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


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

After closure of SAPS headquarters, officers implore that more police stations be inspected

Solidarity reports that following the closure and evacuation of the SA Police Service’s (SAPS’) Telkom Towers head office in Pretoria on Tuesday afternoon, the trade union has been receiving “more and more” complaints from members of the SAPS who believe their own police stations are also not fit for human occupation. In some cases they say their police stations are in an even worse neglected state than the national head office of the SAPS. Tuesday’s closure took place after an inspection was carried out by the Department of Employment and Labour, together with Solidarity's department for Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). During the inspection, the wrecked condition of the head office was exposed, characterised by dirty and contaminated offices and bathrooms, a lack of ventilation and clean drinking water, as well as broken lifts and deficient fire-fighting equipment. According to Johan Böning, head of Solidarity’s OHS division, earnest pleadings for similar inspections were being received from all over:   “These calls are coming from members of the police who are desperate to see an improvement in their own facilities and circumstances. We are also hearing from members who have been targeted or threatened by management when they dared to report defects at facilities.” Meanwhile, the SAPS said in a statement that its decision to evacuate the Telkom Towers building was taken due to concern for the employees’ well-being and safety. But, according to Solidarity, employees re-entered the evacuated head office on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the mandatory evacuation. The building then had to be evacuated anew by order of the National Police Commissioner.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard in Afrikaans at Maroela Media

Two Pretoria pupils brought toy gun to school to 'threaten' teacher who had 'victimised' them

News24 reports that two pupils from a Pretoria school were allegedly going to use a toy gun they had sneaked onto the premises to threaten a teacher who had "victimised" them. The discovery of the gun at Nick Mpshe Technical and Commercial Secondary School in Winterveld took place on 16 February – the same day a 13-year-old pupil shot and wounded Noko Selepe, the principal of Primrose Primary School in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. The Grade 10 pupils, aged 17 and 20, admitted during a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday that they used the same toy gun to rob a granny in Klipgat in North West, and to rob another woman of her cellphone.   Following their confession that they had brought the gun to school, the disciplinary committee apparently recommended to the Gauteng education department that the two pupils be expelled because their actions posed a danger to teachers and pupils, "traumatising many of them". Police, who conducted a random search at the school on 16 February, found the gun in another Grade 10 pupil's bag. The pupil, 16, together with the other two, was suspended from school the same day but was cleared of all wrongdoing this week and allowed to return to class after the other two confessed to planting the gun in his schoolbag.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Prega Govender at News24


ETHEKWINI STRIKE INTERDICTED

eTthekwini granted interim interdict to stop ‘violent’ Samwu strike

TimesLIVE reports that SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) shop stewards and members who embarked on a “violent” unprotected strike this week have been slapped with a court interdict to desist with their behaviour. The eThekwini municipality launched the application in the Durban Labour Court at 10pm on Wednesday. Judge Benita Whitcher granted the application just before midnight. The application was sparked by what the city said were incidents of violence and intimidation on Wednesday committed by about 500 workers who believed they were not being paid at the same scale as other municipal employees in other provinces. In his affidavit in the urgent application, senior manager of legal services Lindani Nxumalo said the workers had gathered at Curries Fountain and then marched to the City Hall to present their pay demands. “What followed can only be described as mayhem,” he indicated. Nxumalo added: “There is every indication that this violence will escalate tomorrow [Thursday].”   In terms of the interim interdict, provisions of which were made immediately enforceable, the respondents were interdicted and restrained from committing any acts of violence, unlawful conduct, intimidation or interfering with the city’s services or operations.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tania Broughton at BusinessLive


MINING

Sixteen zama zamas arrested in simultaneous busts in Krugersdorp and Ekurhuleni

The Citizen reports that police have arrested 16 people believed to be illegal miners (zama zamas) at two illegal mining sites in Gauteng. They also arrested 34 undocumented people at these sites. The simultaneous busts formed part of the multi-disciplinary illegal mining operation dubbed Vala Umgodi and included teams from police, the SA National Defence Force, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department and the Department of Home Affairs. On Wednesday, the teams descended on the West Rand and Ekurhuleni districts, arresting 11 people in Krugersdorp for suspected illegal mining and five people in Crystal Park believed to be illegal miners. They also arrested seven undocumented people in Krugersdorp and 27 undocumented persons in Crystal Park.   Both teams seized illegal mining tools such as explosives, detonator cords, generators, phendukas (hand-driven cylinders), crush pots, spades, hammers and bags of gold bearing material.   “Police and community relations is key to fighting illegal mining hence the public is urged to report these illegal activities to their nearest police station or on the Crime Stop Line,” the police said.

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


LABOUR AND POLITICS

Cosatu establishes ‘war rooms’ to back embattled ANC in general election

BL Premium reports that labour federation Cosatu, which has a membership of about 1.6-million, has called on workers to ensure a decisive victory for the ANC in the 2024 elections. The political party’s support is expected to dip below 50% for the first time since 1994. Cosatu said it had established its election war rooms, with affiliated unions working “flat out, across workplaces and communities” to mobilise voters to return the ANC to the Union Buildings on 29 May. “We cannot afford to risk the gains working class communities have won since 1994 to political parties that promise to gut the public service, roll back social upliftment programmes and collapse our progressive labour laws,” said Cosatu general secretary Solly Phetoe at a media briefing on Thursday on the outcome of the central executive committee meeting held this week.   The electorate has grown disillusioned with the ANC’s underwhelming track record in government, which has resulted in a rising cost of living, high unemployment rate, entrenched poverty, systemic corruption, violent crime and crumbling public infrastructure, which has affected exports. Phetoe said 2024 would be an important year for workers as they faced “our most contested elections since 1994”. The ANC has relied on Cosatu’s grassroots support to win elections since SA’s first democratic election in 1994.

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


CEO APPOINTMENTS

Leadership shake-up at PetroSA, with Xolile Sizani to take CEO position

BL Premium reports that Xolile Sizani has been appointed CEO of state-owned oil company PetroSA, which is looking to resume operations at its refinery in Mossel Bay in the Western Cape. PetroSA also confirmed on Thursday that its acting chair, Nkululeko Poya, who was previously in the running to become CEO, had resigned. The CEO post has been vacant since the departure of Pragasen Naidoo in September 2022. Sizani previously worked as CEO of facilities management and cleaning solutions company Servest. He has also had several roles at chemicals and energy group Sasol and at gas supplier Afrox. It has previously been reported that Minister of Mineral Resources & Energy Gwede Mantashe had sought to appoint Poya, who is under investigation by the Hawks, as CEO. PetroSA has recently faced much scrutiny over a controversial decision to select Russia’s Gazprombank Africa as the preferred investment partner to restart operations at its gas-to-liquid refinery in Mossel Bay.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Denene Erasmus at BusinessLive (subscriber access only). Read too, New PetroSA CEO finally appointed following controversy, at Fin24. And also, PetroSA chair with dodgy past resigns after being snubbed for CEO job, at Fin24

SA Tourism gets a permanent CEO and a new board

Moneyweb reports that South African Tourism (SAT) finance chief Nombulelo Guliwe has officially been appointed CEO of the organisation, which also has a new board. Guliwe has been acting CEO since September last year. Her appointment has been welcomed by the Southern African Tourism Services Association (Satsa), which has expressed hopes that stability will return to the national destination marketing agency.   SAT has had acting executives and a temporary board for the past year following the Tottenham Hotspur sponsorship debacle and other leadership woes that hit the organisation. According to Guliwe’s LinkedIn profile, she is a chartered accountant and has been with the agency for 13 years. Prior to that, she was an auditor at PwC and served her articles at the accounting and professional services firm. Satsa CEO David Frost commented that Guliwe was an “excellent appointment” to head up the agency. He also commended Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille and former SAT board interim chair Tim Harris on the appointment process, which he described as “collaborative and thorough”.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Suren Naidoo at Moneyweb

Dan Marokane starts top job at Eskom on Friday

Reuters reports that Dan Marokane is about to tackle the hardest job in SA, namely getting the lights back on. As CEO of state power utility Eskom, he takes on an organisation which is hampered by alleged coal theft and sabotage and which faces financial and technical crises. Eskom’s board chair Mteto Nyati indicated in an interview: “There are two things here that need to be done simultaneously.   One is to fix the current business.   And the other is to reposition and restructure Eskom so that it can be relevant for the future.” Marokane, whom Eskom said would not speak publicly until he formally begins his tenure on Friday, previously served as a senior Eskom executive for five years until 2015. “He’s going to be able to learn and hit the ground running,” Nyati said.   Others are less optimistic.   Eskom’s role in powering the country’s economy has made the CEO job SA’s most high-profile executive position. But its challenges mean fewer and fewer corporate high-flyers are willing to take it on. Eskom’s top job has become a revolving door through which more than a dozen CEOs have passed over the past 15 years, serving in either a permanent or acting capacity.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Joe Bavier & Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


POLICE STAFFING

Some 800 officers left Western Cape police ranks in 11 months, provincial commissioner reveals

News24 reports that during a briefing held by Premier Alan Winde and Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen on Thursday, Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile revealed that the province's new recruits would be used to fill the vacancies created by the 800 officers who had left the force.   The province received around 2,000 new recruits at the end of last year, which was meant to go towards reducing the shortfall in the number of Western Cape police officers.   According to the SAPS Annual Performance Plan 2022/2023, the actual human resource gap (the ideal human resource demand versus the actual human resources) was 11,250 members in the Western Cape. The shortage of police officers in the province has become a source of contention between Winde and Police Minister Bheki Cele in recent years, with the provincial government using police resourcing as a key motivation in its lobbying for the devolution of policing powers. The shortfall had forced the police to rely on partnerships with provincial and local governments, said Patekile, especially in the face of "a surge" in gang violence. During the period of most recent quarterly crime statistics, the Western Cape recorded 250 gang-related murders in just three months.

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


BOGUS DOCTORS

‘No evidence suggests they’ve seen patients’, says Gauteng health ministry on bogus doctors

The Citizen reports that according to the Gauteng Health Ministry, there was no evidence suggesting that recently nabbed bogus doctors had seen patients or administered medication. In separate incidents, two fake doctors were recently caught inside Gauteng’s public health facilities. Health Ministry media liason officer, Doctor Tshwale, confirmed the recent arrests and reassured the public. “The chances of these bogus doctors attending to patients are slim, hence there is no evidence to suggest that the recent two arrested in our facilities, have seen the patients. There is no evidence that such fake health professionals have administered medicine or seen the patients in public health facilities precisely because health workers work in a team. But this remains a concern for the department because any chance of administering medication or attending to patients by these fake health workers, it may put the health of patients at risk,” he stated. While most of the recent incidents occurred in public hospitals, Tshwale said a majority of bogus doctors were traced in the private sector. He said the Health Ministry was working with the SA Police Service (Saps), Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) and other stakeholders to curb the prevalence of bogus doctors. Meanwhile, the HPCSA has established an Inspectorate Office to investigate and report illegal practices by unregistered persons to the Saps.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Vukosi Maluleke at The Citizen


JOBURG REINSTATEMENTS

Victory for City of Joburg employees whose contracts were rescinded in 2022

TimesLIVE reports that the Johannesburg High Court has ruled in favour of 77 SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) members who were dismissed by the City of Johannesburg in 2022. The court declared on Thursday that the Samwu members were employees of the City of Johannesburg and that the municipality was obliged to consult them before amending their employment contracts. The employees were formerly employed on fixed-term contracts and their status was converted to that of permanent employment from 1 March 2021. The conversion was effected after a decision of the mayoral committee. However, on 25 February 2022 the Joburg city council rescinded the decision of the mayoral committee on the grounds that the committee had not had the power to sanction the conversion. The employees were informed of the decision three days later and were invited to make representations “regarding how their unlawful employment should be regularised”. Samwu responded in writing on 4 March 2022 requesting an extension of the deadline for submissions and claimed that only a court could pronounce on the validity of the employment contracts. The city issued a directive on 9 March 2022 pointing out that the employees had failed to successfully challenge the rescission. The employees were then dismissed. In his recent judgment, acting judge Johan Moorcroft said the documents emanating from the city indicated that the municipal manager recommended the conversion, that the conversion was approved, and that it was in the view of the executive mayor a decision properly taken after the municipality had applied its mind to the matter. “The conversion certainly had legal consequence and could not be set aside unilaterally. It follows that the [City of Johannesburg’s] decision to rescind the conversion cannot stand,” Moorcroft ruled.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ernest Mabuza at TimesLIVE


PUTCO SUSPENSIONS

Numsa protests in support of 120 suspended Putco workers, threatens court action

GroundUp reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has threatened to go to the Labour Court in support of 120 employees suspended by Putco. The workers were charged with gross misconduct after a strike over pay in 2022.   According to Putco’s Lindokuhle Xulu, the workers had intimidated other employees “by going into their offices and workspaces and removing them and forcing them to join the strike”.   The matter is being heard by the CCMA, but the cases of only 25 people have apparently been heard so far. On Tuesday, Numsa members marched to Putco headquarters in Linbro Business Park, Sandton to support the suspended workers, who complain that during the hearings they have to report to Putco depots in Nancefield (Soweto) and Zandfontein (Tshwane). Xulu said this was because some had started working elsewhere, in breach of their contracts, and others had not been reporting to the CCMA, so delaying the process. One Soweto bus driver said it was like being in a prison: “We sign in, sit at the depot [all day], play dice, eat and sleep, and repeat. There is nothing we can do there.” While there are bathrooms, the workers are only allowed to use mobile toilets and a water tank. Numsa and Putco also disagree about the length of time the hearings should take. According to the union, Putco wants to stop paying the suspended employees if the hearings are not concluded by 5 April. The union indicated that if Putco did not meet its demands, including lifting the requirement that the suspended workers had to report to the depots, it would head to the Labour Court.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jabulile Mbatha at GroundUp


OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

  • Solidarity calls for an urgent investigation into Judge Motha, at Polity

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page