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 – WORK PERMITS / CRITICAL SKILLS

Motsoaledi to rework work visa rules after ‘ill-advised’ premature gazetting

BL Premium reports that Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Minister Aaron Motsoaledi will be withdrawing the new work visa regulations he gazetted on 28 March and says he was “ill advised” to gazette them the day before the 29 March deadline for public comments on the draft version.   At a National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) meeting last week, questions were raised about the process and demands were made that the regulations be withdrawn. “We do agree with Nedlac. I personally was ill advised to allow that to happen.   It is important for me to listen to those who are raising concerns.”,” the minister said at a media briefing on Tuesday. Motsoaledi said he would re-gazette the regulations next week and wanted to avoid further delays. While the gist of the regulations will not change, they will rectify smaller issues that have raised concern, such as the requirement that visa applicants under the new points system must have “the ability to adapt within the republic”.   The long-awaited new work visa regulations aim to make it easier for SA to attract foreign skills and to boost investment, growth and job creation. They introduce a points-based system and remote work visas, and streamline other, cumbersome requirements.   Motsoaledi made it clear on Tuesday that the new points-based system will not replace the critical skills visas but will instead change the basis to obtain a general work visa.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Hilary Joffe at BusinessLive (subscriber access only). Read too, Newly gazetted immigration regulations to be withdrawn after procedural error, at News24

Motsoaledi scotches rumours of cancellation of Critical Skills Work Visa

Engineering News reports that Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Tuesday denied that his department had cancelled the Critical Skills Work Visa and emphasised its importance. He said the department was “worried” about rumours around this and also noted confusion between the General Work Visa and the Critical Skills Work Visa. He added, however, that the DHA had changed the manner in which the Critical Skills Work Visa was operated. Motsoaledi was briefing the media on the amendment of immigration regulations.   He recalled that in the past, a critical skills list was issued every four years and the DHA Minister was supposed to gazette skills that were critical to the economy of the country, “but Home Affairs does not have the capacity, nor the knowledge, nor the skills to know what is required. What Home Affairs does is go to the Department of Higher Education (DHE).   The DHE usually asks the Human Sciences Research Council and the council works with other institutions, including labour market surveys, to put together a list of skills which they think are critical for the economy of the country.” He went on to indicate: “All we have done is that we said we cannot wait for four years to recognise a skill as critical; the Minister does it as is required. If any institution comes to prove to us that the particular skill is critical, then we gazette it.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Engineering News. Read too, New Trusted Employer Scheme regulations make it easier for foreigners to work in SA, says Motsoaledi, at TimesLIVE

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Changes are needed in spousal visa protocols, says Motsoaledi, at The Citizen


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

DA calls for thorough investigation into death at hands of cops of female metro police officer in Soweto

The Citizen reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the City of Johannesburg is concerned about the death of a Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officer at the hands of the SA Police Service (SAPS).   Michael Sun, DA shadow MMC for Public Safety, said the incident should be thoroughly investigated to uncover the truth behind the officer’s death. Preliminary IPID reports indicate that the police pursued a reckless driver in Dobsonville, Soweto. When they stopped and were about to arrest the suspect, the mother of the suspect came out of the house and an argument ensued between the cops and the suspect’s mother, who is a member of the JMPD. The suspect’s mother then returned to the house to fetch her gun and shot at the SAPS officers, who returned fire and the JMPD member was killed.   “The DA will be making inquiries at a city level to gather more information about the events that transpired,” Sun indicated. This was the second time in Joburg that a metro police officer was involved in an altercation with SAPS officials. A few months ago, a metro police officer was killed in Braamfontein outside a popular night club after having an altercation with an off-duty police officer.   The incident is still under investigation.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Itumeleng Mafisa at The Citizen. Read too, Son relives how Metro cop mom was 'killed' by SAPS officer, at SowetanLive


MEIBC WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

Unions, industry prepare for ‘tough’ talks, as metals & engineering wage negotiations to get under way on Wednesday

Engineering News reports that trade unions and employers associations expect negotiations at the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC), which are set to start on 10 April in Boksburg, to be tough. According to trade union Solidarity, the negotiations will be challenging because of an agreement reached during the Covid-19 pandemic period in terms of which salary increases were only calculated on the minimum salary scales per job grade. “Employers now want to continue this practice and, while trade unions are aware that the sector is under pressure, this will be opposed. This is because skilled employees are disadvantaged in particular by this practice and skilled employees’ disposable income continues to shrink, leaving them no choice but to leave the country, taking their skills abroad,” Solidarity’s Gideon du Plessis indicated. Solidarity advised that, in response to these circumstances, the six trade unions involved in the negotiations agreed not to come to the table with a long list of salary demands, but rather to make every effort for employees to receive increases on their actual salaries. Meanwhile, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) said this year’s negotiations would not be easy as the challenges facing the industry were many. “South Africa’s economic outlook doesn’t look good and there is little business confidence. The notion of job retention and/or job creation on the back of an alarming[ly] high unemployment rate, fuelled by ongoing retrenchments and business closures, has become elusive,” the employers’ association commented.

Read the full original of the informative report in the above regard at Engineering News


ILLEGAL MINING

Seven suspected zama zamas arrested in shootout on Tuesday in Primrose, Germiston

The Citizen reports that Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) officers have arrested seven suspected illegal miners during a multidisciplinary operation in Germiston. The ‘zama zamas’ were apparently handcuffed on Tuesday morning in Primrose. EMPD spokesperson Kelebogile Thepa said Rapid Tactical Response Unit Officers, in conjunction with the SA Police Service (Saps) Illegal Mining Unit, were conducting an operation when they discovered illegal miners. “The law enforcers proceeded to a scrapyard on the corner of Main Reef and Johann Rissik Roads, and upon their arrival, the suspects noticed the officers and opened fire towards the officers. During the shootout, the highly skilled officers shot six suspects, disarming them of their weapons and arrested one other male suspect who attempted to flee the scene. The suspects, who are between the ages of 27 and 33 years, were transported to the nearest hospital for medical attention,” Thepa reported. A number of weapons were recovered. The suspects are expected to appear at the Germiston Magistrate’s Court soon.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Faizel Patel at The Citizen

Gunfire between cops and ‘zama zamas’; outside Primrose high school forces pupils, staff to run for cover

News24 reports that pupils and staff at Primrose High School in Germiston had to run for cover after gunfire erupted outside the school on Tuesday morning. The shooting happened on the corner of Main Reef and Johann Rissik roads, opposite the school. The area is highly contested by illegal miners, known as zama zamas, who operate in the defunct Simmer and Jack mine, which is now the site of a landfill owned by the Ekurhuleni Municipality. Gunfights between rival illegal miners routinely break out along Main Reef Road. Tracy Emeslin from the Primrose Community Policing Forum commented: “It sounded like fireworks; that's how many shots were going off. It was just another day of the zama zamas shooting at each other.” Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Kelebogile Thepa indicated: "The suspects opened fire on our officers and during the shootout, six suspects were wounded and disarmed.   One of the suspects, who attempted to flee the scene, was arrested." The suspects face charges of possession of illegal firearms and ammunition as well as attempted murder. Meanwhile, pupils returned to class after the situation calmed down.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Aphelele Mbokotho at News24


NASI ISPANI NON-PAYMENTS

Lesufi's Nasi iSpani jobs programme leaves more than 300 recruits without payment

News24 reports that Nasi iSpani, which translates to 'here is a job' in isiZulu, is a mass youth employment programme, which is being driven by Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi. But now, more than 300 young people employed by the programme at the province's Department of Social Development have not been paid since they began working in February. Recruits said their hope to provide for themselves had been shattered. Some spoke of being evicted from their homes after not being able to pay rent and others could not graduate from university because they were unable to settle outstanding fees. The participants were appointed on a 10-month fixed-term contract, according to the job advert. The advertisement was for 311 jobs, with annual salaries ranging between R166,869 and R424,104. All 311 are part of a WhatsApp group, and all said they have not been paid a cent.   "Some officials told us we will probably only get paid after the elections. We hear different stories, and some say that the system has not yet captured us as employees. We were also called into a meeting on Monday, where an official told us she was not supposed to tell us, but there was no budget for our salaries," some of the recruits said. Department spokesperson Themba Gadebe confirmed that all 311 Nasi iSpani employees had not been paid, however, he did not respond to a specific question about whether their salaries had been budgeted for. He also could not say what was causing the delay in processing the payments.

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


EMPLOYEE HOUSING

Old government buildings to be converted into homes for state employees

Engineering News reports that Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi wants to convert old and unused government buildings into residential properties for government employees. Speaking at the Inaugural Built Environment Indaba on 5 April, she said this would be part of an effort to do away with apartheid spatial planning by bringing workers closer to their places of work or to existing economic opportunities. As these buildings were primarily located in the hearts of major metropolitan areas, a renewed focus was being placed on the rejuvenation of the inner cities to create more residential accommodation. Kubayi said the project, which was currently in the conceptualisation phase, would begin by providing residential space for government employees first. She explained that she was working with Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Sihle Zikalala to identify government-owned buildings within the inner cities of major metros with the intent of converting them into residential apartment blocks. “Our first targets are Tshwane, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. In Port Elizabeth, we've already done one through the Social Housing [programme] within the inner city, but there are quite a number that we want to increase. The focus will be in these densely populated areas,” Kubayi indicated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Engineering News

Defence ministry pays nearly R9,000 a month for residence of SANDF chief vacant since 2021

The Citizen reports that the Department of Defence is spending about R9,000 on electricity, water, and waste removal on a property that has been unoccupied for 28 months. This was revealed by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thandi Modise in a parliamentary response to Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald. According to Modise, the official residence of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) chief in Waterkloof has not been occupied since General Solly Shoke vacated it in November 2021. The property is apparently due for maintenance and repairs. “Due to high costs of maintenance and repairs, the scope has been phased with the commencement of the new financial year (FY20224/2025),” Modise indicated. Taxpayers paid R8,561 for electricity, water and sanitation and R407 for waste removal at the property in February. If this figure was at a constant value during the 28 months, the house has stood empty, it would amount to over R250,000 in bills since December 2021. The property is guarded by military personnel.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Vhahangwele Nemakonde at The Citizen

UJ vice-chancellor's official residence gets R3m makeover

News24 reports that furniture worth more than R1 million, R250,000 for "decorations", R243,821 for appliances, R165,581 for an intercom system and R36,000 for a skylight are some of the requisitions approved for a makeover for the official residence of the vice-chancellor (VC) of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi. The individual items that were approved totalled R3 million. The refurbishment of Mpedi's residence was apparently one of the agenda items at a recent council meeting. His term of office started on 1 March 2023. According to the documentation, order numbers were generated for the decorations, pot plants and vases, window treatment, intercom system, electrical, network connection points to visitors' rooms, additional gym equipment, ceiling downlights and globes and wireless beams. Nonetheless, according to sources, the former VC, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, experienced a situation where the ceiling collapsed, and he and his family had to be put up at a hotel one New Year's Eve. SA Union of Students spokesperson Asive Dlanjwa condemned the refurbishment costs, saying the R3 million could have been used to pay for the registration fees of 700 UJ students at the beginning of the year. Norman Malume of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA at UJ said they were not fully aware of the costs of the refurbishment, however, “workers should have been prioritised by being given salary increases. The R3 million could have been used to provide salary increases for the lowest paid workers for 18 months." UJ spokesperson Lebogang Seale said the decision to renovate the VC’s residence and other assets was the responsibility of its facilities management division and “neither the current vice-chancellor nor his predecessors get involved in decisions regarding the renovation and maintenance of university properties.”

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


DISPUTED DISMISSAL

Former Nedbank HR executive fired for alleged racism to challenge Labour Court ruling against her

Fin24 reports that Nedbank says the former human resources executive fired for alleged racism and dishonesty almost five years ago is challenging a recent Labour Court ruling that sanctioned the bank’s actions against her. Anele Makhosazana Mpungose was dismissed by Nedbank in May 2019, following misconduct allegations that ranged from describing black employees as lazy and incompetent to abusing an employee benefit to buy a BMW for an associate at a preferential interest rate. Mpungose challenged her dismissal at the CCMA, which found that her dismissal was substantively fair. She then applied to the Labour Court (LC) for the arbitration award dated 23 October 2020 to be set aside. However, the LC dismissed Mpungose's application on 19 February, saying Nedbank had proved her dismissal was fair and reasonable based on the available evidence. Nedbank has now advised: "The ex-employee has filed for leave to appeal the judgment of the Labour Court granted in Nedbank's favour. Nedbank is opposing the application for leave to appeal. Nedbank has a zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination. We expect all our employees to refrain from such conduct as it undermines dignity, breaks down trust and creates a hostile or intimidating environment."   Mpungose was employed at Nedbank from 1 May 2005 as executive head for human resources in group risk and remained there for 14 years until her dismissal. The LC papers show she faced a range of misconduct allegations dating back to 2014.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Garth Theunissen at Fin24. Lees ook, Nedbank mág bestuurder afdank oor rassistiese uitlatings – hof, by Maroela Media


CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

Eastern Cape teacher suspended for alleged corporal punishment

TimesLIVE reports that an Eastern Cape teacher has been suspended pending an investigation into alleged corporal punishment at school. Pictures surfaced on social media of a pupil from Sandi Senior Secondary School in Ntsundwane, in the OR Tambo coastal district, with a swollen hand from an alleged assault by a teacher. Eastern Cape education MEC Fundile Gade condemned schools still using corporal punishment 28 years after its banning. “Acts of this nature by educators seek to embarrass the sector and the profession because educator unions representing educators are signatories to the South African Schools Act which abolished corporal punishment and declared it a crime against children. We call on law-abiding citizens, including educators, to distance themselves from these malicious and barbaric acts. Failure to do so may lead to the termination of contracts for those found on the wrong side of the law,” said Gade. Department spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said parents were encouraged to open criminal cases of common assault with the police when corporal punishment occurred. The pupil and her peers at school will be included in a training workshop on what to do and where to report corporal punishment.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Shonisani Tshikalange at TimesLIVE


ALLEGED CORRUPTION / FRAUD

Free State sergeant arrested for alleged corruption related to application to expunge criminal record

News24 reports that Free State police have arrested a SA Police Service (SAPS) sergeant for alleged corruption. Police spokesperson Sergeant Mahlomola Kareli said the officer allegedly solicited payments from a client who applied to have his criminal record expunged. The client made the standard payments of R80 and R170, for which he received receipts.   Kareli said the officer allegedly demanded two separate payments of R300, which were not recorded in the SAPS system, raising suspicion that the officer's conduct was illegal. An investigation by the police's anti-corruption unit's led to the officer's arrest. He will appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. "The public is urged to ensure that they receive an invoice, clearly stating the amount paid for services from the finance office. Know that, if you make a payment to any official and you do not receive an official invoice, you might have fallen prey to corruption," Kareli cautioned.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Cebelihle Bhengu at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Limpopo teacher pockets R550,000, pleads guilty to fraud charges over scholar transport, at IOL News
  • Whistleblower claims Unisa CFO received bribes from students, at City Press (subscriber access only)


OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

  • SAL soek nuwe hoofed, by Maroela Media
  • Investec in wrangle with former in-house lawyer over 'sensitive' emails, at Fin24
  • CDE criticises government’s lack of ambition in its job creation strategy, at Engineering News

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page