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.

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


TOP STORY – BUDGET 2024

Budget 2024 contains R251bn to cover wage increases of public servants

TimesLIVE reports that the government will spend R251bn in the coming financial year to cover public sector wage increases.   Tabling his 2024/2025 budget in parliament on Wednesday, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said that the R251.3bn would be used to fund salaries of civil servants such as teachers, health workers and the police. “Spending additions, mainly of the carry-through costs of the 2023/2024 wage increase and wage bill pressures in labour intensive departments, including basic education, health and police,” Godongwana indicated in budget documents tabled in parliament. The government and public-sector unions have agreed to a 7.5% wage increase for the current fiscal year, ending in March 2024, including payment of a cash gratuity of 4.2% of a monthly salary. Godongwana did not allocate additional money to fund wage increases in departments other than the above, saying they would have to find money through their allocated departmental budgets. “Most other departments are expected to absorb the wage increase within their baseline. This will include managing headcounts, such as by implementing controls on payroll systems to ensure departments operate within their budgets. Government is exploring other measures, which will be tabled for discussion in the public service co-ordinating bargaining council as part of a broader discussion on containing wage bill growth,” Godongwana explained. On the whole, the salaries of public service workers are projected to rise to just more than R822bn by 2027, from R721bn this year.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Thabo Mokone at SowetanLive. Lees ook, Derde van begroting gaan aan salarisse, by Maroela Media

Extra money for health workers, but sector’s budget shrinks in real terms

BusinessLive reports that the National Treasury has made good on Health Minister Joe Phaahla’s promise that the government would find the money to hire more doctors, but the sector will remain under pressure as the health budget will shrink in real terms over the next three years. Under growing pressure to reverse the deep cuts announced in the medium-term budget policy statement in November, the Treasury has allocated an extra R11.6bn to help cover last year’s higher-than-anticipated wage settlement.   The Western Cape has been vocal about the impact of the centrally agreed wage deal that wasn’t fully funded by the Treasury and left provincial health departments unable to fill essential posts. Treasury’s chief director for health and social development, Mark Blecher, said the extra money would not be sufficient to hire all the recently qualified doctors who have been unable to secure jobs with the state, and provincial health departments would need to determine which posts should be prioritised. “There will be less downsizing, and more posts will be filled, but it is unlikely they all will be,” he indicated. Trade union Samatu estimates 800 recently qualified doctors who expected to work for the state have been unable to find jobs.   Provincial health departments will remain under financial pressure as consolidated health expenditure grows by a nominal 3.4 % over the medium term, said Blecher. Treasury estimates inflation will average 4.7% over the next three years which means the budget will shrink in real terms.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tamar Kahn at BusinessLive

No new provisions in budget for NHI, although Finance Minister recommits to policy

BusinessLive reports that while the 2024 national budget makes no new provisions for National Health Insurance (NHI), Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said in his speech to parliament that the government remained committed to the policy. The first piece of enabling legislation was passed by parliament in December, but has yet to be signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Treasury’s chief director for health and social development, Mark Blecher, said that major public sector reforms would be required to shift funds currently allocated to provincial health departments to NHI.   Programmes designed to lay the groundwork for NHI are largely funded through the NHI indirect grant which has been allocated R6.9bn over the next three years. “A lot of preparatory work still needs to be done. We won’t see tax proposals in the short term for NHI,” said Blecher referring to potential mechanisms for raising additional money for the NHI Fund, which is expected to purchase services for patients from accredited public and private providers. The health department previously said that about R200bn would need to be raised via measures such as a surcharge on personal income tax and a payroll tax to supplement public sector funding sources.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tamar Kahn at BusinessLive (scroll down). Read too, NHI plans to revitalise hospitals, at Mail & Guardian

Presidential youth jobs programme receives R7.4bn boost in 2024 budget

BL Premium reports that young jobseekers are the big winners in the 2024 national budget, in which an extra R7.4bn has been added to the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES) Programme in 2024/25. The programme was launched in 2020 to provide young people with temporary jobs and improve services. SA has an extremely high unemployment rate, which is particularly acute among the youth.   The PES programme has so far assisted more than 1.7-million people with jobs, income support and training, most of them teacher assistants hired through the basic education employment initiative programme run by provinces. The Treasury said about R4bn would be made available in 2024/25 to hire more teacher assistants, R1.1bn would be reprioritised towards the social employment fund administered by the Industrial Development Corporation to promote work in local communities, and R750m would be redirected to the Food Security and Livelihoods Programme, which provides subsistence farmers with vouchers to purchase agricultural inputs. The Cities Public Employment Programme will receive R650m for upgrading townships and informal settlements, while the National Youth Service and National Pathway Management Network will each receive R250m for their work to help unemployed people find jobs.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tamar Kahn at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Godongwana dilutes austerity package, adds back money for salaries, at Fin24
  • Budget 2024: No new bailouts for underperforming SOEs, at The Citizen
  • Jy gaan opdok! Belastingskale geensins aangepas, by Maroela Media


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

Construction mafia: Security guard and K9 dog shot on Tuesday at MyCiTi construction site in Cape Town

IOL News reports that the City of Cape Town has condemned the attack on a security guard and a K9 patrol dog at a construction site along Duinefontein Road and Govan Mbeki Road in Philippi on Tuesday. The incident took place before midday, and fortunately, the security guard managed to survive the shooting incident and is currently in hospital. The K9 has been admitted for veterinary care. Mayoral committee member for urban mobility, Councillor Rob Quintas, said the construction site was related to the second phase of the MyCiTi bus service in the metro south-east. He reported: “These attacks are unacceptable and undermine the City’s efforts to deliver much-needed services to communities. The attack happened where our Urban Mobility Directorate is busy with construction work related to the roll-out of the second phase of the MyCiTi bus service in the metro south-east. Over the past few weeks, the contractor has been receiving threats from those wanting to control the subcontracting of services. I want to make it very clear that the City will not allow this thuggery, neither will we succumb to those demanding so-called protection money.”   Quintas added that at least five shots were fired at the security guard and the K9 while the duo were conducting patrols on top of the railway bridge.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Robin-Lee Francke at IOL News

Hyena attacks sleeping Kruger Park employee at Berg-en-Dal staff quarters

News24 reports that a Kruger National Park employee was attacked by a hyena while sleeping at the Berg-en-Dal staff living quarters on Wednesday morning. SANParks spokesperson Isaac Phaahla said the female employee, who was in a stable condition in hospital, sustained injuries to her arm. "The section ranger and his team then searched for the hyena, which regrettably had to be euthanised. The latest reports are that the employee is stable, and management wishes her a speedy recovery," Phaahla stated. This was the second reported wild animal attack in a week. A couple in Barberton, Mpumalanga, was attacked by a giraffe while taking an afternoon walk in the Greenstone Wildlife Estate. The incident, which happened on Valentine's Day, landed the couple in hospital. Sakkie Dednam said his wife, Yvonne, suffered a massive kick and sustained a double concussion and cut to her head. "Her injuries were worse than mine, although mine looks worse because I have abrasions from getting dragged. This is an animal weighing a thousand kilogrammes. It trampled us and dragged us," Dednam said.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Cebelihle Bhengu at News24. Lees ook, Hiëna gryp werker by Berg-en-Dal, by Maroela Media

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Theewaterskloof municipal employee shot dead at his home, at News24
  • Off-duty Mpumalanga cop shot dead metres away from his home, at News24
  • Oorskot van gesneuwelde soldate na SA gerepatrieer, by Maroela Media


MINING

SA’s mines are bleeding cash and jobs

Reuters reports that SA’s mines are cutting thousands of jobs and paying much less tax, so muddying the domestic economic outlook months away from the 29 May national and provincial elections. The country’s biggest mining investors are halting plans to spend billions of rand on new projects in response to a slump in profits due to myriad local challenges and weakening prices of commodities such as platinum. The layoffs and investment cuts come against a backdrop of high unemployment and weak economic growth. A rally in recent years in the price of commodities such as palladium, rhodium, coal and iron ore helped companies such as Anglo American Platinum, Sibanye-Stillwater, Kumba Iron Ore and Exxaro Resources make windfall returns — allowing them to partly paper over domestic constraints including load-shedding, the crisis at Transnet and crime. But with prices plummeting since 2023, companies are in restructuring mode and cutting jobs. “The challenge is now just to be able to operate, to be able to produce on a continuous basis. Unless there is a fundamental change of policy and state capacity, we are going to end up with a marginal mining industry, providing marginal jobs,” commented Eunomix Research CEO Claude Baissac. The sector employs about 477,000 people. “Clearly, for as long as there is no immediate solution to the electricity crisis, and rail and port infrastructure challenges, we will continue to lose jobs,” said the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)>

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Felix Njini & Nelson Banya at BusinessLive

Eight suspected zama zamas arrested after shootout with JMPD officers

News24 reports that eight suspected zama zamas (illegal miners) have been arrested in connection with a shootout with Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officers who were responding to a report about armed men in Germiston. According to JMPD spokesperson Superintendent Xolani Fihla, the incident occurred at the intersection of Main Reef Road and Shamrock Street. "As the officers arrived at the given location, they saw two groups of males shooting at each other. When the suspects noticed the officers they started shooting at them and the officers returned fire. Amid the shootout, the officers saw a suspect fall to the ground, and backup was called," said Fihla. When the backup arrived, the officers entered an open veld area, where they found a wounded male with a rifle next to him. Seven more people were apprehended. The injured man was to hospital for treatment under police guard.   The rest of the men were detained at the Primrose police station and charged with attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and illegal mining. Some of the men are believed to be connected to the robbery of motorists by armed individuals on the Crown interchange at the M1 in Johannesburg.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nicole McCain at News24. Read too, Police arrest illegal miners 'linked' to M1 robberies, at SowetanLive. En ook, Verskeie vas wat motoriste glo terroriseer, by Maroela Media


PENDING TRANSNET APPOINTMENTS

Transnet expected to name new executive appointments by month-end

Miningmx reports that Transnet is expected to finalise the appointment of a new permanent CEO and a person to head its largest division, Transnet Freight Rail, by the end of the month. The group’s chairperson Andile Sangqu advised: “I think end of the month is a realistic expectation all things being equal.” He was responding to comments by coal producer Glencore earlier on Wednesday that the composition of Transnet’s executive team was expected to be finalised imminently. Glencore CEO Gary Nagle said the company “had a lot of confidence” in Transnet’s board. “The chairman is a good guy; he’s a former Xstrata executive,” said Nagle.   According to media reports, Transnet’s acting CEO Michelle Phillips is in pole position for a full time appointment.   She will replace Portia Derby who was sacked by the government about four months ago. Other candidates being considered by the board include Russell Baatjies, the acting CEO of Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), Richards Bay Coal Terminal executive chair Nosipho Damasane, former Transnet CFO Mohammed Mahomedy and former Transnet group chief operations officer Mlamuli Buthelezi. If not chosen for the group CEO job, these individuals could still be considered for the vacant TFR CEO and chief financial officer positions.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by David McKay at Miningmx


TEACHER ARRESTED WITH DRUGS

Ekurhuleni teacher arrested after he was allegedly found with drugs on school premises

IOL News reports that Gauteng MEC for Education, Matome Chiloane has expressed “deep concern” after a teacher at Thoko Thaba Secondary School in Thokoza, Ekurhuleni, was allegedly found in possession of drugs on the school premises. According Gauteng Education spokesperson Steve Mabona, the teacher was found with the contraband on Valentine’s Day. “According to our reports, the educator was allegedly found last week with a bag and box of drugs inside the school premises. Police were called in and he was arrested. He appeared in court on Thursday, February 15,” Mabona reported. He added:   “MEC Chiloane is also concerned that this matter was not reported to the department by the school management team in a timely manner, which has led to a planned protest by the community which took place today, on Wednesday, February 21.” After receiving the reports, the provincial Department of Education launched an investigation and the teacher was removed from the school as a precaution. Meanwhile, MEC Chiloane appealed to the community to give the department and the police the opportunity to probe the incident.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jonisayi Maromo at IOL News


EMPLOYEES WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS

At least 250 Ekurhuleni metro police department workers linked to criminal activities, with 87 still awaiting trial

SowetanLive reports that at least 250 workers within the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) have criminal records, while some others still have to appear in courts for crimes they allegedly committed.   Responding to questions in the Gauteng legislature this month, MMC for community safety, Letlhogonolo Moseki, said 3,449 fingerprints from EPMD employees were taken during the last audit of 2022 and handed over to the provincial police commissioner’s office for processing. He reported that 3,199 fingerprints came back with no criminal findings and that the remaining 250 were linked to criminal activities. Of these 250 employees, 167 employees had criminal records and 87 were awaiting trial for various offences. According to requirements for appointment as a member of a municipal police service, the applicant should not have previous criminal convictions (excluding previous convictions relating to political activities in the previous dispensation). The National Road Traffic Act also restricts the appointment and registration of an officer as a traffic officer or a traffic warden with a criminal record and this rule moreover applies to clerks and cashiers.   "Therefore, no EMPD employee may have a criminal record, unless the employee was waived or their record expunged," Moseke indicated in his response, but added that no employee had been dismissed because of their criminal records. The DA asked how Ekurhuleni residents could trust metro police who themselves had criminal records.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lindile Sifile at SowetanLive


ALLEGED CORRUPTION / FRAUD

Jail time of 15 years for Nedbank employee who helped herself to R5.3 million

IOL News reports that a Cape Town woman, who was employed by Nedbank, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for fraud after pocketing R5.3 million from the bank nine years ago. The Nedbank Investment Management employee, Dolene Harrison, 49, was sentenced to 15 years direct imprisonment in the Cape Town Regional Court.   Hawks Western Cape spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Siyabulela Vukubi said Harrison had an administrator in the operations centre and internal suspense accounts for Investment Management in Nedbank. He said the fraud matter was brought to the attention of the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team which investigated the crimes. Vukubi said that between 26 May 2015 and 2 November 2015, the convicted fraudster illegally transferred funds from the general ledger account held at Nedbank to a suspense account held at the same bank.   “Thereafter she transferred funds from the suspense account to various accounts held at Standard Bank, ABSA, and FNB to the value of R5.3 million,” Vukubi indicated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Robin-Lee Francke at IOL News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Hawks and SIU raid Kimberley accountants in lottery corruption probe, at BusinessLive


ALLEGED SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Paul Mashatile's spokesperson Vukani Mde suspended amid sexual harassment allegations

TimesLIVE reports that the Presidency on Wednesday announced the suspension with full pay of Vukani Mde, spokesperson for Deputy President Paul Mashatile. This amid allegations of sexual harassment. The Presidency indicated: "In light of the gravity of the allegations made against Mr Mde, [the Presidency] has decided to suspend him with immediate effect with full emoluments. Mde has assured us of his willingness to co-operate with the investigation and the entire process to clear his name. The decision to suspend Mr Mde is also to ensure that the alleged victim feels protected during this process.” Mde's suspension came after a Sunday World article at the weekend in which allegations were made that Mashatile and his chief of staff, Mduduzi Mbada, were protecting Mde, who had had a sexual harassment complaint filed against him. The victim is reported to be a senior female staffer who directly reported to Mde. The publication alleged that Mde allegedly sent the victim “messages that are sexual in nature to her work cellphone number”, passed unwelcome comments about her “sex life and her looks” and proposed love while communicating work instructions. Mashatile's office has since announced that Itumeleng Mafatshe, director of content development and speech writing, will act as the chief director for the communications unit, while Keith Khoza, who is Mashatile's political adviser, will act as his spokesperson in the interim.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at TimesLIVE. Read too, Deputy President’s office suspends official amid sexual harassment allegations, at The Citizen

OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

  • Hlophe becomes first judge in SA history to be impeached, stripped of 'salary for life', at News24
  • With a clean audit and meeting 100% of its goals, CHIETA has a great story to tell, at News24
  • Kosmandjie effe goedkoper dié maand, by Maroela Media
  • Two-pot retirement system even closer as National Assembly passes bill, at Fin24
  • CEO of Nelson Mandela Bay municipal entity 'unqualified' for top job. Now it will play out in court, at News24

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page