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.


STEEL & ENGINEERING WAGE TALKS

Seifsa says steel and engineering wage talks are going well so far

BL Premium reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has told its members in the steel and engineering sector to be ready “for any eventuality” as it is engaged in wage talks with employers in the Metals Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC).   The union tabled its demands for increases of 7% in the first year and 6% for the second and third years of a multi-year deal during the first round of talks on 10 April 2024. Numsa has called on employer bodies such as the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa)t and the National Employers Association of SA (Neasa) to table a meaningful wage offer based on the actual rates of pay – not on the minimum rate of pay – in the sector, where the lowest-paid employee earns R59.10 per hour. Lucio Trentini, CEO of Seifsa, which is the sector’s largest employer body, described the first round of talks as a “very good round, it was a positive round”.   He went on to say: “We are very encouraged by how Numsa framed their demands.   It opens the way for a potentially painless settlement. We are positive and no-one at this stage is talking about downing tools or bringing the industry to a standstill. We are hoping for a speedy settlement by looking at what the unions are looking for and what the industry can afford.” The second round of talks is scheduled for Wednesday, with the final round set to be held on 8 May.

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


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Eight die on way to work in crash between bus and truck in Limpopo last Thursday

TimesLIVE reports that eight people died when a bus and a truck collided early on Thursday on the R555 in the Tubatse-Fetakgomo municipality in Sekhukhune, Limpopo. According to the Limpopo transport and community safety department, the crash was caused by a bus overtaking unsafely, which sideswiped a truck. The deceased were all passengers in the truck who were going to work at a brick manufacturing company. Transport and community safety MEC Florence Radzilani sent condolences to the families of the victims. She called on motorists to drive with caution and observe traffic rules.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Shonisani Tshikalange at SowetanLive

Three arrested for murder in January of Rand Water executive

News24 reports that Gauteng police have arrested three people for the murder of Rand Water executive Teboho Joala and his bodyguard earlier this year. Police spokesperson Brigadier Brenda Muridili said intelligence information led the the investigating team to the first suspect, who was arrested on Thursday while he was en route to Gauteng from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Muridili said further information led the team to two other suspects in KZN. The trio will appear before the Protea Magistrate's Court on 22 April 2024.   Last month, the police arrested 27-year-old Ayanda Ngwenya, who was found in possession of a gun suspected to have been used in the murder. Ngwenya is in custody until his court appearance on 22 May. Joala and his bodyguard were fatally shot on 29 January 2024 at a back-to-school event in Zakariyya Park, Johannesburg, in full view of pupils and colleagues. The hit man entered through the door used by the officials and shot at Joala, who was about to address the pupils.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Cebelihle Bhengu at News24. Lees ook, Drie vas ná moord op hoë van Rand Water, by Maroela Media

Pilots and crew ensure safe landing after FlySafair wheel damage drama on Sunday

News24 reports that on Sunday a FlySafair plane returned to Johannesburg following concerns regarding damage to a wheel during take-off.   Dramatic footage of the attendants preparing passengers for an emergency landing was recorded inside Flight FA212 which had been en route to Cape Town. Emergency vehicles gathered on the runway, but the aircraft, which had left OR Tambo International Airport just after 11.30, landed without incident at 14:06. "After take-off, ground staff at OR Tambo reported witnessing what appeared to be damage to one of the aircraft's back wheels. The crew was alerted and the decision was taken to return to Johannesburg," said FlySafair's Kirby Gordon. Observers confirmed that one of the four rear wheels had come adrift during the take-off roll. The wheel affected was one of the two attached to the left rear landing strut.   The airline praised the pilots for the safe landing and the crew for keeping passengers calm. No injuries were reported. Airports Company SA (Acsa) praised the FlySafair pilots and crew for their professional handling of the emergency: "Their training and experience ensured that all passengers on board the plane walked away unscathed.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ntwaagae Seleka at News24

Discovery’s Sandton offices now have therapy dogs to boost employee wellness

Fin24 reports that Discovery has rolled out pooch-based therapy to help employees cope with workplace stress and improve their mental well-being. The insurance and investment group has partnered with Woodrock Animal Rescue's Paws@Work initiative to allow employees at its Sandton headquarters relieve stress by interacting with therapy dogs during office hours on select days. The dogs, which are specially trained by Woodrock Animal Rescue, are brought to the ground floor of 1 Discovery Place where employees can freely interact with them. "Our staff really look forward to spending time with the Woodrock dogs once a week – and the love they give to the dogs after their previous lives where they were abused or mistreated is providing so much comfort to the pups too," Steve Teasdale, Discovery's chief people experience officer, explained.   He added: “In terms of neuroscience and mental wellbeing studies for employees, there is proven evidence that petting animals releases serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin, much like the love mothers and babies share in the first few weeks.” Jacqui Martheze of Woodrock Animal Rescue commented: "Interacting with an animal in the workplace can relieve stress and anxiety, elevate serotonin levels and improve general feelings of wellbeing among employees. But the biggest benefit is that it takes away the stigma of dealing with mental wellness issues, whether it be workplace anxiety or even something serious like depression.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Garth Theunissen at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Teacher collapses and dies on premises at Vanderbijlpark school, at SowetanLive
  • Cameron exposes “horrific” working conditions in SAPS – after another cop killing, by BizNews
  • Shot at, pistol whipped, robbed: A day in the life of an EMS worker in Nelson Mandela Bay, at News24


MINING LABOUR

Ditched workers want jobs back as new owner takes over Optimum Coal Mine

Fin24 reports that the resumption of trains carrying coal at the formerly Gupta-owned Optimum Coal Mine in Mpumalanga was met with great excitement from the new owners, Liberty Coal, earlier this month when the first consignments were sent down to Richards Bay. It, however, also caught the attention of hundreds of former Optimum employees, some of whom gathered outside the mine gates on Thursday to demand an engagement about their employment prospects.   Former employee Sipho Nkambule said the group was met with private security and police and was instructed to route their request through the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).   The former workers, who have been jobless for six to eight years, will now meet with the NUM, but say they have lost faith in the union's ability to represent their interests as only certain individuals appeared to have benefited from the work opportunities which arose at the mine. The notorious Gupta family previously owned the coal mine, which was placed into business rescue in early 2018. In terms of a creditor-approved rescue plan as eventually agreed, Liberty took over the mine. According to Liberty, around 1,600 people are currently employed at Optimum, some of whom are former employees. Eventually, around 3,000 people will be employed at the mine. As part of the business rescue process, Liberty committed to prioritise the employment of former workers. But, Liberty has called for patience in light of various challenges which have only recently been overcome.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lisa Steyn at Fin24


STER-KINEKOR RETRENCHMENTS

Mixed reactions on social media to Ster-Kinekor shutting down nine cinemas and laying-off staff

Sunday Tribune reports that the recent announcement of the closure of nine Ster-Kinekor cinemas across the country has been met with mixed reactions on social media. The cinema company will also be laying off 236 employees in the process.   Among the cinemas facing closures, three are in KwaZulu-Natal, five in Gauteng and one in the Western Cape.   There are a couple of others that are also under review. The company explained that in recent months the business had suffered a significant decline in attendances. “This is largely as a result if a challenging economic environment, prolonged and more intense load shedding as well as the impact of the Hollywood actors’ and writers’ strike where content scheduled for 2023 and 2024 has been moved out to 2025,” it indicated in a statement. Most social media users were not concerned about the shutdown, saying that watching a movie at the cinema had become unaffordable for a household earning an average income.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Alyssia Birjalal at Sunday Tribune


SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

Chieta to lead in the establishment of a Green Hydrogen Skills Centre to plug the skills gap

Business Report writes that the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (Chieta) will lead in the establishment of a Centre of Specialisation for Green Hydrogen Skills to close the hydrogen skills gap and ensure SA has the skills to grow the hydrogen economy. This was announced after the release last week of a groundbreaking research report mapping the way forward for “Identification of Skills Needs for the Hydrogen Economy“ by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Blade Nzimande. Chieta CEO Yershen Pillay said on Thursday that they would be collaborating with the Mining Qualification Authority (MQA) and Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) to establish the multimillion-dollar centre by next year. He noted that the research report underscored the importance of proactive skills development to support SA’s transition to a green hydrogen economy.   “By identifying skills needs and collaborating with stakeholders, we aim to ensure that our workforce is adequately equipped to seize the opportunities presented by green hydrogen,” Pillay pointed out. The Chemical Sector Education and Training Authority also welcomed the release of the report, which identified Setas as central to the growth of the green hydrogen economy.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Given Majola at Business Report

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


FAKE QUALIFICATIONS

Senior HR manager in Limpopo premier's office arrested for misrepresenting qualifications

News24 reports that a senior human resources manager in Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha's office has been arrested for misrepresenting his qualifications. Mbobole Michael Maseko was arrested on Thursday by the Hawks in Limpopo. The 59-year-old Maseko allegedly misrepresented his qualifications when he applied for an advertised position of Senior Manager: Human Resource Management in the office of the premier in October 2012.   "Due to his misrepresentation, Maseko was shortlisted and eventually appointed. His appointment prejudiced the office of the premier, which suffered a loss of more than R11 million," said Limpopo Hawks spokesperson Warrant Officer Lethunya Mmuroa. He reported further: “The Hawks thoroughly investigated the case. Subsequently, a warrant of arrest was authorised by the NPA. Maseko appeared in the Polokwane Magistrate's Court on 18 April.”   Maseko is expected back in court on 23 April for a bail application.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Ntwaagae Seleka at News24. See too, Senior manager in Limpopo Premier’s office arrested for misrepresenting his qualifications, 12 years later, at IOL News


NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

Ramaphosa says he will sign NHI Bill into law “in the next few weeks”

IOL News reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to sign the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law in the next few weeks. He was on the campaign trail in KwaZulu-Natal when he indicated that he would be signing the bill into law. Parliament approved the bill last year, but it has been sitting on the President’s desk following objections against it. Political parties and other stakeholders have urged him to refer the bill back to parliament because it was said to be flawed. They have threatened to take the government to court if Ramaphosa signs the bill into law on the basis that it would be unconstitutional and unworkable. Other stakeholders have argued that parliament had failed to take into account submissions made during public hearings. But Ramaphosa said on Saturday: “There is a bill I will sign into law in the next few weeks. We will have the NHI. This will ensure access to free healthcare. We want to end the two tier health system. There must be universal health coverage.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Siyabonga Mkhwanazi at IOL News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Só lyk besteding aan NGV werklik – department, by Maroela Media


SUSPENSIONS

Tshwane officials largely absolved in Rooiwal tender award placed on suspension, with disciplinary process to be appealed

The Citizen reports that the City of Tshwane has placed five senior officials on precautionary suspension for the controversial Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant tender award. This follows a year-long internal disciplinary process, which found them guilty on only one of the four charges they faced. Last Wednesday, the City issued the five officials with an intended letter of suspension and afforded them the opportunity to make representations on why they should not be suspended. On Friday, the final decision to place them on precautionary suspension with full pay was taken. The officials were found not guilty on three charges, but were found guilty on one of the charges. The guilty verdict related to the technical evaluation of a piece of equipment installed at Rooiwal, and the presiding officer of the disciplinary process recommended a one-month suspension without pay for all five officials. However, Tshwane disagreed with the outcome and said it would appeal the entire outcome of the disciplinary process at the Labour Court. City manager Johann Mettler commented:   "The officials are senior employees of the municipality and majority of them on the BEC are engineers and ought to have applied themselves properly when evaluating the tender regarding the belt presses."   Spokesperson Selby Bokaba said:   “The City is of the view that, their continued presence at the workplace, will be detrimental to the stability of the municipality”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Vhahangwele Nemakonde at The Citizen. See too, Tshwane suspends five officials for gross negligence in Rooiwal tender, seeks to dismiss them outright, at News24. En ook, Vyf van Tshwane voorlopig geskors oor Rooiwal-tender, by Maroela Media

Unisa CFO suspended after asking Hawks to probe conspiracy to falsely implicate her in receiving bank deposits from students

News24 reports that Unisa vice-chancellor Puleng LenkaBula has placed the university's acting chief financial officer (CFO), Reshma Mathura, on precautionary suspension for, among other things, allegedly receiving bank deposits from students in an irregular manner. This despite the fact that Mathura informed LenkaBula that "four unexpected and unsolicited cash deposits" of R330 each were deposited into her bank account and that "this malicious and criminal conduct" was intended to slander her and remove her from her position. In a letter dated 3 April 2024, which was written to LenkaBula on Mathura's behalf, AfriForum's advocate Gerrie Nel said the individuals who made the deposits to Mathura "are unknown to her and certainly had no reason to deposit money into her account". On Wednesday, Unisa indicated that the relevant university departments had been tasked to investigate the allegations against Mathura and to follow due processes.   But no mention was made at that time that she would be placed on precautionary suspension. On Thursday, AfriForum's private prosecution unit confirmed that Mathura had filed a criminal complaint with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) to probe a conspiracy to falsely implicate her in criminality. Then on Friday, LenkaBula informed Mathura that it had come to her attention that she may have contravened the university's policies and/or laws, including misconduct such as sharing, without authorisation or consent, personal and private information with external parties. Meanwhile, in a statement on Thursday, AfriForum said its private prosecution unit had addressed a letter to Unisa council chair Daniel Mosia, asking him to ensure that Mathura's complaint was being investigated internally because two letters addressed to professor Puleng LenkaBula had gone unanswered, save for a response seeking clarity on the private prosecution unit's status as Mathura's legal representatives.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Prega Govender at News24. Lees ook, Viserektor by Unisa nader Valke oor ‘smeerveldtog’, by Maroela Media


ALLEGED CORRUPTION / FRAUD

Police clerk who accepted R3,500 bribe to destroy homicide docket sentenced to eight years in jail

News24 reports that a police clerk who accepted a R3,500 bribe to destroy the docket in a culpable homicide case was sentenced to an effective eight years in prison by the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court. Vasvanthan Govender appeared in court on Friday for corruption relating to the disappearance of the docket. Gauteng National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said Govender had access to dockets and was responsible for ensuring they were allocated to and from other units, that new case dockets were assigned to investigating officers, and that fingerprints were forwarded to Local Criminal Record Centres. The accused, Soondaram Naidoo, faced homicide charges involving the accidental death of a nine-year-old. The case against him was later withdrawn. Mjonondwane said Naidoo later reported Govender, leading to his arrest and subsequent trial. Govender was charged with corrupt activities relating to public officers and defeating the administration of justice and sentenced to eight and three years, respectively. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Celebrity bodyguard Anwar Khan gets R200,000 bail in Fort Hare University corruption case, at News24
  • Former Home Affairs official jailed to 14 years for birth certificate fraud, at IOL News
  • Former SANDF general accused of fraud of more than R2m gets R10,000 bail, at BusinessLive
  • UIF R5bn tender: Thuja Capital CEO loses second defamation case, at News24


ALLEGED SEXUAL HARASSMENT / ASSAULT

Seventeen years after her resignation, former SABC employee seeks R10 million in sexual harassment case

City Press reports that a former SABC health and safety employee has instituted claims that she suffered sexual harassment by her former boss at the public broadcaster. The alleged victim is demanding R10 million for the trauma and stress she suffered during her ordeal at the institution – 17 years after she resigned as a result of the harassment.   In her affidavit at the Johannesburg High Court, Lethabo Maunatlala detailed the extent of sexual transgressions perpetrated against her during her tenure as an employee at the SABC’s head offices in Auckland Park between June and September 2007, at the hands of former manager Louis Korkie. In her damages claim filed on 16 April, she cited that Korkie had been found guilty of sexual harassment in the course of a disciplinary process in 2019, but that the public broadcaster had failed to pay her the compensation she had demanded.   Maunatlala outlined that after she rejected Korkie’s sexual advances, she had been subjected to victimisation by Korkie, who became rude and aggressive towards her. Maunatlala further claimed that the public broadcaster had failed to create an environment free of sexual harassment. “The SABC failed to take all or any reasonable steps to preserve and protect the bodily integrity, psychological wellbeing, mental tranquility and dignity of its employees and failed to prevent Korkie’s sexual harassment, when [it could have done so]. She suffered a great deal of trauma, requiring leave and medical treatment due to work-related stress during July 2007. Her salary was consequently withheld by the SABC for July 2007,” her affidavit indicates. The SABC confirmed receipt of the summons.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Vrystaat-onderwyser wat glo verkrag borgtog toegestaan, by Maroela Media


OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

  • Mapisa-Nqakula vra weermag moet regskoste betaal, by Maroela Media
  • Household food basket prices rise 8.6% in March from a year ago, at Business Report
  • Nedbank’s top seven executive were paid a total of R396.8 million in 2023, at Moneyweb

 


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