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


TOP STORY – BHP’s BID FOR ANGLO

Mantashe slams BHP Billiton, opposes Anglo American takeover

Fin24 reports that Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has expressed antipathy to BHP's proposed takeover of Anglo American, as his previous experience with the global mining giant had been negative. Mantashe told the Financial Times that SA’s experience with BHP was "not positive," although he added that he was not expressing an official government position on the matter.   BHP's merger with SA miner Billiton in 2001 "never did much for South Africa", Mantashe told the UK financial publication, noting that the company ultimately divested from the country when it "dumped coal and then created a small company called South32, which is now marginal". The minister's comments came as BHP confirmed that it has proposed an all-share takeover offer of Anglo American. The non-binding proposal also envisages unbundling Anglo subsidiaries Anglo American Platinum and Kumba Iron Ore. While Anglo is also exposed to SA through the De Beer's Venetia Mine in Limpopo, there are reports that, in a separate process to that of the BHP offer, Anglo has been in talks with potential buyers for the diamond business.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Fin24. Read too, Gwede Mantashe vents his displeasure over BHP’s unsolicited mega merger offer to Anglo, at Daily Maverick

BHP’s bid for Anglo American is a massive vote against SA

Moneyweb reports that BHP’s bold bid for Anglo American, minus its key South African assets Kumba and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), is already being dubbed the biggest mining buyout offer in a decade.   Why BHP would want to amputate these profitable businesses from the Anglo American rump is not hard to imagine – it’s because they’re in the wrong country. It is also reported that London-headquartered De Beers, with operations in Botswana, Namibia, SA and Canada, is potentially up for sale.   Load shedding in SA and Transnet’s creaky rail network have hobbled production, especially for Kumba’s iron ore exports. “Unfortunately, SA has been uninvestible since 2004, when the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act came into being, and all the add-ons that followed,” commented analyst Peter Major. BHP has long distanced itself from SA, having unbundled its coal, aluminium and other assets to South32. A stifling regulatory environment, onerous Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) requirements and the unpredictability of running large and complex operations in the midst of load shedding and declining rail capacity – notwithstanding recent improvements in both areas – have placed SA on a “no-go” list for most large mining groups. The real prize for BHP is said to be Anglo American’s copper assets, mainly in South America, its Minas Rio iron ore operation in Brazil, and the potentially interesting Woodsmith potash operation in the UK. The possible disappearance of the once mighty Anglo American, which at its peak controlled a staggering 25% of SA’s GDP and an estimated 60% of the JSE, is said to be yet more tangible proof of SA’s deepening atrophy.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ciaran Ryan at Moneyweb


MEIBC WAGES TALKS

Steel and engineering wage increases must be based on actual pay rates, Solidarity insists

BusinessLive reports that trade union Solidarity has lashed out at the proposal of steel and engineering sector bosses to base wage increases on minimum rates of pay and not on actual wages, saying this would disadvantage skilled and experienced artisans. Unions, including Solidarity and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), met industry bosses for a second round of wage talks at the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) on Wednesday. They have called on employer bodies such as the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa), the National Employers Association of SA (Neasa) and the SA Engineers and Founders Association (Saefa) 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. “The deceptive wage offer presented by the various employer organisations ranges between 6% for the lowest level (Grade H) employees and 5% for skilled (Grade A) employees, but the offer is tied to the minimum rates of pay per job category, and not based on the actual wages earned by employees, a stance that Solidarity has rejected outright,” said Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis. Solidarity is demanding a 6% wage increase each year for three years based on the actual rate of pay. Du Plessis called on employer organisations to review their wage increase offer and “base it on the actual wage rates as was the case until 2021, and to not further disadvantage skilled employees”.   Numsa is demanding increases of 7% in the first year and 6% for the second and third years. The final round of talks is set to be held on 8 May.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Luyolo Mkentane at BusinessLive. Read Solidarity’s press statement on this matter at Politicsweb


SAFETY & SECURITY

'That's the gunman', says survivor of Rand Water shooting as footage matches two suspects in court

TimesLIVE reports that two of the three men arrested for the murder of Rand Water executive Teboho Joala and his bodyguard Sifiso Shange can be seen in short videos taken before and during the assassination. Joala was shot eight times in full view of his colleagues and pupils in the Zakariyya Park community hall while attending a back to school charity event on 29 January.   Suspects Khulekani Ntombela and Lindani Mtshali appeared in the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court this week.   They were charged with two counts of premeditated murder and three of attempted murder. Mdluli can be seen in the video wearing a striped T-shirt seated with schoolchildren moments before the shooting. The footage shows him rushing to the stage and shooting.   Ntombela was also captured in the footage, walking around the hall before the shooting started. Speaking to media after the court appearance, Johannesburg council chief whip Sithembiso Zungu, who sat next to Joala when the assailant posing as a community member killed Joala, said he recognised the shooter at first glance in court. Zungu was also shot at by the man who killed Joala. Zungu believes his life was spared when the assassin's gun apparently ran out of bullets. Rand Water management applauded the police for arresting the suspects three months after the double murder tragedy.

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

Security officer in critical condition after shooting in Durban on Thursday

The Witness reports that one person was left in critical condition after a shooting incident on Rick Turner Road in Durban on Thursday. Garrith Jamison of Advanced Life Support Paramedics (ALS) said the incident happened just before 11.30 am. “Paramedics arrived on the scene to find SAPS and security personnel on the scene with the scene cordoned off,” said Jamieson. He reported that that a security officer was shot in the incident.   “Paramedics worked to stabilize the man on the scene before he rushed to a nearby hospital for the urgent care that he required,” he indicated. Jamison added that it was alleged that the suspects robbed the guard of money, but that the police were on the scene and would be investigating further.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard compiled by Akheel Sewsunker at The Witness

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Mpumalanga police on the hunt for man linked to killing of off-duty cop during a heated argument, at IOL News


REMUNERATION TRENDS

Average take-home pay slightly down in March, but could improve

The Citizen reports that the average take-home pay, measured in the BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index (BTPI), fell marginally in March due to factors that placed financial constraints on companies and pressure on salaries. The weak Rand and higher fuel prices contributed to the strain in the economy during March. “The average real take-home pay, adjusted for inflation, tracked lower at R14,236 in March and slightly below levels a year ago. In nominal terms, the average salary moderated slightly to reach R16,043, still 5.0% up on a year ago and 3.6% up on December’s R15,484,” BankservAfrica’s Shergeran Naidoo reported. A comparison of the average nominal BTPI in the first quarter of 2024 to the corresponding quarter in 2023 shows an increase of 6.2%.   According to independent economist Elize Kruger, if this continues, 2024 could be a better year for salaries as the business environment is expected to improve somewhat, unlike the previous two years, when companies struggled to pay inflation-related increases due to the ongoing economic challenges. She added: “Although mediocre economic growth of 1.1% is forecast for 2024, it is somewhat better than the 0.6% in 2023. The improved outlook hinges on the assumption of reduced load shedding, a moderation in average inflation and a start to the interest rate-cutting cycle.”   Year to date, BankservAfrica data signals alignment with the SA Reserve Bank’s forecast of an average salary increase of 6.1% for 2024. Kruger drew attention to a trend developed recently, especially in the mining industry, where companies have entered into longer-term wage agreements, mostly with above-inflation outcomes for salary earners. “With the average headline inflation forecast to moderate to 5.3% in 2024 and 4.8% in 2025, workers locked into these agreements will receive considerable real increases if lower inflation outcomes do realise,” she noted.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ina Opperman at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Employers offering better benefits to help struggling employees, at The Citizen


WORK PERMITS / VISAS

Some uncertainties remain around incoming visa regime changes in SA

Engineering News reports that government is changing the way the SA visa system works and immigration law experts have lauded this as a positive step to enable more foreign skilled labour into the country.   However, they stress that some clarifications are still needed. In a webinar on 25 April, law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) pointed out that the historical visa system had been cumbersome for many businesses looking to appoint skilled foreigners into their organisations. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) recently introduced changes to the manner in which visas were granted in SA, including by introducing a point-based system. However, CDH’s Imraan Mahomed noted that the manner in which points were to be allocated still needed to be gazetted for public comment. Moreover, the DHA was putting in place regulations for digital nomad visas by amending the law to allow foreigners earning more than R1-million a year to take out a digital nomad visa. CDH’s Taryn York indicated that it was unclear whether the R1-million requirement related to gross or net salary, which would impact on the number of people who could qualify for these visas. A further comment on the digital nomad visa was that it would not be practicably implementable unless the Income Tax Act was also amended. The experts were also unsure of the DHA’s capability to process new visa applications alongside those that have been backlogged for months. Another uncertainty was that draft amendments to the immigration regulations were published before the public comment period had lapsed and so government had to withdraw the regulations for later publication.

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


SANDF DEPLOYMENTS

Ramaphosa extends SANDF deployments in Mozambique, DRC and SADC

News24 reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended the deployment of SA National Defence Force (SANDF) members to combat acts of terrorism and violent extremism in various parts of Africa.   In accordance with Section 201(2)(C) of the Constitution, he has informed acting National Assembly Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli of the retention of SANDF members in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Maritime Security Strategy to address piracy in the SADC Indian Ocean. Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya indicated: "The president has extended the employment of 1,495 members of the SANDF for service in fulfilment of an international obligation of the Republic of South Africa towards the SADC region. The deployment will help combat acts of terrorism and violent extremism affecting the northern areas of Mozambique under Operation Vikela," said Magwenya. The soldiers have been deployed from 16 April to 31 December 2024 at an estimated cost of R984,368,057. The extended deployment of 1,198 other SANDF members to the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC is estimated to cost R805,057,755.   And the deployment of 200 soldiers to the SADC Maritime Security Strategy comes at an estimated cost of R35,325852.

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


ESOP CONFERENCE AWARDS

PepsiCo Bašumi Trust wins awards at employee share ownership conference

Engineering News reports that beverage multinational PepsiCo SA’s employee share ownership programme, Bašumi Trust, received the best governance policies and the most innovative funding model awards at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition's Worker Share Ownership Conference on 23 April. The best governance policies award recognised the Trust for demonstrating the most effective and transparent governance practices in selection of trustees, empowering workers, and promoting worker participation at the highest levels of decision-making. The most innovative funding model award highlighted the trust's approach to funding employee ownership that provided the best financial support to employee-beneficiaries. The Bašumi Trust has 11,452 beneficiaries and is open to all permanent employees who are not directors, such as middle management and below, once they have completed one year of employment. The R1.66-billion Trust was established in November 2021 and is a broad-based black economic empowerment employee share ownership programme. The Trust forms part of the public interest commitments PepsiCo made to the SA government at the time of PepsiCo’s acquisition of Pioneer Foods in 2020. To date, the Trust has distributed R50-million in dividends and R33-million in terms of pro-rata accelerated milestone payments to qualifying beneficiaries. The Trust “serves as an ideal vehicle to demonstrate our dedication to promoting various socioeconomic goals such as job creation, empowerment, fostering talent and developing our associates,” said PepsiCo SA CEO Riaan Heyl.

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


BOGUS HONORARY DOCTORATES

Musa Mseleku reveals that he 'turned down' bogus college offers

TshisaLIVE reports that reality TV star and businessman Musa Mseleku says that he too almost fell victim to bogus institutions.   This after it became known veteran actor Sello Maake kaNcube and Skeem Saam actress Elizabeth Serunye had been awarded bogus honorary doctorates from Trinity International Bible University.   Hours after announcing their “achievement”, Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande said Trinity University was not registered and authorised to offer any qualifications, including honorary degrees. On Wednesday, Mseleku took to his Instagram timeline to say that he too had been approached before by unregistered institutions, but had rejected their offers.   He did not want to disclose the names of the organisations, but divulged what made him sceptical of the offers he received two years ago: “I could see it was more of capitalisation on your popularity as an individual plus marketing strategy for them. Most of these institutions that use religious beliefs to bestow themselves as professors and doctors you will find them all over churches. I refused because I am not too ambitious for those recognitions and secondly I realised that at the time I had not worked enough to get that recognition. I believe that the value of work should be justified by what one has contributed to society.” Mseleku made a call to a UKZN lecturer to verify whether the proposal was legitimate before he turned it down and they both concluded that it was a “no-no".

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at TimesLIVE


NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi slammed for his NHI electioneering 'lies'

City Press reports that Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, has been slammed by the public and opposition parties for making bold promises to the public and making wildly unrealistic promises related to the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme and the 29 May elections.   In a trending video clip that has left the public angry at Lesufi for lying and making empty promises to vulnerable residents in disadvantaged communities, Lesufi is seen promising that anyone who votes for the ANC will be able to walk into any private health care facility, whether it be a clinic or a hospital, to get medical assistance, and the government will pay. He promised that voters would have access to specialist private healthcare, saying: "After treating you, the government will pay that bill free of charge." Lesufi then went on to promise the demise of private medical aid schemes and escape from the currently poor state of public healthcare. However, the National Health Insurance Bill has not yet been signed off, and the NHI is still far from being ready for implementation, according to experts. Just a week ago, Dr Rajesh Patel from the Board of Health Funders (BHF) cautioned the department of health to get its house in order first, before even thinking of rolling out the bill into practice. He warned that the implementation of the NHI in its current form was a disaster waiting to happen, because there was no plan in the current NHI form to fund the bill. Gauteng health shadow MEC for the DA Jack Bloom also slammed the wild promises made by Lesufi in his election speech, and deemed them as a desperate action to stay in office.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Promise Marupeng at City Press. See too, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi urges Ramaphosa to sign controversial NHI Bill, at The Citizen

Lesufi’s lies about the NHI could cost lives, warns Solidarity

Trade union Solidarity issued a statement on Thursday saying that unless Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi himself has the funds or ingenuity to pay the entire population’s medical expenses, his glaringly empty promises about free healthcare could even have life-threatening consequences. A video in which Lesufi is seen seeking to recruit prospective voters at a voting campaign event for the ANC is currently being widely distributed on social media. In the video, he boasts that the ANC’s plan with the National Health Insurance (NHI) is the answer to the country’s healthcare problems. Even though the NHI bill has not yet been signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Lesufi maintains that after 29 May, people will be able to go to “any private or public hospital for the best treatment, and the government will pay your bill”. He says the days when “people died without a medical aid are over” and that there will be “one medical aid for everyone, whether you have job or not”.   Theuns du Buisson, economic researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI), said what Lesufi was telling voters was nothing less than blatant lies. “Making these promises and attaching a date to them is extremely dangerous. Someone always has to pay for medical expenses. In fact, with these statements Lesufi is begging for riots to erupt because these promises are promises he cannot keep,” he warned.   Du Buisson went on to point out:   “He (Lesufi) will have to accept responsibility if people flock to hospitals on 29 May to get treatment, which unfortunately will not be available,” Du Buisson said. According to Solidarity, Lesufi’s statements cannot be shrugged off as mere election talk, as his statements could have serious consequences.

Read Solidarity’s press statement in full at SA Labour News


‘JET’ SKILLS DEVELOPMENT ZONES

SA aims to set up three Just Energy Transition (JET) skills development zones

+Engineering News reports that three Just Energy Transition (JET) skills development zones focusing on renewables and grids, electric vehicles and green hydrogen value chains are proposed for implementation under the larger JET Investment Plan (JET-IP). Pledges for the zones of $11.5-billion have been made by several developed countries. The zones will be anchored to specific educational institutions, most likely technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges selected for their proximity to the priority sectors. Education and training will be tailored towards a specific JET focus, catalytic interventions will be undertaken and partnerships with business developed. Joanne Yawitch of the JET Project Management Unit, which is located in the Presidency, reports that the development of JET-aligned skills has been identified as one of the key portfolios required to implement the JET-IP, approved by Cabinet in 2022. Speaking during a SA National Energy Association webinar, Yawitch said that skills had been identified as a key cross-cutting requirement for the JET-IP, the implementation of which was currently under way. Envisaged was a three-tier JET skills ecosystem, to be coordinated by a ‘JET Desk’ that would be set up either within the Department of Higher Education and Training or the Human Resource Development Council of SA.   Without providing specific timeframes, Yawitch said the immediate priority was the establishment of the JET Skills Desk and the JET Skills Advisory Forum. In parallel, JET skills needs assessments would be undertaken for the three value chains.

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


OVERTURNED CANNABIS DISMISSAL

Labour Appeal Court rules in favour of woman who was fired for smoking ‘a joint’ for medical reasons at home after work

IOL News reports that a Gauteng woman who was fired for smoking cannabis after work for medical reasons took her fight to the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) and emerged victorious. Bernadette Enever filed an appeal against Barloworld SA’s decision to dismiss her on 20 April 2020, for going against its zero-approach policy to drugs and alcohol. In June 2022, the Johannesburg Labour Court ruled in favour of Barloworld, but this week the LAC set aside the ruling in what could possibly be deemed as a ground-breaking judgment. The LAC found that Barloworld’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Policy was “overbroad”.   It further ruled that the policy was irrational and violated Enever’s right to privacy in Section 14 of the Constitution, to the extent that it prohibited office-based employees who did not work with or within an environment that has heavy, dangerous and similar equipment from consuming cannabis in the privacy of their home.   Enever worked as a category analyst at the time of her dismissal. She worked in an office without operating dangerous machinery nor was she required to drive for Barloworld. The court found that Enever’s suffered unfair discrimination and that her dismissal was automatically unfair. Barloworld was ordered to pay her 24 months compensation of some R43,200 per month, amounting to more than R1 million.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jolene Marriah-Maharaj at IOL News


OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

  • Sibanye-Stillwater and Gauteng Education boost West Rand high schools with STEM skills, at The Star
  • Afrikaans remains in jeopardy in schools despite BELA amendments, says Solidarity (press statement), at Politicsweb
  • Approved at last! Fort Hare produces first cohort of qualified speech and language therapists, at News24
  • Tshwane coalition government hails action against five workers over dodgy Rooiwal tender, at The Star
  • Here’s what you’re likely to pay for petrol and diesel in May, at IOL Motoring News
  • Transport industry working to accommodate people with disabilities, at The Citizen

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page