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


SA platinum industry could shed up to 7,000 jobs to cut costs

Reuters reports that the the Minerals Council SA (MCSA) said on Monday that restructuring of SA’s platinum group metals (PGM) industry in response to rising costs and falling prices could result in between 4,000 and 7,000 job cuts. South Africa’s PGM miners were discussing the need to restructure unprofitable production, the council said at the start of the Investing in African Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town. The MCSA said the sector, largely dependent on automakers’ use of PGMs to curb exhaust emissions from engines, faced “a great deal of uncertainty” as the world pivoted towards electric vehicles. SA has some of the world’s oldest and deepest platinum mines, which are expensive to operate, especially when metal prices are low. Electricity and labour costs account for most of PGM miners’ total costs. Anglo American Platinum, which employs more than 20,000 workers in SA, is reviewing costs. Sibanye-Stillwater, SA’s biggest mining sector employer, has indicated that its planned restructuring could lead to the closure of four loss-making PGM shafts and the loss of 4,095 jobs. Impala Platinum said it was offering voluntary job cuts to workers at its SA operations.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)


Tragic end to Mpumalanga trainee Sangoma while performing rituals in river

The Citizen reports that a 25-year-old trainee traditional healer has reportedly drowned in the Rainbow River in Mpumalanga while performing rituals. Police have since warned communities – especially at Majembeni Trust near Bushbuckridge, where the incident occurred around 9am on Sunday morning – to be cautious when in or close to the waters. Colonel Donald Mdhluli reported: “According to information, three male trainees and the female traditional healer went to the river to perform some rituals. During the process, one of the trainees disappeared inside the river.   A search was conducted with no luck.   The matter was immediately reported to the police and police divers were summoned to the scene but sadly the body was retrieved after three hours, at about 12:00.” Mdhluli indicated that there were no visible injuries on the man’s body. An inquest was opened by the police and the matter will be investigated.   Mpumalanga’s Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela cautioned the public to be extra careful when conducting similar activities in the rivers.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nicholas Zaal at The Citizen

Air Force's 22 Squadron hero pilot’s evasive actions save the day, avoiding crash in DRC

City Press reports that had it not been for the Air Force 22 Squadron commander who employed desperate evasive tactics on Friday morning as rebel gunfire ripped through the Oryx he was piloting, everyone on board would probably have been killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Shooting by the rebels – presumably the infamous M23 forces who had earlier said they were ready to fight the South Africans – almost completely severed a finger of Major Jannie Augustyn and left one of his legs full of shrapnel.   With him in the Oryx were copilot Major Harvey Strauss, flight engineer Sergeant Divan Adams, medical staff, and an Indian patient who was part of a medical evacuation. The shot that hit Augustyn’s hand lodged in the helicopter’s joystick. The bullet that filled one of his legs with shrapnel entered the helicopter from below, leaving an enormous hole in the aircraft. A medical orderly, Sergeant Mahlalela, was seriously wounded in the side when a bullet struck him below his bulletproof vest, after entering through the Oryx’s floor. His lungs were also badly injured and he was taken to a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. The helicopter was hit at least 43 times and a hydraulic system that controls the lowering of the undercarriage was damaged. Augustyn underwent surgery at the military hospital in Goma to try to save his finger and remove the shrapnel from his leg.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Decomposed body of Sekhukhune police officer found days after she was reported missing, at News24
  • Sex worker murders: 'I was with my young son when I found body in unused office,' says building caretaker, at TimesLive


Optimum Coal Mine to exit business rescue after six agonising years

Moneyweb reports that Optimum Coal Mine (OCM), once the most prized trophy in the Gupta family’s portfolio of state capture assets, is about to exit business rescue after six agonising years of court bust-ups and near-death experiences. Control of the mine will pass to Liberty Coal, controlled by British businessman and former Gupta associate Daniel McGowan. This follows an approach to the court by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Liberty Coal and others for an expedited forfeiture hearing, which would allow Liberty Coal to pay R461.7 million to the state, without admitting liability, thereby neutering the NPA’s claim that Gupta-controlled Tegeta Exploration & Resources had purchased Optimum assets with the proceeds of crime. The rescue of OCM was anything but smooth. There were multiple attempts by creditors to liquidate it. It is said to be somewhat astonishing that the NPA signed off on the deal giving Liberty Coal control, though this seems to have been the path of greatest expedience for reviving the mine and restoring the jobs of thousands of workers. Once OCM exits business rescue, Liberty Coal will take control of the mine from the contract miners. In a statement issued last week, Liberty Coal said the high court settlement was concluded purely for commercial reasons and should not be construed as an admission of guilt or liability for wrongdoing by the company. Ulrich Bester, director of Liberty Coal, indicated that the settlement agreement was motivated by mutual concern over the economic impacts of ongoing litigation on the mine, as well as its employees.   “Settlement was the only option to save jobs and protect the future of OCM for the benefit of its creditors, its workers, and the greater Hendrina community who rely on the mine for their livelihoods,” he said.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ciaran Ryan at Moneyweb

Mpumalanga community welcomes takeover of the Guptas' Optimum mine

City Press reports that the Mpumalanga Action Movement (MAM) has welcomed the settlement agreement reached over the Optimum Coal Mine (OCM), which will bring to an end the dispute that has dragged on for several years since the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decided to attach the assets of the mine. The movement represents residents of Hendrina, Middelburg and Emalahleni, many of whom were affected by the mine closure, while the dispute over the acquisition of the mine raged on. The NPA had argued that the mine was acquired through the proceeds of crime by the Gupta family. The new Optimum mine owner, Liberty Coal, welcomed last week's ruling by the North Gauteng High Court, which approved an order for settlement that would allow OCM to exit business rescue, trade as a going concern, and begin rebuilding the mine. Liberty Coal will pay R461.7 million to the State in place of the confiscation of property under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act. MAM’s spokesperson, Mpumelelo Mashifane, reacted:   “Members of the communities of Hendrina, Middelburg and Emalahleni are elated and overjoyed that this contentious matter that has so gravely affected us during the closure of the mine and recently the suspension of Optimum’s use of its coal terminal at the Richards Bay harbour has finally been brought to finality.” Mashifane said the closure of Optimum brought a lot of poverty, pain and strife to these communities who for decades had relied “on this bastion of coal mining to sustain livelihoods and the entire downstream economy linked to Africa’s largest coal mining operation.”

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


Provincial health departments to advertise 375 jobs over six months, says Phaahla

News24 reports that Health Minister Joe Phaahla has advised that health departments in various provinces would advertise 375 medical officer vacancies over the next six months. "Since October 2023, to date we have filled [vacancies for] 564 medical officers; we currently have 239 posts that are advertised from all the provinces and 375 will be advertised in the next six months," he said on Monday. He was addressing the media about the employment of medical doctors and other health professionals. In recent weeks, disgruntled junior doctors who completed statutory community service in December voiced their complaints about not being placed at the beginning of the year. According to Phaahla, at the beginning of January, the SA Medical Association Trade Union submitted a list of 825 unemployed medical doctors. "The department could only identify 694 unemployed junior doctors who completed their community service on 31 December 2023.   Some doctors on the list still needed to complete their community services," Phaahla indicated. He said budget constraints were also an issue for provincial health departments. According to Phaahla, provincial departments continued to actively engage their provincial treasuries to find ways to address health professionals' unemployment, including medical doctors. Another challenge was a 7.5% salary adjustment agreement at the Public Service Bargaining Council, which was not budgeted for. "The Health Department must fund this general salary adjustment within the available budgets. The benefits also push the salary bill higher," Phaahla pointed out.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Yoliswa Sobuwa at News24. Read too, Government does not have the money to employ SA’s nearly 700 unemployed doctors, says Health Minister, at IOL News


Job seekers cautioned never to pay recruitment fees for employment

City Press reports that the high unemployment rate of 31.9% has become a feeding ground for scammers to lure job seekers into paying for employment opportunities. This has prompted the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) to warn job seekers, saying it has seen many scams involving unemployed people who were promised jobs at a fee, with one even involving the department itself. DEL spokesperson Teboho Thejane said that the recent scam promised people so-called admin worker jobs within the department, with scammers requesting job seekers to pay a refundable fee of R250 at PEP stores for background checks.   He indicated: “Work seekers are advised not to deposit any fees and share their contact and personal information, thus compromising their security. No person may charge a fee to any work seeker for providing employment services to that work seeker. This is according to the Employment Services Act.” He explained that the Act provided that a private employment agency must not deduct any amount from the remuneration of an employee or require or permit an employee to pay any amount in respect of placing that employee with an employer. Thejane advised that the department, under the Public Employment Services branch, must match work seekers with available work opportunities, register work seekers, register job vacancies and other work opportunities, facilitate the placement of work seekers with employers or in other work opportunities and advise work seekers on access to education and training.

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


‘Not everyone is happy with new National Minimum Wage’

The Citizen reports that not everybody is happy with the new National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate that Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) Minister Thulas Nxesi announced on Friday. The NMW for a general worker will be increased from R25.42 to R27.58 per hour from 1 March. Noting that Nxesi had acted on the recommendation of the National Minimum Wage Commission in increasing the NMW by 8.5% (inflation plus 3%) Gerhard Papenfus, CEO of the National Employers Association of SA (Neasa), commented:   “The commission ignored the input of numerous business institutions and trade unions who warned of the dire consequences of implementing further increases, the calls for the scrapping of the national minimum wage and simply proceeded with recommending the implementation of its own original proposals.” He added that the commission also lost sight of the fact that a job, even a low-paying job, “is better than any social relief government has to offer and; being unemployed, no matter from which angle it is viewed, is a terrible form of abuse to subject any individual to.” Farmers are reportedly also unhappy with new NMW.   Francois Wilken of Free State Agriculture said the 8.5% increase in the NMW was “completely out of touch with the economic realities that business experience and shows the complete lack of understanding of the economic conditions in the country.” On the other hand, labour federation Cosatu applauded the announcement of the increase of 8.5% as that had been Cosatu’s proposal.

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


Floyd Shivambu's bid to prevent Parliament docking his pay over VBS loot struck from court roll

Fin24 reports that EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu's assertion that Parliament finding him guilty of unethical conduct for accepting VBS money from his brother damaged his reputation and would harm the EFF in the election lacked “validity", the Western Cape High Court found on Friday.   The Court scrapped Shivambu's "urgent" application from the court roll. In September, the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests found Shivambu guilty on charges that he failed to disclose three payments from his brother, Brian Shivambu's company, Sgameka, which obtained funds from VBS Mutual Bank. The ethics committee obtained an affidavit by the liquidator in the VBS liquidation matter, which identified that three payments were made to Floyd Shivambu by Sgameka in 2017. On 28 November, the National Assembly adopted the ethics committee's report, with the recommendation that nine days of Shivambu's salary be docked. While the EFF indicated in October, when the ethics committee's finding became known, that Shivambu would take Parliament to court to overturn the "irrational and opportunistic conclusion and sanction", he only lodged his "urgent" application in December – which proved to be a fatal flaw. On Friday, Judge James Lekhuleni ordered that Shivambu's application be struck from the roll, with costs awarded against Shivambu. “I have considered the submissions of the parties, and I am of the view that this matter is not urgent. If anything, the urgency that the applicant pleaded was self-created," reads the judgment.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jan Gerber at News24. Read too, Court dismisses Floyd Shivambu’s urgent bid to halt docking of his pay, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)


DA set to take disciplinary action in bogus qualifications scandal

News24 reports that the DA's highest decision-making body has decided to proceed with disciplinary action against a Cape Town councillor who is embroiled in a qualifications scandal. DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille confirmed that proportional ward councillor Abdulkader Elyas "has a case to answer". Elyas is alleged to have lied about having business and medical qualifications.   He claimed on his LinkedIn bio that he was a student at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2018 and had studied for a Bachelor of Business Science in Actuarial Science between 2015 and 2018. He also claimed to have been a student at the university's medical school between 2013 and 2018. However, UCT said Elyas did not have these qualifications, and the Health Professionals Council of SA (HPCSA) said he was not registered on its database. The party investigated the matter in October last year.   Zille said: “If the initial investigation, by a panel of the Federal Legal Commission, determines that there is a case to answer, then the person must face disciplinary action. In Abdulkader’s case, the investigation report concluded that he does have a case to answer, and it will now go to a disciplinary.” She added that the party's federal executive had decided on a suspension, based on an investigative report it received on Monday.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Marvin Charles at News24

Two foreign ‘doctors’ with internet-sourced qualifications arrested for treating patients in Hillbrow

IOL News reports that two foreign nationals have been arrested for allegedly treating patients and even performing illegal backstreet abortions in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson, Superintendent Xolani Fihla, said the JMPD tactical unit effected the arrests of the men aged 47 and 54 after receiving information regarding an alleged bogus doctor with a fraudulent practice in Twist Street in Hillbrow.   Fihla said the team monitored the movement of patients into and out of a building. "Officers went into the building where they confronted the alleged bogus doctor, verifying the legitimacy of the practice and authenticity of the supporting documentation which is suspected to be fraudulent and downloaded from the internet," Fihla said. The man denied that he was a doctor and claimed that he worked as a manager. However, as the questioning progressed, a second man was found inside the building and he conceded that they were operating an illegal medical practice.   Fihla said a docket was opened for further investigation and queries would be made with the Health Professionals Council of SA (HPCSA) to determine the men’s qualifications.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Se-Anne Rall at IOL News


Government official found guilty of fraud has to use her pension fund to pay back the money

IOL News reports that a 52-year-old government official, found guilty of fraud and money laundering, has been ordered to pay back the money using her pension fund. Zukiswa Wana was convicted in the East London Regional Court on Friday, following a crime she committed almost 14 years ago. Eastern Cape Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Avele Fumba said in October 2021, the provincial education department in Zwelitsha received an internal memo revealing improper payments to two service providers for school hostel catering services. The memo reported that payments were made without actual services being rendered and signatures were apparently forged to authorise these transactions. An investigation identified personal assistant Wana as the person responsible for the fraudulent authorisation of these payments and she was arrested.   Fumba said the court sentenced Wana to five years imprisonment, which was wholly suspended. She was ordered to repay R410,000 from her pension to compensate for the state’s loss.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jolene Marriah-Maharaj at IOL News


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