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 roundup of weekend and recent reports,
see summaries of our selection of South African
labour-related stories that recently appeared.


TOP STORY – 2024 SALARY INCREASES

With increases of 5% to 7%, salaried employees may be better off this year

City Press reports that early indications suggest that salaried employees may be better off this year, but with persistent inflation, high taxes and high interest rates, consumers are not yet in calm waters.   According to Yolanda Sedlmaier, compensation specialist and member of the SA Reward Association (SARA), market data indicates salary increases could be between 5% and 7% this year, while the Reserve Bank's latest forecast for inflation in 2024 stands at 5.1%. She commented: “Market data suggests that managers could receive increases around 5% and union members closer to 7%. This looks better than last year, where the Reserve Bank estimated the average salary increases at just 3.9%, while inflation for 2023 stands at about 6%.”   BankServAfrica's net salaries index showed the average salary was 2.5% higher in February than in January, which was the third month that average salaries had increased. Economist Elize Kruger said the average nominal index of the money salaried employees took home was 6.4% higher in the three months to February than in the corresponding three months a year earlier.   This was in line with a survey by Andrew Levy & Associates, in which 58% of companies indicated they expected to grant salary increases of an average of 5% to 6.9%. "If salaries increase by about 6%, 2024 could be a year of positive real increases in average salaries, and salaried employees' purchasing power will improve compared to the previous two years," Kruger pointed out. However, bracket creep, in which people at the top of a particular tax bracket may end up in the next bracket after a salary increase, could mean they pay more tax.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Is the new National Minimum Wage enough? at The Citizen


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

JMPD officer shot and killed by police in bid to prevent arrest of her 'reckless driver' son

News24 reports that a Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officer was shot and killed during a shootout with members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) outside her Dobsonville home in Gauteng on Saturday evening. According to Phaladi Shuping, spokesperson for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the deceased was the mother of a suspected reckless driver, who was being chased by the police after failing to heed a call to stop.   After he stopped at a certain house in Monaisa Street, the police officers approached the driver and asked why he had refused to stop. The driver was told that he was under arrest for negligent and reckless driving.   The deceased then allegedly came out of her home and argued with the police officers. "She allegedly told them that she was going to get her gun... went into the house, and started shooting at the police officers," Shuping indicated. The woman was killed when the police returned fire. IPID is probing the incident.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nkosikhona Duma at News24. See too, JMPD officer loses her life in violent bid to protect her son from arrest, at TimesLIVE

Manager held at gunpoint during armed robbery at Boxer Superstore in Eastern Cape

News24 reports that the manager of Boxer Superstore in Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape, found himself at the mercy of an armed group of men during a robbery last Wednesday morning. The incident occurred at around 08:30. Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Majola Nkohli reported:   "Men armed with firearms stormed into a supermarket and held a manager at gunpoint. It is believed that the manager was busy counting [the cash] when the incident occurred. The suspects managed to steal an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the scene." In CCTV footage, three people can be seen taking cash that was laid out on a table, as well as sealed red bags also containing cash, and shoving the loot into schoolbags. In a separate video, a crowd can be seen fleeing the store as the incident unfolds.   The suspects are still at large.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Thahasello Mphatsoe at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Stretched resources, heavy workload for IPID officers due to increase in police shootouts, at News24
  • Swaar straf vir moord op polisieman met eie dienspistool, by Maroela Media


RAF STRIKE

Numsa seeks declaratory order that its planned strike at RAF is legal and protected

BL Premium reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has approached the Labour Court for a declaratory order to the effect that its planned strike action at the Road Accident Fund (RAF) is legal and protected. The RAF was granted an interim interdict against the industrial action in March after Numsa announced that it would embark on a “national shutdown” of all RAF offices to demand the removal of CEO Collins Letsoalo for alleged “gross incompetence” and presiding over the “disastrous” state of affairs at the state-owned entity. Numsa’s Irvin Jim said the RAF had falsely claimed in its court papers that it fell under the social security sector and not transportation. “[The] RAF falls under the responsibility of the minister of transport. The RAF board is appointed by the minister of transport, and prior to Numsa being recognised at RAF transport union Satawu was the majority union at RAF.   When Numsa was being consulted during the section 189 [process dealing with retrenchments], RAF as the employer ticked ‘transport’ as the sector that it falls under,” Jim pointed out.   He claimed that the RAF wanted to abuse the court process to get the court to sanction Numsa’s derecognition and said: “On the basis of false assertions they submitted to the court, the RAF unilaterally and unlawfully terminated Numsa’s recognition agreement.” The union wants the court to declare that its registered scope does not prevent it from organising within the RAF as Numsa’s constitution covers it. “We want the recognition agreement reinstated,” said Jim.

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


PUBLIC SERVANTS’ PERFORMANCE

PSA rejects economist's claims and insists 'public servants are undervalued and overworked, not overpaid'

City Press reports that the Public Servants Association (PSA), which represents more than 245,000 public sector employees, has pushed back against claims that public servants are overpaid and underperforming. The trade union said on Friday that public servants were “undervalued and overworked” and struggling to make ends meet, notwithstanding government's recent implementation of a 4.7% salary increase.   The PSA’s remarks came on the heels of comments made last week by economist Dawie Roodt that South African public servants were overpaid and did not deliver the quality services they were supposed to. Roodt slammed the salary increase for civil servants, saying that the public sector wage bill was too high and that government should focus on reigning in spending in order to decrease its debt.   The PSA’s Reuben Maleka criticised Roodt’s remarks, saying the 4.7% wage increase, which took effect on 1 April 2024, was inadequate and failed to keep up with the rising cost of living.   He said public servants were struggling to afford housing and provide quality education for their children, with most of them burdened by debt and unable to afford basic consumer goods.   “Despite these realities, public servants continue to deliver exceptional services to citizens. Their dedication deserves commendation. They are the backbone of public-service institutions, pivotal in meeting the diverse needs of citizens,” Maleka stated.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • State employees to face criminal charges for doing business with government, at Sunday Independent


MINING LABOUR

Harmony Gold wage deal sets new standard in collective bargaining

Jonathan Goldberg, chairman of Global Business Solutions, writes that a landmark collective bargaining agreement has been reached, signalling a new era for SA’s labour landscape. JSE-listed gold producer Harmony Gold last week sealed a transformative five-year deal with five trade unions, namely the NUM, Amcu, Solidarity, Numsa and Uasa.   This breakthrough pact, effective from 1 July 2024 to 30 June 2029, is said to promise stability amidst industry volatility and sets a precedent for constructive negotiations across sectors.   “This agreement is a game-changer,” says Goldberg, who goes on to add: “A precedent has now been set for many other industries to follow. The agreement's provision for a 6% wage increase aligns with inflation projections, ensuring equitable growth for workers while safeguarding industry sustainability.” In his view, the automotive components and manufacturing sector exemplifies the potential ripple effect of this agreement.   Emulating the Harmony Gold model can foster a more resilient and predictable business environment across various sectors. “The Harmony Gold agreement stands as a win-win-win scenario. Workers benefit from wage growth in line with inflation, preserving their standards of living. Harmony Gold gains predictability in labour costs, enhancing strategic planning. Meanwhile, trade unions secure a successful negotiation outcome that advances member interests,” Goldberg comments. He concludes that in essence, the Harmony Gold agreement underscores the efficacy of collective bargaining.

Read Jonathan Goldberg’s full opinion piece in the above regard at Business Report

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Protesters from Phola and Ogies accuse coal mining company Seriti of damaging their homes, at GroundUp
  • Onwettige mynwerkers vlug toe polisie by Sabie toeslaan, by Maroela Media
  • Sibanye’s post-mining agri initiative seeks commercial farming, agribusiness partners, at Mining Weekly


ESKOM RESTRUCTURING

Unforeseen complexities delaying Eskom restructuring into three divisions, says Gordhan

SABC News reports that Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) Minister Pravin Gordhan says unforeseen complexities have caused delays in executing the restructuring of Eskom into three divisions, namely for electricity generation, transmission and distribution.   He indicated that it would take time to complete the restructuring process given the complexity and challenges.   In a written parliamentary reply, Gordhan advised that the Eskom board and the new management team had been directed to speed up the processes. Gordhan pointed out that the Generation Division was functionally separated in March 2021. An internal Divisional Generation board was appointed and ring-fenced financials and reporting were in place. On the transmission side, the National Transmission Company of SA (NTCSA) was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Eskom. The Minister advised that the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) had approved and issued licenses to the NTCSA for operating, trading, as well as importing and exporting electricity.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Joseph Mosia at SABC News


RECRUITMENT / APPOINTMENTS

President of Special Tribunal accused of instructing officials to reserve registrar post for her preferred candidate

News24 reports that the President of the Special Tribunal, Judge Lebogang Modiba, is alleged to have interfered in the recruitment process for a registrar. On 10 February 2023, the Department of Justice and Constitutional advertised a position for a registrar at the Special Tribunal. One of the requirements for the position was an LLB degree. According to two independent sources, Modiba's alleged preferred candidate, Mpho Mashitisho, was still studying for her degree through Unisa, and would only complete her studies in December 2023. During Modiba's meeting with officials, she allegedly told them they should not fill the position and must wait for Mashitisho to complete her studies, as she was almost done with her degree. Another requirement was two years post-qualification experience, in respect of which Modiba allegedly told officials during the meeting that they would use recognition of prior learning and she would personally mentor Mashitisho. Mashitisho is currently acting as a registrar for the Special Tribunal.   Modiba has advised that she was unaware of any complaint in respect of the allegations against her. Modiba is also alleged to have purged staff at the Special Tribunal when she took office in May 2022. Sources claimed she terminated the contracts of an experienced registrar, two court clerks, a messenger, and two administrators, whom she accused of being ineffective.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Belinda Pheto at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Charlene Louw appointed CEO of Beer Association of South Africa, at Business Report


SHOPRITE TRUST PAYMENTS

Shoprite’s employee trust pays out R500m in only two years

Business Report writes that the Shoprite Group has paid out more than R500 million to employees through its Shoprite Employee Trust (SET) in SA, barely two years after the trust was established.   Valued at R8.9 billion following the conclusion of the transaction in May 2022, the Trust was established on a non-vesting, evergreen basis with 40 million Shoprite Checkers shares. Its aim is to ensure the group’s employees benefit from its ongoing success via the Trust. Under the scheme, permanent employees with two years or more of service benefit from distribution payments every six months, in line with the group’s dividend payments. The retail group indicated last week that its Trust had surpassed the R500 million mark in payouts to more than 122,000 eligible employees and their families, following the fifth distribution payment. Shoprite also created 8,131 new jobs in its last financial year, trained 6,250 youth for a career in retail, took part in the YES initiative and funded the studies of 200 tertiary students through a bursary programme.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Edward West at Business Report


HIGHER EDUCATION / QUALIFICATIONS

Educor qualifications still valid, says higher education department

Mail & Guardian reports that the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has assured students that the qualifications they have obtained from Educor’s private institutions are valid. “The qualifications issued or obtained during the period of registration and the phase-out period, remain valid and recognised,” said DHET spokesperson, Vali Mbele last week. The assurance was confirmed by the SA Qualifications Authority (SAQA). On 22 March, the DHET issued a statement in the Government Gazette announcing that the department had decided to deregister Damelin, CityVarsity, Icesa City Campus and Lyceum College as private higher learning institutes for failure to submit audited financial statements, including tax clearance certificates, since 2020. The four are owned by private education provider Educor. Following the announcement, DHET Minister Blade Nzimande slammed Educor for its “gross governance and compliance failures”, which have left 13,000 students in limbo. The department has, however, given the four colleges until December to “conclude the remaining examinations or assessments for the remainder of the current academic year”. The SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), which has been advocating for labour practices at the four colleges, called for the DHET to “nationalise” the Educor institutions. “The department must nationalise these colleges and absorb the workers permanently,” SAFTU said in a statement.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Umamah Bakharia at Mail & Guardian

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Budget cuts force basic education department to reduce number of bursaries for student teachers, at News24


ALLEGED CORRUPTION / FRAUD

More arrests expected relating to KPMG R16.5m bursary fraud

TimesLIVE reports that the Hawks are confident KPMG employee Fidelis Moema, accused of stealing R16.5m of bursary funds meant for university students, will not be the only person prosecuted for the money-laundering scandal. Moema appeared last week in the Palm Ridge commercial crimes court charged with theft, fraud and money laundering. He is accused of stealing R16.5m from the audit firm through making fraudulent transactions between 2021 and 2022. The Hawks probed the case after KPMG reported fraud at the company. “Moema [allegedly] misdirected funds meant for bursary recipients. Instead of paying university fees on behalf of students the accused paid the money into bank accounts belonging to friends and people who own companies.   The money was then paid into his personal bank account,” said Hawks spokesperson W/O Thatohatsi Mavimbela. She said investigations were at an advanced stage and more suspects would be arrested. Moema was hired as a specialist to oversee bursary payments to universities for students. Videos and pictures of Moema depicting a luxurious lifestyle, including a visit to Greece and doing a special helicopter gender reveal of his child, have dominated social media trends.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sinesipho Schrieber at BusinessLive

Two former Cape Town cops sentenced to nine years in jail for selling docket for R40,000

News24 reports that two former Western Cape police officials have been sentenced to an effective nine years in jail for selling a docket for R40,000. The Hawks' Bellville Serious Corruption Investigation team arrested Jonathan Plaatjies and Morne Fasser in August 2014 after receiving information that they had sold the docket. They were charged with corruption, extortion and defeating the administration of justice after entrapment money was found in their possession. They were later dismissed from the police.   Plaatjies and Fasser were convicted in the Bellville Serious Commercial Crime Court in Cape Town on 26 October 2023, and on Wednesday, they were back in court for sentencing. Each of them was sentenced to nine years for one count of corruption, eight years for two counts of extortion, and six years for three counts of defeating the administration of justice. The court ordered that they should serve their sentences concurrently, which means that they have to serve an effective nine years behind bars.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mothushi Thoka at News24

Former director-general in Eastern Cape premier's office and others in court over R20m tender fraud

News24 reports that the former director-general in the Eastern Cape's Office of the Premier, Marion Mbina-Mthembu, and five others appeared in the Zwelitsha Magistrate's Court on Friday on charges of defrauding the state of R20 million. Mbina-Mthembu appeared alongside the former acting Eastern Cape head of education, Sizakele Netshilaphala, the former chief financial officer in the Office of the Premier, Myirhakazi Hannah Ntshingila, and businesspeople Athi Magwentshu, Ntabellang Nkoane and Koleka Mtembu. They were arrested by the Hawks in December on allegations of fraud and money laundering. Mbina-Mthembu, Ntshingila and Magwentshu were each released on R10,000 bail last year.   Nkoane and Mtembu were granted R5,000 bail, and Netshilaphala is out on R6,000 bail. They are accused of misappropriating money for 72 temporary classrooms in 2016, which was meant to ease overcrowding at 30 schools in Gqeberha and Kariega. A Hawks spokesperson said the investigation into the tender began in 2020 after an outcry about poor workmanship in the delivery of prefab structures. The accused will appear again on 10 July.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sithandiwe Velaphi at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • ‘Expanded looting’: Civil servants steal R14 million from EPWP funds over 10 years, at The Citizen
  • Corporate crooks must go to jail, says former CEO of corporate services group EOH, at Business Times (subscriber access only)
  • SOE stuit verkoop van plaas wat bekom is met loterygeld, by Maroela Media
  • Matlosana CFO in another R3m fraud payment, at Sunday Independent
  • AgriCAD-vrou vir 85 aanklagte van diefstal gevonnis, by Maroela Media
  • ANC R102 million Ezulweni scandal "fall guy" takes governing party to CCMA, at City Press (subscriber access only)


OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

  • Board of Healthcare Funders ready to challenge NHI, at The Citizen
  • Ál minder ekspats kom huis toe, by Maroela Media
  • Denel gets R1.2bn to repair SA Air Force helicopters, at City Press (subscriber access only)

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page