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 early morning roundup, see summaries
of our selection of recent South African labour-
labour-related reports.


COVID-19 THIRD WAVE AND VACCINATION ROLLOUT

Acting health minister warns of Covid-19 spike because of likelihood that looters 'may be carriers'

News24 writes that South Africans must prepare themselves for a resurgence of escalating Covid-19 infections numbers. The recent wave of unrest which swept across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng is expected to lead to an increase in Covid-19 cases in those provinces.   Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said the health department was preparing for a spike in Covid-19 numbers from next week. She said:   “I continue to worry about the recent protests. They are a disaster in the health sector. We saw people fleeing from crowded places with looted items. The majority of them were not wearing masks.   They didn't even observe social distancing. The consequence of their actions is that we will have a surge in numbers. We won't see those numbers today. They will start showing from next week. Those escalating numbers will result in increased hospitalisation and deaths.” She appealed to all who participated in the protests to come forward and present themselves for screening.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ntwaagae Seleka at News24

KwaZulu-Natal police commence roll out of Covid-19 vaccinations after delay caused by unrest

News24 reports that after a week's delay, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) police have kick-started their Covid-19 vaccination drive. According to police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe, 800 officers and support staff were vaccinated in the province on Tuesday.   The police launched its vaccination drive on 5 July when Police Minister Bheki Cele and national commissioner Khehla Sitole received their jab alongside other officers at Orlando Stadium in Gauteng. But vaccinations, including the launch of the police's drive in KZN, came to a halt last week due to widespread riots across the province. Police officers were deployed to various areas to disperse scores of people who were looting and vandalising property. KZN police said they would open 11 sites to vaccinate about 30,000 personnel, including reservists, security guards, and interns.   National units, which were deployed to KZN due to the unrest, will also be vaccinated in the province.   KZN deputy police commissioner Major-General Phindile Radebe was the first to be vaccinated. Mathe reported that 42,216 police personnel nationally had been vaccinated as of Tuesday evening.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sesona Ngqakamba at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Christo Wiese 'recovering well' at home after three weeks in hospital with Covid-19, at Fin24
  • Covid-19 cuts SA’s life expectancy, at The Star
  • Lewensverwagting in SA daal skerp weens Covid-19, by Maroela Media
  • Vinpro confirms hearing date for interim interdict application to lift latest ban on liquor sales, at Engineering News


RECOVERY FROM UNREST AND LOOTING

As stability returns, military to remain deployed in Gauteng and KZN

BL Premium reports that the deployment of members of the SA Defence Force (SANDF) to hotspots in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) over the recent past will remain in place until it is safe enough to retreat, according to acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.   The R615m operation was launched by the SANDF to quell unrest in the two provinces that were the scenes of an attempted insurrection after former president Jacob Zuma’s imprisonment on 7 July. At least 215 people died in the unrest over seven days and more than 3,000 have been arrested, including six who have been identified by the police as instigators of the violence. The government had initially fingered 12 alleged instigators of the violence, however, Ntshavheni said this number was likely to increase as investigations continued. By Tuesday, no further incidents of violence or looting had been reported.   The military deployed more than 21,000 of its members after the violence, which began in KZN, rapidly moved to Gauteng. Law enforcement remains with the police, with the SANDF conducting roadblocks, vehicle control points, foot and vehicle patrols, cordoning and searching vehicles, clearing roads that were blocked and protecting national key points.   The unrest disrupted the N3 highway, which has been reopened along with the resumption of operations at most shopping malls and at the ports Durban and Richards Bay.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Thando Maeko at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Ramaphosa promises to help businesses rebuild with extensive social and economic relief package

BL Premium reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa, the premiers of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and several cabinet ministers met with 90 CEOs and business and industry leaders on Tuesday. He promised to help businesses rebuild after the violence and looting of last week and called on them to join investment “roadshows” overseas to promote the country. It is expected that the civil unrest will have a lasting effect on SA’s attractiveness as an investment destination. Attracting investment is one of the most important aims of Ramaphosa’s presidency and critical to economic growth and employment.   Ramaphosa indicated that “an extensive social and economic relief package to support poor households and provide assistance to affected businesses and employees” would be announced in the next few days. The government would prioritise township and informal businesses, he said.   Among other things, these measures would provide immediate assistance to poor households affected by the pandemic and the recent violence; help businesses to rebuild in the aftermath of looting and destruction of property; support sectors that were affected by restrictions on economic activity; and, contribute to the longer-term goal of increasing growth, boosting employment and eradicating poverty.   “This package will include both the extension and repurposing of some of the Covid-19 relief measures and specific relief for sectors affected by the violence like retail and property.   The measures should support the work under way to reopen stores, find alternative retail sites and rehabilitate shopping centres and malls,” he said. In his opening remarks Ramaphosa again emphasised that the violent ctions were those of a failed insurrection.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Carol Paton at BusinessLive. Read too, Ramaphosa tells business social and economic relief package being finalised, at Engineering News

Looting cost KZN economy R20bn and probably 150,000 jobs, says Presidency

TimesLIVE reports that the violent protests and looting that broke out in the wake of former president Jacob Zuma's incarceration has cost the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) economy R20bn. This rampage — which included damaged property, setting alight factories and trucks and looting — spiralled into what government has since labelled a “failed insurgency”. The protests rapidly moved to Gauteng and followed a similar trend. Addressing the media on Tuesday, acting minister in the presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said the damage to factories and retail facilities would hurt the economy. Citing figures from the SA Property Owners' Association, she said the estimated losses would be “R20bn in KZN”. “In terms of extensive damage, 161 malls were affected, 11 warehouses, eight factories affected and 161 liquor outlets and distributors were extensively damaged,” Ntshavheni indicated. She reported that a further 200 shopping centres were looted while more than 100 malls were burnt or sustained significant fire damage.   Further data will still be collected on the protests in Gauteng. Ntshavheni reckoned that as a result of the damage, 150,000 jobs were at risk in KZN.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Aphiwe Deklerk at TimesLIVE. Read too, Ntshavheni says the jobs of 150,000 people are at risk, at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Business rallies behind government to get economy going again, at Business Report
  • ‘Ons moet herstel, herbou ná onluste’ – Ramaphosa, by Maroela Media
  • Durban and Richards Bay harbours back to normal with trains running, at BusinessLive (paywall access only)
  • Shell and BP refineries to resume operations after unrest shutdown, at TimesLIVE
  • Over 200 Shoprite group stores looted in last week’s unrest, at Moneyweb


BASIC INCOME GRANT

Basic income grant ‘unaffordable right now’, says investment community

Business Report writes that the investment community has shot down as unfeasible the proposed multibillion-rand basic income grant scheme that the government is mulling introducing to curb poverty. President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday indicated that the government was investigating the feasibility of introducing a basic income grant in SA. Investors reacted by indicating that they would await more clarity on the full cost to the fiscus that this new grant would entail as more than a third of the SA population was unemployed. Anchor Capital’s Casey Delport said on Monday that as things currently stood, they had a mixed view on the implementation of a basic income grant.   Noting that from a socio-political perspective there was indeed a strong argument to be made for its implementation, she said that from a fiscal perspective, “the situation gets a tad murkier”. Delport pointed out that the National Treasury simply did not have the funds available, which left questions as to who would carry the fiscal burden as new debt issuance was also not possible. She added that the grant “will not address the long-term structural issues in the economy that desperately need to be solved.” Old Mutual Investments chief economist Johann Els said the fiscus could not afford both the basic income grant and national health insurance amid a weak economic growth trajectory. He speculated that maybe in 10 to 15 years’ time the scheme would be affordable when the fiscal position had improved.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Siphelele Dludla at Business Report


WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

Salga to hold bilateral talks with each union to try to break municipal wage impasse

BL Premium reports that the association representing SA’s 257 municipalities is set to embark on bilateral talks with the two recognised unions in the bargaining council in a bid to break the wage dispute and avoid strike action. The bid by the SA Local Government Association (Salga) comes after the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal & Allied Trade Union (Imatu) rejected an independent facilitator’s proposal in June for a three-year pay deal with a 4% increase in the first year, and the consumer price index (CPI) minus 1% in the second and third years. The facilitator’s proposal was made after both unions rejected Salga’s offer of a 2.8% increase. In May, Samwu, which initially demanded a one-year agreement with a R4,000 pay rise across the board, revised its demand to the greater of R2,500 or 7%. Imatu is demanding 9% or R2,500. Samwu has since reverted to its original demand for a R4,000 increase, and is threatening a strike if Salga does not accede to it. The parties, which all declared disputes in July, met for conciliation at the SA Local Government Bargaining Council on Monday and Tuesday in an effort to resolve the wage impasse. Imatu’s Johan Koen reported: “The conciliation is going to be extended until August 2-3. Salga’s political leaders have asked to meet the leadership of both unions to try to resolve the impasse.” The parties will return to conciliation if no settlement is reached through the bilateral process.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Luyolo Mkentane at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Popcru plays public sector wage cards close to chest as unions continue balloting

Fin24 reports that the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said on Monday that it would reserve its right to consult membership on the latest public service wage offer made by government at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council. Government, through the Department of Public Service and Administration, tabled a revised offer last week Friday of a 1.5% pensionable salary increase from 1 April to 31 March next year, with a monthly gratuity ranging from R1,200 to R1,600, depending on pay grade. Unions have been given 21 days from the formal tabling of the revised offer to consult with membership to get a mandate to either accept or reject the offer. If the majority of unions do not accept the offer, it will fall off the table and a party will have to request that it be resubmitted for further negotiation or more time to get a mandate. So far, the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) and the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA (Naptosa) have accepted the offer, while Popcru and the Public Servants Association (PSA) have registered their rejection of the offer, while committing to canvas membership for a final mandate.   In an internal circular, Popcru said it believed the revised offer would "not amount to real salary increase for public servants". A PSA spokesperson said the union would have a final mandate on whether to accept or reject the offer by Tuesday. The eight unions involved in talks are the PSA, Popcru, Sadtu, Sapu, Denosa, Nehawu, Naptosa and Hospersa.

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

Solidarity accuses Agricultural Research Council of turning a blind eye to the fate of its employees

Trade union Solidarity on Tuesday accused the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of being stubborn and of acting indifferently towards its employees. This came after Solidarity refused to accept the 0% salary increase proposal tabled by ARC. According to the council, no increases were presently being granted by any state structures and that it, too, would therefore not grant its employees increases. However, Solidarity, together with Nehawu, has challenged that view, contending that several other state-related organisations have granted increases to employees. ARC employees have apparently not received increases in the past few years. “It is absurd that these employees have to endure yet another year without an increase. While inflation, and thus also the cost of living, are on the increase workers become poorer. ARC has decided to maintain a 0% increase offer and flatly refuses to come to the table with any proposals or to shift its target. No attempt to reach consensus is even made. Such stance can be regarded as nothing but malicious,” said Riaan Visser, Deputy Chief Executive of Solidarity’s Mining, Agriculture and Chemical Sectors.   According to an audit commissioned by ARC, 62% of its employees are looking for jobs elsewhere. “Neither Solidarity nor Nehawu accepts ARC’s refusal to grant increases and will continue to fight against the exploitation of members,” Visser indicated.

Read Solidarity’s full press statement regarding the above at Solidarity News. Lees ook, Geen verhoging vir werkers by LNR, at Maroela Media


MINING LABOUR

Kumba Iron Ore breaks ground on lifestyle complex in Postmasburg

Mining Weekly reports that Anglo American group subsidiary Kumba Iron Ore’s Kolomela mine has broken ground on a multipurpose lifestyle complex in the small Northern Cape town of Postmasburg, which the company says will transform the lives of the Tsantsabane community. The 16 ha complex will provide a range of sporting, recreational, educational, health, retail and arts and crafts facilities.   It will include a comprehensive upgrade of the existing showground’s sporting facilities, with the addition of a community swimming pool; the development of a 24-hour emergency medical facility; and a retail park that caters to micro-business traders. The first phase of the project started in April.   The entire project will be funded and managed by Kumba, in partnership with the Tsantsabane local municipality and funding partners such as the Sishen Iron Ore Company Community Development Trust and local businesses. Kolomela mine corporate affairs manager Mavis Kolberg said the project aimed to improve the quality of life of the entire Tsantsabane community.   Local businesses will be hired for many of the projects, providing jobs and economic activity, and the completed complex will provide a venue for small businesses to ply their trade.   “We see this complex as transformational for the town and the broader community,” said Kolberg.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Mining Weekly


PPE CORRUPTION

SIU welcomes dismissal of senior Gauteng health department official implicated in PPE tender scandal

News24 reports that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the dismissal of a senior Gauteng health department official for her alleged involvement in a tender scandal surrounding the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE). According to the SIU, Thandiwe Pino, chief director of supply chain and asset management at the Gauteng Department of Health, was dismissed for her alleged involvement in the irregular awarding of contracts by the department in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The SIU investigated allegations of maladministration, greed, nepotism and corruption in the appointment of service providers by the Gauteng Department of Health to supply PPE and related goods and services.   According to the allegations referred by the Office of the Premier in Gauteng in March 2020, the department irregularly awarded a contract to the value of R125 million to Royal Bhaca Projects. Ledla Structural Development, a company with links to Royal Bhaca, was appointed to provide PPE valued at R139 million and Beadica 423 was awarded a contract to supply PPE valued at R68 million. The investigation revealed that proper procurement processes were not followed in awarding the contracts by the former chief financial officer Kabelo Lehloenya and Pino. Lehloenya resigned when the allegations surfaced. The Special Tribunal granted a preservation order to the SIU to freeze her pension benefits pending the finalisation of civil action against her.   The SIU referred the evidence against Pino to the department for disciplinary action and was informed that Pino was found guilty on the disciplinary charges and a sanction of dismissal was imposed.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nicole McCain at News24


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Approximately 100,000 bus commuters affected by Cape Town taxi violence

ANA reports that the Golden Arrow Bus Service (Gabs) said on Tuesday that the taxi violence in Cape Town, which has forced the company to operate a limited number of buses, has affected approximately 100,000 of its commuters. A Gabs bus driver was shot on Monday morning while transporting passengers along the N2 highway near Borcherds Quarry. The driver sustained a gunshot wound to his mouth. Gabs spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer said the driver, who has been in service for six years, was in a stable condition. On Monday evening, commuters were left stranded as the bus drivers refused to get behind the wheel in fear for their lives. Cape Town is in the grip of a taxi war between rival “mother body” associations, specifically the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta).   Dyke-Beyer advised Gabs, which had 1,100 buses, was currently running at approximately 40% capacity, with the most affected routes being Blue Downs, Mitchells Plain and Delft. “We are working closely with law enforcement, who are assisting us with escorts in areas of concern. What is needed most is for the authorities to find a lasting solution to the current crisis. Approximately 100,000 of our own passengers and thousands of others who were not able to make use of taxis and trains were affected,” she said.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Robin-Lee Francke at Independent Media

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


OTHER HEADLINES OF INTEREST

  • Workforce attitudes towards company culture vary markedly, says PwC, at Engineering News
  • Staff, PPE shortages at Kariega hospital means patients admitted at night are left unattended, says Nehawu, at News24

 


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