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


Unemployment rate decreased slightly in third quarter to 31.9%

The Citizen reports that the unemployment rate decreased slightly by 0.7% to 31.9% in the third quarter from 32.6% in the second quarter. According to the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) released on Monday by Statistics SA, employment in SA increased by 399,000 jobs in the third quarter of the year, with 16,7 million people employed in the quarter compared to 16,3 million in the second quarter. The number of unemployed people decreased 72,000 to 7,8 million.   In addition, the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement decreased 160,000 to 13,1 million, while the discouraged work-seekers decreased by 26,000 compared to the second quarter, resulting in a net decrease of 186,000. The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition decreased by 0.9 of a percentage point to 41.2% in the third quarter compared to the second quarter. Although youth employment increased slightly by 1.9 percentage points, the unemployment percentage for people between the ages of 15 and 34 was still very high at 43.4% after reaching 45.3% in the second quarter.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ina Opperman at The Citizen. Read too, Unemployment rate decreases to 31.9%, at Engineering News. And also, Employment back to pre-Covid levels after job growth, at Fin24

Unemployment rate decline still too insignificant to celebrate, says research group

The Citizen reports that the unemployment rate declined more than expected in the third quarter, but it was still very high and nothing to celebrate. The latest data from Statistics SA shows the official unemployment rate declined by 0.7 percentage points from 32.6% in the second quarter to 31.9% in the third quarter of the year. According to economic research group Oxford Economics Africa, although the decrease in unemployment was encouraging, SA’s unemployment rate remained far too high and has not declined sufficiently from the pandemic peak of 35.3% reached at the end of 2021. “A lack of infrastructure investment over the years has limited economic growth potential, which means the economy is unable to produce enough jobs to satisfy demand. We forecast South Africa’s unemployment rate will hover at current high levels over the medium term,” Jee-A van der Linde, senior economist for the group, commented. The decrease was lower than the group’s expectation of 32.5%. “Jobs shed in manufacturing (-50,000), mining (-35,000), transport (-20,000) and utilities (-16,000) highlight the poor performance that productive sectors experienced in the third quarter. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that these trends might portend sluggish growth over the coming quarters,” the group indicated.   While the financial sector managed to employ more people, job losses in manufacturing and mining point to a weak economic environment.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ina Opperman at The Citizen

Manufacturing, mining jobs drop by thousands, despite broader employment gains

TimesLIVE reports that while the number of formally employed South Africans ticked upwards by nearly 400,000 in the third quarter of 2023, manufacturing and mining shed thousands of jobs. The Stats SA quarterly labour force survey released on Tuesday showed that the number of employed people increased by 399,000 to 16.7-million in the third quarter of 2023 compared with 16.3-million in the second quarter. However, while jobs in finance were up by 237,000, social services by 119,000 and agriculture by 61,000, jobs in manufacturing dropped by 50,000, while jobs in mining fell by 35,000. Mining lost 7.8% of its jobs in the third quarter while manufacturing lost 3.2%.   Transport and utilities jobs were down by 20,000 and 16,000 respectively. The decline in mining and manufacturing jobs brings into sharp focus the operational troubles at Transnet, which faces a R130bn debt burden, R5.7bn in losses and severe logistics constraints. Stats SA acknowledged that SA’s youth remained vulnerable to unemployment as the total number of unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 34 decreased by 174,000 to a still-staggering 4.6-million in the third quarter.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Werkloosheidskoers net-net laer, by Maroela Media
  • Western Cape, City of Cape Town officials laud gains made in Quarterly Labour Force Survey, at Cape Argus
  • ANC se ‘Groot Broer’-benadering smoor werkskepping, by Maroela Media


Probe into death of three navy officers in Kommetjie submarine tragedy extended

News24 reports that the chief of the SA Navy has approved an extension for a board of inquiry to complete its investigation into the deadly SAS Manthatisi tragedy. On 20 September, three navy submarine officers died off the coast of Kommetjie when a wave swept seven of the eight crew members from the deck of the submarine. Following the fatal accident, a board of inquiry was instituted to investigate all events that led to the tragic incident. "The Board of Inquiry has requested an extension of the time allocated in order to successfully complete its work. The Chief of the SA Navy, Vice Admiral Monde Lobese, acceded to this request and has granted the requested extension," the SA Navy advised on Monday. At the time of the incident, the crew members were executing a "vertical transfer" of supplies with the assistance of a SA Air Force Lynx helicopter.   The crew were going to transfer personnel equipment from the helicopter to the submarine when the officers were swept overboard. Flag Officer Fleet Rear Admiral Musawenkosi Nkomonde emphasised at the time that the ship was seaworthy and that all protocols had been followed.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Marvin Charles at News24 (subscriber access only)

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Popcru worried about the safety of staff at Pietermaritzburg prison, at The Witness


NUM agrees to end closed shop agreement at Gold One

BL Premium reports that Gold One is set to resume production on Wednesday after a labour turf battle hampered operations for nearly a month at its East Rand mine. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has agreed to terminate its closed-shop agreement at the Gold One mine. It confirmed late on Tuesday that it took the decision to “safeguard jobs” and “save the lives of innocent workers”.   The stalemate over union members between NUM and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) resulted in a hostage situation/sit-in last month and a large protest on Monday, during which 11 of the workers were arrested. Amcu had argued that NUM was no longer the majority union at the mine and it demanded a ballot of members there, which NUM had resisted. Gold One’s Ziyaad Hassam advised that the NUM’s closed-shop agreement dated back to 2012 and the labour environment had been fairly stable since then, until the sit-in/hostage situation last month. Amcu then approached the Labour Court to force the company to hold a ballot of 1,800 category A and B workers at the mine. The case was expected to be heard on Thursday. Amcu is likely to call for a ballot of all workers at the mine in coming days to determine which union is entitled to recognition at the mine.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Natasha Marrian at BusinessLive (subscriber access only). Read too, NUM terminates closed-shop agreement at Gold One's Modder East, at TimesLIVE

Gold One mine bosses snub Modder East residents amid safety and security concerns

EWN reports that management at the Gold One mine are snubbing Modder East residents amid safety and security concerns following sporadic protests outside the operation. A labour dispute between the company and workers over organisational rights remains largely unresolved as workers want the mine to fast track a balloting process that could see the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) being given rights to represent them. Under an agreement that has now been terminated, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) had exclusive rights to represent workers.   According to some residents near the mine, the failure to resolve the labour dispute internally has had an impact on their safety and security. Earlier in the week, tensions escalated again when pro-Amcu protesters squared off against police. Teargas and rubber bullets were fired by police to disperse the armed group outside the mine. A charred vehicle was left on the street as collateral damage. Concerned residents have now written to the mine management calling for an urgent meeting and demanding a timeline for when the labour issue will be resolved. But, community member Melissa Cronje said they were still waiting for a response from the mine management to their request. “We don’t want to get involved, we just want to say, ‘get your house in order’ because you’re washing your dirty laundry in the streets and, at the end of the day, the residents are suffering,” Cronje stated.   With the mine up and running again, police are continuing to monitor the situation.

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Nokukhanya Mntambo at EWN

It’s likely to be a losing battle against zama-zamas

City Press reports that security experts warn that government’s plan to eradicate illegal mining syndicates is going to backfire as these syndicates are too well armed, equipped and funded to be displaced. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last week that 3,300 soldiers would help the police over the next six months in intensified actions to eradicate illegal mining operations. Joe van der Walt, CEO of the Focus Group which oversees the safety and risk management of mining companies in the gold, chrome and diamond industries, says successful operations could only be carried out if thorough planning had been done based on verified information. “It’s expensive and time-consuming and something that should be handled by specialists. You have to act specifically and carefully because you’re working with people’s lives,” he pointed out. Waal de Waal, chief operating officer of Bidvest Protea Coin, which manages the safety and security of more than 100 mines in the country, has also questioned the army’s involvement. He asked:   “Is it to scare the [zama-zamas], eliminate them or are we simply trying to keep them away from residential areas where they become an ever greater threat to citizens’ safety?” De Waal is also sceptical about the timing of the initiative, as many of the illegal miners return to their countries of origin over the December holidays. Willem Els from the Institute for Security Studies, who has been part of numerous underground operations against illegal miners, doubts whether army members are trained to arrest zama-zamas.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Riana De Lange at City Press (subscriber access only)

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Vantage Goldfields in court again, fighting to keep control of Lily and Barbrook mines, at City Press (subscriber access only)


Finance committee recommends expanding zero-rated food basket, but Treasury is strongly opposed

BL Premium reports that parliament’s standing committee on finance has recommended that the basket of zero-rated foods be expanded to relieve households in distress. The recommendation forms part of the committee’s report compiled after public hearings on the medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) tabled in parliament earlier in November, and a response by the Treasury to the submissions. Currently, zero-VAT-rated food items include brown bread, maize meal, rice, vegetables, milk, vegetable oil and eggs, among others.   DA finance spokesperson Dion George wants the basket expanded to include bone-in chicken, beef, tinned beans, wheat flour, margarine, peanut butter, baby food, tea, coffee and soup powder. In his parliamentary reply, Godongwana referred to an independent panel report in 2018, which found that extending zero-rated food items would be inefficient as it would benefit high-income families more. Those goods that were already zero-rated benefited the poor as they consumed a relatively high share of those items. The minister insisted that the Treasury would not change its position in this regard. But, George called on Godongwana to act on the committee’s recommendation. He also strongly opposed new taxes being imposed to fund an expanded zero-VAT-rated basket, which he said could be financed through prudent financial management.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Linda Ensor at BusinessLive (subscriber access only). Lees ook, Finansieskomitee vir voorstel om BTW op sekere kos te skrap, by Maroela Media


Late severance payments stressed us too, Independent Newspapers tells axed staff

Fin24 reports that Independent Newspapers has apologised to more than 100 retrenched staff for not paying their severance packages on time. The newspaper group had promised to pay 128 staff members, who were let go last month, the first tranche of their severance pay on 31 October. But the payments were delayed by almost two weeks, which the media group blamed on "last-minute funding delays from our shareholders". "It was never our intention to be so delayed in the payment process, and we have been just as stressed as we can only imagine you have been, in sorting this out," the group's HR said in an internal email on Friday.   Independent had hashed out an agreement to pay severance packages to the retrenched staff over three months rather than in a single lump sum due to financial constraints. Retrenched staff confirmed they received the first tranche of funds on Monday. But they are already worried about whether the next two tranches of their severance packages will also be delayed. "The lack of communication and professionalism is on another level.   We will wait and see what happens," said a former staff member on Monday. The media group also said sorry for issuing retrenched staff with grocery vouchers that did not come pre-loaded with funds. SA's newspaper and magazine industries have been facing tough market conditions for years, with falling circulation figures and declining advertising leading to layoffs at all major publishers.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jan Cronje at Fin24


There’s no work permit crisis and business sector is using Home Affairs as a scapegoat, says minister

Bloomberg News reports that Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has dismissed criticism that his department was causing a skills crisis by failing to process work-permit applications.   In his view, the department was becoming a “scapegoat” for the failures of business. According to Motsoaledi, there is no backlog of critical skills applications and the DHA is working expeditiously to process requests in the pipeline. “I am starting to believe that when businessmen are failing to step up to the pedal and improve the economy, the scapegoat is Home Affairs. We do everything in our power to help businesses,” Motsoaledi said in an interview on eNCA television Monday. A report commissioned by the Presidency and published earlier this year indicated that the lengthy delays in processing work visas were hampering growth and deterring investment. It said a lack of skills was the second-biggest threat to the economy, after the energy crisis. While SA takes 48 weeks or more to process an application Kenya takes 12 and Nigeria eight, the Presidency noted in the report. “A lack of critical skills is holding back the South African economy.   The fact that companies can’t fill the positions means they can’t invest and expand,” Business Leadership SA CEO Busi Mavuso wrote in a column published on Monday.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • SA has millions of foreigners who are unaccounted for, says Home Affairs minister, at The Star


Mpumalanga traffic cop sentenced to 12 months or R4,000 fine for soliciting R200 bribe

The Witness reports that the Ermelo Regional Court has sentenced a Mpumalanga traffic officer to 12 months’ imprisonment or a R4,000 fine for taking a R200 bribe from undercover anti-corruption agents.   According to Simon Zwane of the Road Traffic Management Corporation, the arrest came as part of an undercover operation. “G. M Hleza was arrested after soliciting a R200 bribe from an agent during Project Arrive Alive on January 22, 2020,” Zwane indicated in a statement. He added that two undercover agents testified during his trial and the state proved beyond reasonable doubt that Hleza was guilty on all charges. “Hleza later pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to a R4,000 fine or 12 months’ imprisonment, he is further sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for 5 years should he not be convicted of the same crime during this period,” the statement advised. Zwane went on to indicate: “A disciplinary hearing found him (Hleza) guilty and terminated his employment. He took the matter to arbitration but failed to have the decision of the disciplinary committee overturned.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Akheel Sewsunker at The Witness

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Assistant Master of High Court sentenced for corruption in ‘buy and bust’ case, at Cape Times


Numsa protests against decision to clear a company manager of sexual harassment charges

City Press reports that members of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) gathered outside the Sylvania Metals offices in Constantia Park, Johannesburg, on Tuesday to protest the company's handling of a sexual harassment case. The union alleged that a manager at the company sexually harassed a woman employee and that the company failed to take appropriate action against him. In its memorandum of demands, Numsa called for the immediate suspension of the operations manager, Tebogo Rasepei, pending an independent investigation.   Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi Majola disputed the findings of an internal investigation into the sexual harassment allegations against Rasepei, asserting that the investigator, LabourNet, was biased in favour of Sylvania Metals. She said: “As Numsa, we reject the findings by LabourNet because they are on Sylvania's payroll and cannot be considered impartial in this matter. We demand that an independent investigation by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration look into this matter, and we will accept that outcome.” Numsa also alleged that Sylvania Metals unjustifiably dismissed the chairperson of the shop stewards' committee out of fear of the union's growing influence. Additionally, the union claimed that the company sacked a member for exposing a safety hazard involving an engineer and for having a disagreement with a security officer. Sylvania pledged to respond within seven days.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Yamkeleka Manjeya at City Press (subscriber access only)


  • SA’s civil servants eat like kings: High salaries raise questions amidst poor service delivery, at BizNews
  • Santaco calls for urgent intervention in latest KZN taxi war, at Daily News
  • Crimen injuria-verhoor van polisiehoë begin uiteindelik, by Maroela Media


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page