It is alleged that after shooting him, the suspects walked back to their vehicle and drove off.  The security guards had tried to close the main hospital gate but the men threatened them and forcefully opened the gate themselves, before fleeing,” Simelane-Zulu indicated.  She advised the safety system within healthcare facilities would have to be changed and went on to comment:  “It means that our system is not as effective as we would have liked to think.  We will have to urgently re-look at our security protocols”.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kelyn Blackburn at Daily News. Read too, IFP, DA call for better security measures following ‘execution-style’ shooting at Durban hospital, at The Citizen


SOEs IN CRISIS

Eskom's woes expected to worsen, with more board members expected to follow Mabuza by resigning

Cape Argus reports that state-owned power utility Eskom’s troubles are expected to worsen this week as more board members are expected to follow the footsteps of former board chairperson Jabu Mabuza, who resigned last week.  His resignation came as some in the ANC called for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to be reined in for his stewardship of Eskom which earlier, despite promises, returned to load shedding.  Energy expert Ted Bloem commented:  “The resignation of Mabuza literally just took Eskom further backward.  It’s been a wasted two years of that board and nothing has happened.  The real challenge will be for Eskom to keep the lights on, which I highly doubt will happen.  I have a suspicion that by Friday we will be having severe load shedding again.”  He went on to remark:  “There has been nothing done for the reforms which were announced late last year to turnaround the troubled state-owned company.  It’s evident that the president lied about a turn-around plan because there is no plan.”  National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) spokesperson Khaya Xaba said Gordhan and the rest of the Eskom board must resign with immediate effect “for allowing the entity to deteriorate”.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) reiterated its call to have the entire Eskom board immediately disbanded.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Marvin Charles and Sisonke Mlamla at Cape Argus

Reasonable prospect of SAA being saved, say business rescue practitioners

The Star reports that South African Airways’ (SAA’s) business rescue practitioners (BRPs) believe there is a reasonable prospect that the troubled national airline can be saved despite the inevitable risks and challenges.  The BRPs, Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, told creditors and employees last month that their plan could be successfully implemented subject to the availability of further post-commencement funding and ongoing support from all stakeholders, including the government, staff, trade unions and suppliers.  Matuson and Dongwana undertook to investigate all options and take into account stakeholders’ input.  “We believe the business rescue process will achieve a better outcome for all stakeholders than an immediate liquidation,” they told the company’s creditors and employees at meetings on 20 December.  SAA, which has over 5,400 employees, has third-party liabilities of over R20.4 billion.  The BRPs were originally expected to outline their plans to save the carrier by Monday, 13 January, but have asked for a month-long extension to 14 February.  After the business rescue plan has been presented, it will be considered and voted on.  At the meetings, Matuson and Dongwana said they were evaluating various scenarios and funding requirements, but still needed to consult various stakeholders to establish their level of agreement and preferred scenarios.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Loyiso Sidimba on page 13 of The Star of 9 January 2020


UNION NEWS

Cosatu’s Solly Phetoe makes slow recovery after car accident

The Star reports that it will take a while before Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) deputy general secretary Solly Phetoe makes a full recovery, according to the trade union federation.  This follows the car accident in which he was involved in late November.  Cosatu parliamentary co-ordinator Matthew Parks said on Sunday that Phetoe, who has been out of the public eye for the past two months, was still recovering from his “quite bad accident”.  “He is making good progress.  He won’t be making public appearances at this stage as he recuperates at home,” he indicated.  Apparently Phetoe and his driver were travelling at night along a road near Brits in the North West when the accident occurred.  Both Phetoe and the driver were injured.  His driver was hospitalised.  Parks said that despite the incident, the rest of Cosatu’s top leadership were hard at work at the federation’s national office.  Meanwhile, the federation thanked all its members for their continuous support for Phetoe throughout his ordeal.  Phetoe was Cosatu’s North West provincial secretary until he joined the national ranks in November 2015, after being elected at Cosatu’s 12th National Congress in Midrand.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard on page 6 of The Star of 13 January 2020


APPOINTMENTS / RECRUITMENT / STAFFING

New pre-entry certificate to be a requirement for appointment to top government posts

The Sunday Independent reports that the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) has announced a mandatory requirement in the form of a pre-entry certificate for senior managers to be appointed to top positions in government.  The new measures will come into effect in April following the announcement to provincial departments.  In a circular to heads, the department said that it and the National School of Government had completed the course for entry into senior management.  “The intention of the pre-entry certificate is to ensure that potential applicants for posts in the senior management service have an understanding of the public service landscape with due regard to the competencies required for a senior post,” the circular indicated.  It said persons could only be appointed once they had completed the course and were in possession of the certificate. “Departments must also bear in mind time frames in which posts must be filled once becoming vacant,” the circular noted.  The demand for pre-entry requirements for top posts in government comes after the passing and signing into law of the National Qualifications Framework Act designed to clamp down on people lying about their qualifications.  In the past, several senior public figures have lied about their degrees.  The new law provides that those with fake qualifications will be named and shamed and it also encompasses tough penalties.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Siyabonga Mkhwanazi on page 7 of The Sunday Independent of 12 January 2020

Absa appoints ex-deputy SA Reserve Bank governor as CEO

Bloomberg reports that the Absa Group has appointed former South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) deputy governor Daniel Mminele as chief executive officer in the midst of a turnaround strategy to expand in Africa and claw back market share.  Mminele, 54, will begin on 15 January 2020.  The company has been led by another ex-regulator, Rene van Wyk, since February.  Mminele joins after a six-month cooling-off period since leaving the Sarb at the end of June.  Absa has been without a permanent CEO since Maria Ramos quit after leading the split from the lender’s former parent Barclays Plc.  The new CEO will first have to tackle key information-technology projects before pushing ahead with full force on Absa’s growth ambitions, Jan Meintjes of Denker Capital commented.  Mminele becomes the first black CEO of Absa and only the third black person to take the helm of one of the country’s four biggest banks.  Sim Tshabalala heads the Standard Bank Group, the continent’s largest lender, while Sizwe Nxasana led FirstRand Ltd. until 2015.  Mminele was responsible for financial markets and international-economic relations at the central bank, where he served two five-year terms as deputy governor.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Roxanne Henderson at Bloomberg. Read too, Who is Absa’s new group CEO Daniel Mminele? at Moneyweb. And also, Absa's new boss faces tough fight to win back business, at Fin24

New bill will stop SGBs appointing school principals, deputy principals and heads of department

Daily News reports that a new draft bill will strip school governing bodies (SGBs) of the authority to appoint school principals, their deputies and heads of department.  According to the Department of Basic Education, the bill is intended to address corruption in such appointments.  Teachers’ unions in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) have vowed to oppose the department’s draft Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill.  Expressing their unhappiness ahead of a stakeholders’ meeting with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga later this month to finalise submissions on the bill, unions said stripping SGBs of their powers to appoint principals would also strip them of the right to be part of the school.  SGBs are also opposing the proposal to be stripped of powers, warning that they would do anything to ensure that the power to appoint school heads remained with them.  Matakanye Matakanya of the National Association of Schools Governing Bodies said dire consequences would come with denying communities the right to have a say in the appointments, viz.:  “The department will be taking us back to the era of apartheid where leaders, including school principals, were imposed on the community.  We aren’t about to allow that to happen again.”  SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) KZN secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said the union trusted SGBs with all their responsibilities, including the appointment of school principals and their deputies.  National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA spokesperson Thirona Moodley said Naptosa believed the bill would do more harm than good.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sne Masuku at Daily News

No new staff or flashy events as ANC reworks its budget, but retrenchments not an option

City Press reports that writes that if ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile has his way, the political party will not employ more staff, and it will cut back on bling events and ditch some of its expensive programmes.  The party, which celebrated its 108th anniversary in Kimberley on Saturday, is reported to be going through a financial slump that saw it fail to pay its staff last month’s salaries on time.  In the past, it has had to be taken to court for nonpayment of services rendered for its lavish celebrations.  Mashatile said the party had made a decision to rework its budget and how it operated, and also investigate whether its staff numbers were correct for a modern ANC.  He advised that the party would be bringing in a financial consulting company to conduct a thorough assessment of where cuts should be made.  “We have appointed a company to do the reorganisation of the ANC.  We need look at our offices, see what key portfolios need to be filled and so on.  From there, we will know what the right size is for the modern ANC that we are building.  We do not want to retrench people, but we are going to ensure that there is not continuous employment, which will blow up our salary bill,” Mashatile said.  He guaranteed that there would be no retrenchments:  “We are going to avoid growth of personnel, so we want to rightsize the organisation.  We do not want to retrench people, but we are going to ensure that there is not continuous employment, which will blow up our salary bill.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Queenin Masuabi at City Press


QUALIFICATIONS

Senior Dihlabeng municipal official accused of falsifying qualifications for R1m job

SowetanLive reports that a senior official at the Dihlabeng local municipality has been accused of falsifying her qualifications to land a plush job in the embattled municipality in eastern Free State.  Seipati Mavis Mabula, the director of corporate services in the municipality, allegedly submitted a fraudulent bachelor of administration degree that did not contain the day on which she received it nor did it contain a certificate number.  Her position sees her receiving an annual salary of between R900,000 to R1,1m.  A report compiled by the office of the auditor-general flagged Mabula's qualifications after discrepancies in a copy of a degree that Mabula provided to substantiate her application were picked up.  The report indicated that the municipality's management failed to implement adequate validation controls for certificates submitted in support of academic qualifications.  But, Mabula said she obtained her degree through the correct channels and denied that she falsified her qualifications.  "It's a lie that my degree was obtained unlawfully.  I studied at UFS, Qwaqwa campus.  The institution told me that I owed R7,000 and needed to pay it before it can give me the transcripts that are outstanding," Mabula stated.  She promised to provide her student number, along with a letter from the SA Qualifications Authority indicating that her qualification was valid, but subsequently made an about-turn and referred enquiries to the municipality's spokesperson.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tankiso Makhetha at SowetanLive


REMUNERATION / SALARY ADMINISTRATION

Samwu again in row with City of Tshwane over pay adjustments

Pretoria News reports that the regional branch of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) is again at odds with the City of Tshwane over wage increases, an issue that led to a crippling unprotected strike last year.  Regional union secretary Mpho Tladinyane said more than 100 shop stewards would picket on Monday at Tshwane House with a view to putting pressure on the acting city manager, Makgorometje Makgata, to resolve their grievances and avert further action.  Tladinyane said the workers’ contention was that there had been an “incorrect calculation” of new salary scales to be implemented in line with the City’s category 10 status.  The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs moved Tshwane from a level nine municipality to 10 in 2017, but its employees’ salary scales were not adjusted in line with its new higher status.  Last year, workers took to the streets of the capital over the salary adjustment dispute, bringing the city to a standstill.  To break the impasse, an investigation was undertaken to benchmark salary scales in Tshwane with those in other metros.  The report generally revealed discrepancies between workers in Tshwane and those in other major metros.  The City was expected to address the problem in December, but that was not done.  Tladinyane fingered the City’s governance support officer (GSO), Lorette Tredoux, as the person frustrating the process to meet metro workers’ demands.  He claimed Tredoux relied on “incorrect calculations” to determine new salary scales.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sakhile Ndlazi at Pretoria News


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Tshwane train commuters face delays from Monday

Pretoria News reports that Tshwane train commuters will experience delays from Monday as the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) has not finished replacing stolen overhead cables.  United Commuter Voice general-secretary Phumulani Ndlovu issued this warning.  He said many companies would be resuming full operations and schools would be reopening this week, so commuter volumes were expected to rise markedly from Monday.  If there were delays people would be late for work.  He claimed the problems were a direct result of Prasa getting rid of security companies.  Prasa spokesperson Nana Zenani said they were experiencing unprecedented levels of vandalism across all the regional Metrorail and Shosholoza Meyl services, resulting in disruptions to commuter services.  In a statement released on Friday, she said:  “Vandalism of electrical wires and the destruction of Prasa infrastructure has resulted in vast sections being closed down due to lack of electrical lines.  This, with ongoing modernisation of stations and other related infrastructure has forced Metrorail, the rail operator, to severely scale back its service with some corridors being completely closed in various regions.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by James Mahlokwane at Pretoria News

 


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