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 South African
labour-related reports.


TOP STORY – FORT HARE CRIME

Two Fort Hare accused get R50,000 bail, with state to oppose bail for 12 others

The Citizen reports that the former bodyguard of slain rapper Kiernan ‘AKA’ Forbes and 14 co-accused appeared in Dimbaza Magistrate’s Court in Eastern Cape for the first time on Tuesday in connection with alleged criminal activities at the University of Fort Hare (UFH). The 15 suspects are facing a string of charges ranging from fraud, corruption and racketeering, according to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The SA Police Service (Saps) initially indicated that the suspects would face charges of murder and attempted murder as well, but NPA Eastern Cape spokesperson Luxulo Tyali clarified that that was not the case. Two of the 15 accused, namely Sarah Pearl Burger, a Cape Town-based attorney, and Gosain Wayne van Haar, who works in the university's information technology department, were released on bail on Tuesday.   Each of those two accused were granted bail of R50,000 with several conditions attached. Twelve of the suspects are scheduled to appear in court again on Wednesday for bail hearings. The state informed that the court during proceedings on Tuesday that it would only oppose bail for the twelve co-accused. Tyali confirmed that accused one, Isaac Plaatjies, who is UFH’s director of investigations and vetting services, abandoned his bail application after it was previously denied. Plaatjies has been in custody ever since his arrest in November. The other accused include UFH’s former director of human resources Paul Tladi and the university’s financial manager, Louis Mawila, as well as additional staff members. So far, authorities have apprehended 25 individuals in connection with criminal activities occurring at the tertiary institution.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sithandiwe Velaphi at The Citizen

Ten individuals have been charged with Fort Hare killings

The Citizen reports that 10 individuals have been charged with the killings connected to Fort Hare University (UFH). The suspects are also accused of the attempted murders of UFH vice-chancellor Professor Sakhele Buhlungu and his deputy, Renuka Vithal. Accused one, Isaac Plaatjies, who is UFH’s director of investigations and vetting services, Bongani Peter, Sicelo Mbulawa, Wanini Khuza, Mthobisi Khanyile, Mthobisi Dlamini, Lindokuhle Manjati, Zimele Chiliza, Phelisa Nkonyeni and Thamsanqa Mgotyana all face two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, reckless discharge of firearm, theft of a motor vehicle, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. Peter, Mbulawa and Khuza are additionally charged with fraud.   Nkonyeni and Chiliza were released on R50,000 and R100 000 bail respectively, while Mbulawa was granted R75,000 bail. UFH has seen several violent attacks recently after the university started clamping down on corruption. The university’s fleet manager Petrus Roets met a fatal end when he was shot dead near East London in May 2022. It is alleged that a R5 million reward was offered to assassinate Buhlungu. His bodyguard, Richard Mboneli Vesele was killed in a hail of bullets on 6 January 2023. Few months later, Buhlungu’s second bodyguard was killed in a hit-and-run accident.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Molefe Seeletsa at The Citizen (scroll down)

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Suspects in UFH case appear in court amid heavy police presence, at Cape Times


ETHEKWINI STRIKE

eThekwini unit clears backlog of electricity outages following illegal strike

Daily News reports that the eThekwini Municipality has announced that its electricity unit has cleared the electricity backlog outages following the recent strike. “We are pleased to announce that eThekwini Municipality’s Electricity Unit has successfully cleared the backlog of electricity outages which had increased due to the illegal strike action,” municipal spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said in a brief statement on Tuesday. She added that the municipality acknowledged the country’s need to reduce the electricity load to protect the national grid. Earlier, the municipality on its Facebook page had indicated: “Load shedding affecting eThekwini Municipality was previously suspended due to the illegal strike that occurred in March. Faults have been reduced to normal levels and the public is therefore notified that load shedding will resume tomorrow, 3 April 2024 at 6am.” Sisilana urged customers to follow the normal load shedding schedule in accordance with Eskom’s load shedding status. However, she said that if customers experienced a power outage, either outside the scheduled time or when load shedding was not active, then it was a result of a fault on the network and not because of load shedding.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Thobeka Ngema at Daily News


MINING LABOUR

ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba urges prosecution within 14 days in Lily Mine tragedy

IOL News reports that ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has written to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) requesting prosecution of those involved in the Lily Mine tragedy of February 2016 within 14 days.   In February 2016, the crown pillar at the mine in Mpumalanga collapsed, leaving Pretty Nambule, Yvonne Mnisi, and Solomon Nyirenda trapped underground. Their remains are still unrecovered at the site. Last year, the Mbombela Magistrate’s Court ruled that the NPA should consider criminal prosecution against those found liable for the tragedy, including the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.   Mashaba noted that the NPA promised to decide on the issue by the end of January but, to date, there has been no announcement. "ActionSA’s objective remains to see the mine shaft reopened to retrieve the container in which the three victims were entombed, securing compensation for the families of the affected miners, and ensuring that those who are liable for the tragedy are criminally prosecuted," Mashaba advised in a statement. He indicated that he had received power of attorney from the families to pursue, if possible, civil and criminal litigation against the parties found liable.   Mashaba added that his party would remain committed to help retrieve the bodies of the three miners and would continue to assist the families in any way possible.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kamogelo Moichela at IOL News


LABOUR AND POLITICS

Rise Mzansi vows to usher in employment for all, especially over 35-year-olds

The Star reports that Gauteng residents who are part of the 2.9 million South Africans excluded from employment opportunities converged outside the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) in Pretoria on Tuesday to demand change without further delay. Under the banner of the Rise Mzansi political party, scores of people, many of whom said they had battled to find employment for years despite the many assurances given by the governing ANC, said they were now seeking change. Vuyiswa Ramokgopa, the national chairperson as well as the provincial candidate for Rise Mzansi, said the party had gathered outside the department’s offices as they wanted to demonstrate to South Africans that they were about more than simply paying lip service to issues plaguing them. Ramokgopa said through their discussions and community meetings with hundreds of people across the country, many had confided in them that they were sitting without any hope due to restrictive employment policies. “Our being here today was to deliver a memorandum of demands not just as Rise Mzansi but speaking on behalf of and standing in solidarity with the hundreds of people we have spoken to and the 2.9 million South Africans that are between the ages of 35 and 44 years old who are deemed ineligible for employment by our government.” According to the national chairperson, a “missing middle” existed within the employment sector, similar to education and housing that the government was continuing to neglect.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Goitsemang Matlhabe The Star


BATSA RETRENCHMENTS

BATSA in retrenchment talks with office staff, illicit tobacco market threatens 500 jobs at third-party logistics companies

BL Premium reports that British American Tobacco SA (BATSA) has cut cigarette deliveries to some stores as the illicit cigarette trade overwhelms the legal market, putting at risk about 500 jobs at third-party logistics companies. The company, which now sells 40% fewer cigarettes than it did in 2020, is in retrenchment talks with 20 office staff members who manage its external deliveries. It has cut 584 jobs since 2019 out of a total 1,800 as profits plummeted in the face of a surge of illicit trade triggered by the Covid-era tobacco ban. The area head of corporate and regulatory affairs for BAT Sub-Saharan Africa, Johnny Moloto, explained that BATSA’s “decision to stop direct deliveries to lower-volume retailers is an unfortunate consequence of the increasing illicit trade in tobacco products, which has continued since the Covid-19 tobacco ban”. He added: “In the past, it has been direct jobs impacted. And now it’s starting to spill over into our suppliers as well.”   The cut in truck deliveries will reduce employment among the security guards who accompany each delivery truck to prevent hijackings. The illegal cigarette market accounted for about 58% of the SA market in 2022, up from just under 5% in 2009, researchers found in a recent report.   BATSA said up to 70% of cigarettes consumed in SA were illicit, based on external research that measured self-reported smoking rates.

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


REMUNERATION

Penny Ntuli joins Jozi FM after turning down Gagasi's R2,800 per month pay offer

TimesLIVE reports that taking to her social media timeline on Tuesday, Penny Ntuli announced to her followers the news that she is the latest addition to Jozi FM. “I woke up at 5am today. Excited for my first day at work today. Please welcome me to Jozi FM 105.8. I’ll be on your radio every Monday to Friday on the Mid Morning Chat show 9-12,” she wrote. This after the radio personality recently disclosed that Gagasi FM had offered to renew her contract at a monthly salary of R2,800. “It’s been an amazing two years there. I am grateful to be considered as one of the talents that have been given an opportunity to showcase their talents once again in the new season on your platform. However, the salary of R2,800 per month on my offer letter or contract is not something I can sustain my life with,” she explained.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Joy Mphande at TimesLIVE


EXECUTIVE PAY

Standard Bank’s top executives earned big bucks in 2023

Fin24 reports that Standard Bank’s senior executive team laughed all the way to the bank in 2023 thanks to exorbitant remuneration increases that far outpaced inflation as well as the group's total staff cost increases. The group’s remuneration report, which was published last week, showed the top six executives received average pay increases of 45% in 2023. That was almost eight times last year’s prevailing inflation rate of 6% and almost three times the 17% increase in bank’s total staff costs for 2023. CEO Sim Tshabalala’s total single-figure remuneration for 2023 came in at R83.304 million, 50% higher than the R55.694 million he received in 2022. Last year’s payment included fixed remuneration of R11.67 million; a cash incentive of R10.8 million; a deferred incentive of R13.2 million; and R47.634 million in vested income from a group performance reward plan.   Arno Daehnke, chief financial officer, received a 55% hike to his total single-figure remuneration, which increased to R68.057 million in 2023, from R43.837 million the prior year. Personal and private banking CEO, Funeka Montjane, also received a bumper pay day thanks to a 56% rise in her total single-figure remuneration. Kenny Fihla, who heads the corporate and investment banking (CIB) unit, received a tidy 39% increase in total single-figure remuneration. Bill Blackie, who used to work in the CIB unit but now heads up business and commercial banking, saw his total single-figure remuneration rise 35%. Chief operating officer Margaret Nienaber enjoyed a 37% bump in her single-figure remuneration.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Garth Theunissen at Fin24. Read too, Standard Bank executives in R400m payday, at Moneyweb


POST-EMPLOYMENT PERKS

Outgoing MPs need not worry as they will still get (some) taxpayer-funded exit perks

News24 reports MPs not returning to Parliament after the elections are set to cash in on subsidised medical aid, free flights and more than R20,000 for furniture removals – all bankrolled by the taxpayer.   As the 29 May general election nears, Parliament has issued guidelines for MPs in preparation for the seventh democratic Parliament. After the election, the current crop of MPs could either return for another stint as MPs, be redeployed as members of provincial legislatures (MPLs), be appointed as Cabinet ministers or cease to be MPs. According to the guidelines, MPs in the National Assembly are entitled to salaries and allowances up to and including 28 May – the day before the election. Permanent delegates who are members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) are entitled to salaries and allowances up to the day before their respective provincial legislatures' first sitting. In both cases, the last salary amount MPs will receive will be calculated on a pro-rata basis. Politicians who have served in Parliament for a continuous period of five years or longer, or one complete term if less than five years, are entitled to 12 one-way air tickets per year for five years after leaving Parliament. Among the conditions are that the tickets are for the personal use of the former MP and their registered spouse or life partner; any tickets not used in the financial year applicable are forfeited; and the tickets are issued for economy class and domestic travel only.   MPs not returning to the National Assembly have until 28 May to vacate their offices and those in the NCOP have until 7 June to pack up their offices.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jason Felix at Fin24


FAKE QUALIFICATIONS

Forty-nine KZN teachers found with fraudulent qualifications

The Mercury reports that a forensic investigation has revealed that 49 educators in KZN had allegedly submitted fraudulent qualifications when they applied for jobs with the provincial department of education.   The department briefed members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts last week on the state of the department, including forensic investigations that were conducted to uncover acts of malfeasance by staff and service providers. But, the number of teachers accused is minuscule as the department employs thousands of teachers. Speaking on the cases being investigated, head of department Nkosinathi Ngcobo said “the other one is fake qualifications, we have a schedule there about 49 educators and recoveries are being made, some have settled debt.” He added:   “Those are cases where people submit fake qualifications and upon investigation we find that these qualifications are fake, two of these criminal cases are still before courts, and in 6 of them we are going to be doing recoveries from their pension as they have signed acknowledgement of debt and we are making progress in the recovery of debt.” He detailed other cases, including of several officials involved in crime and corruption who had been disciplined, fired or were being pursued with criminal charges, and others where there was progress as a result of the investigations.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Thami Magubane at The Mercury


OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

  • ‘No one is above the law’ - Durban cop arrested for assaulting his girlfriend, at IOL News
  • Developments at Safa concern Sports Minister, at BusinessLive
  • Joburg councillors vote for easy access to VIP security, at News24

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page