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


UNPAID FUND CONTRIBUTIONS

FSCA’s latest list shows 4,000 employers sitting on pension fund contributions that haven’t been paid over to funds

Fin24 reports that according to the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), naming and shaming employers who have not paid retirement fund contributions over into the retirement fund set up for their employees has been a "good move" that made several employers pay attention to their debt. Astrid Ludin, FSCA deputy commissioner, told last week’s Pension Lawyers Association conference that more funds were reporting unpaid contributions and more employers were responding when contacted about unpaid contributions, which amounted to some R7 billion. In late March, the FSCA published its latest list of employers with outstanding contributions up to July last year. It noted that since the first list was published in August last year, close to 90 employers had responded by entering into arrangements to settle what they owed. Around nine have paid their outstanding contributions. The list of errant employers still runs to around 4,000 employers and includes many security companies that have not paid contributions to the Private Sector Security Provident Fund for their employees. Other employers on the list include municipalities and furniture companies. In some cases employers have failed to pay their portion of the contributions. In other cases, they have also deducted retirement fund contributions from employees’ salaries and unlawfully used this money for their own purposes. The FSCA’s list of employers with arrear contributions shows contributions outstanding for anything between five months and 21 years. Ludin advised that the regulator had appointed a team that would contact employers with contribution debt and help them understand the options.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Laura du Preez, editor of Smart About Money, at Fin24


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

Trio accused of assassination of Rand Water executive make brief court appearance

TimesLIVE reports that three men alleged to be behind the brazen assassination of Rand Water executive Teboho Joala and his bodyguard Sifiso Shange in January appeared in the Lenasia Magistrate's Court on Monday. The trio, identified as Khulekani Mdluli, Zamokuhle Ntombela and Lindani Mtshali, are alleged to have killed Joala and Shange in full view of a group of children at a school event held in a hall in Zakariyya Park. The trio were charged with two counts of premeditated murder and three counts of attempted murder. Their case was postponed to 29 April when they are expected to apply for bail. Johannesburg city council chief whip Sithembiso Zungu, who was sitting next to Joala at the fateful event, said an assailant disguised as a community member rushed the stage and opened fire on Joala. The motive for the killing remains unclear.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at TimesLIVE. Read too, Three men appear in court for murder of Rand Water executive Teboho Joala, bodyguard, at News24

Cape Town employee receiving trauma counselling after team robbed at knifepoint in Elsies River

Cape Argus reports that a Cape Town Water and Sanitation worker is receiving trauma counselling after the City’s team was robbed at knifepoint while fixing sewer overflow in Elsies River. The incident took place at the Owen Road and Adriaanse Avenue intersection, when unknown suspects appeared and robbed the worker of his cellphone last week. Water and Sanitation Mayco member, Zahid Badroodien, confirmed the incident and reported: “One staff member who was manning the sewer pump was robbed of his cellphone. The staff member was held up with a knife and robbed.” He advised that going forward, “our teams will require the support of law enforcement before entering this area to render services.” Badroodien commented further: “The anxiety and emotional distress of working in such an unpredictable environment cannot be underestimated and the City has provided counselling to the affected staff members through our Employee Wellness Programme.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Marsha Dean at Cape Argus

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Two people detained after Cape Town cop shot at and wounded on Monday, third suspect at large, at News24


SABC WAGE DEAL

Union’s threat to disrupt SABC election coverage pays off with 6% wage deal

BL Premium writes that open threats to disrupt coverage of the upcoming general election over a wage dispute at the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) paid off for the Communication Workers Union (CWU) after the cash-strapped public broadcaster and the union signed a 6% wage increase agreement on Monday. The CWU represents more than 600 of the public broadcaster’s estimated workforce of 2,000 (including contractors). SABC workers have not received a pay increase for the past three years as the broadcaster has been bleeding cash for years and has relied on government bailouts to keep operating. The pay deal for the 2023/24 financial year comes after CWU national bargaining co-ordinator Nathen Bowers vowed in December 2023 that the union would disrupt the election should the struggling broadcaster not accede to its demand for higher wages. Wage talks began in July 2023 after the CWU tabled an increase of 18% across the board. The SABC initially offered no increase before tabling 6%, backdated to 1 October 2023. The CWU, however, had wanted the increase backdated to 1 April 2023, which resulted in a deadlock. The matter was referred to the CCMA, which led to the resolution of the dispute on Monday. When contacted for comment, Bowers said the wage deal was a result of a “negotiated settlement”. He added that the new group CEO Nomsa Chabeli “agrees the SABC needs to implement any wage agreement retrospectively. The agreement starts on April 1 2023. This is a major victory for workers.”

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


MINING LABOUR

ActionSA protests at NPA offices in Pretoria at inaction over Lily Mine tragedy

The Mercury reports that ActionSA on Monday held a picket in front of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) offices in Pretoria with the families of those killed in the Lily Mine tragedy of 2016.   They were protesting over the NPA’s failure to take a decision about possible prosecution of those involved.   On 5 February 2016, Solomon Nyirenda, Yvonne Mnisi and Pretty Nkambule were trapped underground after the crown pillar at Lily mine in Mpumalanga collapsed. The three were in a container that plunged 60m during the collapse. They were killed and their unrecovered remains have still not been recovered.   ActionSA president Herman Mashaba noted that the Mbombela Magistrate’s Court found, in mid-October last year, that the NPA should consider criminal prosecution against implicated individuals and bodies, including the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.   He claimed that they were promised in December that a decision would be made in January, but it had not yet been announced by the NPA. Mashaba said the party’s objective remained to see the mine shaft reopened to retrieve the container in which the three victims were entombed. This would allow relatives to provide a proper burial for their loved ones, as well as securing compensation for the families of the affected miners, and ensuring that those who were liable for the tragedy were criminally prosecuted.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kuben Chetty at The Mercury

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Struggling mining sector likely to see more job losses, at Mail & Guardian (subscriber access only)
  • Kumba flags rise in extortion mafias in mining sector, at BusinessLive


JOBS / EMPLOYMENT

Minister launches Labour Activation Programme in the Western Cape

The Star reports that the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) embarked on a groundbreaking Labour Activation Programme for the Western Cape at the Northlink College Campus Hall, in Bellville, on Wednesday last week. Minister Thulas Nxesi explained that the inauguration was a component of a nationwide initiative aimed at generating over 700,000 job opportunities across the country. A sum of R23.8 billion has been earmarked for its execution by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). The opportunities will run between 12 and 36 months and the job prospects will arise from various sectors, including agriculture, hospitality, education, telecommunication, insurance, safety and security, transport, customer services and manufacturing. “These opportunities will materialise through partnerships with private enterprises, SETAs, TVET colleges and non-governmental organisations, among others.   The inception of the Labour Activation Programme stemmed from the economic downturn of 2008,” the minister indicated. He added that the initiative would minimise job losses through collaborative efforts with partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).   “The UIF has a monitoring framework accountable to its board, which, along with board members, will conduct quarterly visits to these projects. Furthermore, these projects will be included in the Director-General's monthly strategic reporting,” Nxesi pointed out. He added that these projects were not an electioneering stunt or linked to the Thuja Capital matter.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nobukhosi Tshabalala at The Star

Cosatu welcomes setting aside of R5 billion contract awarded to Thuja Capital for a jobs creation project

Cape Times reports that labour federation Cosatu has welcomed a Pretoria High Court judgement that set aside the R5 billion contract awarded to Thuja Capital for a jobs creation project. On Friday, the court ruled that the Thuja Capital deal was invalid, and also interdicted Mthunzi Mdwaba, CEO of Thuja Holdings, from making further defamatory remarks against Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) Minister Thulas Nxesi. Mdwaba had claimed that Nxesi solicited a R500 million bribe for the deal to be implemented. He had also implicated Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, as well as ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula in the alleged tender bribe. Cosatu’s Matthew Parks said the federation was shocked in 2023 by seemingly “very suspicious and underhanded” attempts to siphon R5 billion from the UIF to what appeared to be a get rich scheme by Thuja Capital. “We welcome the Minister for Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi’s appointment of a forensic audit into this scurrilous failed deal. It is critical this report be released to the public and that its recommendations on action to be taken against persons found wanting inside and outside the state be effected,” Parks said. He also urged Nxesi to expedite plans to overhaul the Unemployment Insurance Fund to ensure that workers could apply for with ease and receive their monies timeously.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mayibongwe Maqhina at Cape Times

Ramaphosa intervenes in unemployed KZN teacher's predicament

TimesLIVE reports that a qualified teacher who has never had a paid teaching job since graduating eight years ago with a BEd from Unisa might finally get one thanks to the 29 May general election campaign.   During President Cyril Ramaphosa's door-to-door campaign at Shongweni, west of Durban on Sunday, he visited the Nene family home. Ramaphosa was met with tears as Slindile Nene, 42, and her mother told the president of their pain because of her unemployment. Even after volunteering for three years at schools nearby, teaching up to grade 11 isiZulu, life skills and social sciences, she has never been employed or paid a stipend. “I'm on every database of unemployed teachers but when it's time for employment it's like they never get to my name. I don't even get assistant teacher opportunities because I am over 35 years of age,” Nene told Ramaphosa. The family live off the mother's old age grant and child support grant for two grandchildren. “I want this matter resolved,” the president instructed staff during the conversation. He assured Nene her matter would be “fixed”.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Zimasa Matiwane at TimesLIVE

Abuse in eThekwini of Presidential employment programme flagged

The Mercury reports that the Presidential Employment Programme (PEP) in eThekwini Municipality has been flagged for irregularities after it emerged that more than half-a-million rand has been paid to people who were not supposed to benefit from the programme. The PEP is a government initiative that seeks to stimulate economic activity by giving employment to South Africans without work.   A report compiled by the municipality’s economic development and planning cluster, which has oversight of the programme, detailed the irregularities. It was compiled after the auditor-general found during its audit that there were material irregularities in the programme. The AG’s audit covered the 2022/23 financial year and was tabled before the municipal public accounts committee (MPAC) last week. The report revealed that R471,000 had been paid irregularly to people who should not have been part of the programme as they were already employed elsewhere in government at the time they benefited. Twelve of the people were employed in other government departments, while eight were deceased. One person was paid R147,000 from the programme while he was in the employ of the Department of Public Works. Two other people earned R73,000 from the programme while they also worked for the state. The report found that more than R42,000 was paid posthumously to eight people who were deceased. DA councillor Sibonisi Sibisi called on the City to do more to prevent double dipping where people who were already employed in other government departments were also benefiting from the PEP illegally.

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

Cape Town trains 1,000 new metro police officers to help SAPS fight crime

TimesLIVE reports that the City of Cape Town is training 1,000 potential new metro police officers as part of an 18-month full-time learnership which includes extensive physical training, training on legislation, theory and practical experience. The initiative called “Project 1,000” hopes to build on the Law Enforcement Advancement Programme (Leap) which has already deployed 1,300 new officers on the ground in crime hotspots in the city. That programme began in December 2023 after an extensive recruitment process and the City has allocated R35m to the project this year.   Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said:   “We aim to keep growing our policing resources over time to help SAPS fight crime. Our investments are showing promising results, particularly in helping SAPS combat gang, gun and drug crime. City policing operations confiscated 447 illegal firearms in the past two financial years. Firearm-related arrests went up 35% in 2022/2023, with law enforcement also doubling annual drug arrests from 4,000 to 8,000 in the same period.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Anthony Molyneaux at TimesLIVE

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Minister het plan met poste in gesondheidsektor, by Maroela Media
  • Stressful ordeal awaits people trying to get UIF payments, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)


BOGUS HONORARY DOCTORATES

Department of Higher Education slams Trinity International Bible University over honorary doctorates

Sunday Tribune reports that veteran actor Sello Maake KaNcube recently took to social media to announce that he was now a “doctor”.   He also posted pictures of himself being conferred with an honorary doctorate by the Trinity International Bible University. The pictures caused a stir on social media and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) issued a statement, clarifying that Trinity International Bible University was not a registered private higher education institution, nor was it authorised to offer any qualifications, also not honorary degrees. Gospel singers Winnie Mashaba and Rebecca Malope have also obtained doctorates from the institution. Professor Blade Nzimande, Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, said he had become aware of reports on social media of honorary doctorates that have been awarded to some of the country's top celebrities by Trinity International Bible University. He advised that the DHET had written to the university previously, warning it about continuing to operate illegally and urging it to regularise its operations.   He also reported that the department had asked the Council on Higher Education (CHE) for guidance on how honorary qualifications should be offered, and by whom. “The department is considering more comprehensive and decisive action against Trinity International Bible University and all other individuals or institutions, who continue to undermine the department's regulations,” Nzimande stated.

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


‘BLACKLIST’ SUSPENSIONS DENIED

Tshwane City Manager rejects perception of a 'blacklist' targeting senior managers

News24 reports that Tshwane's City manager, Johan Mettler, has sought to dispel perceptions that a targeted purge of senior managers was taking place. On Monday, Mettler indicated in a statement that it had come to his attention that municipal employees were of the view that there might be a "blacklist" targeting certain managers. This perception seemingly followed the precautionary suspension of five senior officials in connection with the awarding of the Rooiwal tender to a company linked to controversial businessman Edwin Sodi. Mettler wrote: "Let me be quite clear with you. There is no such thing, and I want to state, emphatically, that my job here is to establish and to manage a rules-based organisation. So, all the decisions that we do, those decisions that we make, must be lawful. Those decisions must be within the confines of one's job description and it must always be in the best interest of the municipality where staff members operate outside of those parameters. That is when irregular expenditure will be incurred."   Mettler said he was obligated, by law, to investigate and to recover such irregular expenditure. He added that the vast majority of staff were honest, hardworking and ethical officials. Last week, it was reported that the five senior managers accused of flouting processes in the awarding of the Rooiwal wastewater treatment plant tender were found not guilty on three of the four charges after a disciplinary hearing.   On Saturday, the City announced that the employees had been placed on paid precautionary suspension.   "The City strenuously disagrees with the outcome of the disciplinary process and has resolved to appeal the entire outcome of the disciplinary process at the Labour Court," Tshwane's spokesperson, Selby Bokaba explained.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Alex Mitchley at News24


ALLEGED CORRUPTION / FRAUD

Second retired SANDF general arrested and charged for alleged irregularities in R2m military tender

News24 reports that a second retired SA National Defence Force (SANDF) brigadier general has been arrested and charged with fraud in connection with a R2 million tender for heat-resistant buffs and military goggles for soldiers undertaking peacekeeping missions in the Darfur region of Sudan in 2016. Brigadier General Linda John Selepe, the director of Peace Support Operations, appeared in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on Friday alongside another SANDF official, Sergeant Sibusiso Bewana. Both men were charged with one count of fraud, stemming from alleged misrepresentations that ultimately resulted in the awarding of a multimillion-rand tender to Phomolo Enterprises in 2016. Selepe and Bewana were each granted bail of R5,000. In their bail applications, Mondlane and Mwali said they intended to plead not guilty to the charges. They will join the other co-accused, retired Brigadier General Mendis Eddy Mondlane and Phomolo Enterprises director Mugisha Charles Mwali, in the dock on 17 July. Operation Cordite, which began in 2004, saw the deployment of South African soldiers to Darfur as part of the African Union peacekeeping force operating in the war-torn region.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Alex Mitchley at News24


OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

  • Risk of high inflation still in SA, says Lesetja Kganyago, at BusinessLive
  • Cyril Ramaphosa extends SANDF deployments, at BusinessLive
  • ‘Regter se rasse-vooroordele ’n duidelike onreg’ – Solidariteit, by Maroela Media
  • No drinking during lunch at work, at Pretoria News
  • Dismissal for not wearing a mask is unfair, court rules, at Pretoria News
  • Trains are running again on Metrorail’s Southern Line in Cape Town, at GroundUp

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page