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 – SHELL DISINVESTMENT

Shell says future employment is guaranteed for staff affected by divestment

City Press reports that global petrol giant Shell says future employment prospects for its employees affected by its divesting option are guaranteed. The multinational company, after wide speculation over the weekend about it divesting from its downstream portfolio, finally dropped the bombshell on Monday to its employees at a meeting in Johannesburg. In an interview with City Press on Tuesday, Shell Downstream SA (SDSA) spokesperson Pam Ntaka said that, although it was still unknown as to when the decision would be effected, it was expected to be soon. Ntaka stated: Shell will work to secure the best outcome for our staff, including post-completion employment commitments from a buyer. The group's priority is to divest its shareholding in SDSA within the shortest achievable time frame.”   She could not comment on a proposed meeting with Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Max Matavire at City Press (subscriber access only)

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Shell is ditching its SA downstream business after more than 120 years, at Fin24


GEORGE TRAGEDY

More workers rescued from collapsed George building as death toll reaches seven

TimesLIVE reports that thirty-three workers had been removed from the rubble of the collapsed multistorey construction site in George as at 7.40pm on Tuesday, and the death toll had risen to seven.   Rescuers retrieved five more workers between 2pm and 7.40pm on Tuesday. In an update, the George municipality said this left 42 people unaccounted for as 75 workers were present on the site at the time of the collapse at 2.09pm on Monday. On Tuesday afternoon, George mayor Leon van Wyk reported that the developers of the site, Neotrend Group, submitted building plans to the municipality in December 2022 and the plans were approved on 6 July 2023. The plans consisted of four-storey apartments, parking and a basement. The Department of Employment and Labour said it could not probe the cause of the collapse until the investigation was handed over to the department.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at TimesLIVE. Read too, Death toll now at seven from George building collapse, at SABC News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • George construction collapse: Families hold onto hope as rescuers race against time, at News24
  • 'The next thing I was in the air' - two workers at George construction site recall miraculous escape, at News24
  • George building collapse: Fresh teams deployed as rescue efforts continue, at EWN
  • George-tragedie: Onafhanklike ondersoek na gebou wat ineenstort, by Maroela Media


HEALTH & SAFETY

Saftu calls for the implementation of Khampepe report on Usindiso building

The Star reports that the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has urged the government to urgently build houses for downtrodden people to avoid another tragedy such as that which led to the deaths of 76 people in a fire at the Usindiso building. The trade union federation’s secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said that would resolve the question of illegal occupation of abandoned buildings, which were often in inhabitable conditions with no access to water, electricity or refuse collection. Saftu said it was happy that the Khampepe report into the tragedy denounced claims that the building had been occupied mostly by foreigners as those who claimed such were looking for a scapegoat to hide government failures. “That poor South African workers opt to live in these inhabitable buildings, proves that the real problem is the housing crisis, not the so-called illegal immigrants occupying buildings illegally,” Vavi said.   Saftu welcomed the Khampepe report, adding that it was a step towards pursuing justice for the victims who died and those who lost their belongings in the fire. The report found that Johannesburg Property Company chief executive Helen Botes; Joburg MMC for Human Settlements Anthea Leitch and Joburg Public Safety MMC Dr Mgcini Tshwaku had failed to conduct oversight and recommended that appropriate action be taken against them.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sipho Jack at The Star. Read too, City of Joburg to blame for Usindiso tragedy that saw 76 die, inquiry finds, at TimesLIVE

RFA calls for information on road death of a traffic officer near Lebombo border post

The Mercury reports that the Road Freight Association (RFA) has called on members of the public and companies with information to assist police in their investigation into the death of a traffic officer killed by a heavy vehicle in Komatipoort, near the Lebombo border in Mpumalanga last week.   RFA CEO Gavin Kelly said the association was saddened to learn that another traffic officer had been killed by a heavy freight vehicle. He pointed out that this was a stark reminder that road safety, respect for the rules of the road and recognition of the vital role played by traffic officers should remain top of mind when people drove on the road. The transport department said Hadi had been assigned to divert trucks from the N2 onto the weighbridge to be checked for overloading. “It is alleged that she was busy with another truck on the left shoulder of the road when another truck travelling from East to West on the N2 bumped her and her body landed about 50 to 80 metres from the point of impact. The truck came to a standstill some 100 to 150 metres further on,” it reported. Hadi died instantly. The driver of the truck has been arrested and detained at Kinkelbos SAPS with initial charges of culpable homicide and reckless or negligent driving.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Karen Singh at The Mercury

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • ‘Bolt is deeply disturbed’ by alleged stabbings in Cape Town by driver, at The Citizen
  • Cape Town firefighter injured in Du Noon blaze and treated at the scene, at SABC News
  • Adapting workplaces to climate change, at The Star
  • The crucial link between employee happiness and work efficiency, at Sunday Tribune


INDUSTRIAL ACTION

Samwu members in Rustenburg municipality strike over salary grading

SABC News reports that members of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) employed by the Rustenburg Local Municipality in the North West are on strike over grading of their salaries. The union says it has been demanding improvement of their salary scale codes for more than seven years. According to Samwu, its members are paid as if they are working for a Grade 5 municipality, whereas the Rustenburg Local Municipality is already on Grade 7. Allegedly, the mayor, municipal manager and directors have already had their scales upgraded to Grade 7. Municipalities are graded according to their size. The union started striking on Monday. Samwu shop steward Bushy Mafora commented: “We have been engaging with the employer since from 2017/ 2018. The employer was arrogant … they are telling us that salary negotiations can be negotiated at the bargaining council. They are confusing issues here, we are not talking about salary increment, we are talking about the grading on the municipality. Hence the executive mayor, the municipality manager and the director are getting salaries of Grade 7. That’s why we’re striking”

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Tebogo Phakedi at SABC News

Numsa gets order to restrain SA Steel Mills from disciplining workers until legality of strike has been determined

TimesLIVE reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) welcomed the judgment of the Johannesburg Labour Court handed down on Tuesday, which restrained SA Steel Mills from imposing any disciplinary sanctions against 162 workers. Numsa said it was compelled to approach the court on an urgent basis to block the employer from abusing its power. “SA Steel Mills suspended 162 workers for what it claims is misconduct for participating in an ‘unlawful strike’. Our members went on a protected strike on April 16, and the court granted the company a temporary interdict to block the strike on April 19,” Numsa advised in a statement.   The union said arguments on whether the interim order granted in favour of the employer on 19 April should be made permanent would be presented to court on Thursday. “The court has not made a final determination on the legality of the strike, therefore it is unfair for SA Steel Mills to discipline and attempt to dismiss workers over this when the courts have not pronounced on it,” the union pointed out. The union alleged the company, in internal proceedings, set up a sham disciplinary process and had already found the employees guilty and intended to dismiss them.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ernest Mabuza at TimesLIVE


MINING

Cosatu urges PIC, other Anglo American shareholders to reject BHP’s takeover bid

Bloomberg reports that SA’s largest labour union federation has urged local shareholders, including the powerful Public Investment Corporation (PIC), to oppose BHP Group's bid to buy Anglo American.   The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), which includes the National Union of Mineworkers among its affiliates, said a deal would not be in the national interest. South African shareholders hold about 26% of Anglo, with the PIC owning 8.4%. BHP’s proposal on 25 April to acquire Anglo raised the ire of some members of SA’s government, including Mining Minister Gwede Mantashe. The Australian company responded by deploying a senior team including its chief executive officer to SA to win over government officials, regulators and local Anglo shareholders. BHP’s proposal includes a plan for Anglo to spin off its platinum and iron ore units before an eventual takeover of the remaining assets.   BHP is targeting Anglo for its South American copper mines, which would make it the world’s biggest producer of the key metal. Anglo has rejected the initial bid, but BHP is expected to make an improved offer. The PIC, which manages the pensions of government workers, has said it would assess any BHP offer. "Cosatu is deeply concerned about the possible sale of Anglo assets in South Africa to BHP. It is critical that South African shareholders, including the PIC, ensure these assets remain South African-owned," the federation said on Tuesday

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Antony Sguazzin at Fin24. Read too, Shell confirms intention to divest from South African downstream operations, at Daily Maverick

Illegal mining kingpin linked to 29 murders shot dead by police in Soweto while resisting arrest

The Citizen reports that police have gunned down a wanted illegal mining kingpin linked to 29 murders, including a mass shooting at a tavern in Nomzamo Park, Soweto where a shooter opened fire on the patrons in July 2022. National police spokesperson, Athlenda Mathe said the Lesotho national was traced to Jabulani in Soweto at the weekend. He resisted arrest and allegedly pointed a firearm at a police officer, who fatally shot him. The police were deployed as part of Operation Vala Umgodi, the national intervention unit led by the SA Police Service (SAPS). As part of the nationwide tracing operations, the police seized 7,130 uncut diamonds valued at an estimated R32 million. Operation Vala Umgodi has been initiated in seven provinces identified as illegal mining hotspots, including Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. A tracing operation conducted in Limpopo and the Northern Cape last week yielded the arrest of 62 and nine illegal mining suspects, respectively. The same multi-disciplinary team seized R1 million in cash, explosives and digging equipment during a raid of a house in Carletonville in April.   Since Operation Vala Umgodi commenced, police have arrested at least 4,774 suspects for crimes related to illicit mining activities. Also, police have confiscated R4 million in cash, 146 firearms, 4,518 rounds of ammunition, 78 vehicles and 112 trucks and TLB’s used to access illegal mining sites.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jarryd Westerdale at The Citizen. See too, Police kill illegal mining kingpin linked to 29 murders, at SABC News. En ook, Baasbrein van onwettige mynbou doodgeskiet; word verbind met 29 moorde, by Maroela Media


VETERANS BENEFITS

Cape Corps Military Veterans members march to Parliament calling for full benefits and pensions

Cape Argus reports that members of the SA Cape Corps Military Veterans staged a peaceful march to Parliament on Monday and handed over a three-page memorandum and petition appealing for full military benefits and pensions. According to the veterans, they haven’t received benefits in 30 years, and their appeals to the government, including the Department of Military Veterans (DMV), have been ignored. Veterans from regions including the North West, Pretoria and Cape Town, made their way to Parliament, supported by the Western Cape Aboriginal Governance Council.   General Aubrey Goliath, 60, from Bonteheuwel, retired in 1989 and said they had been appealing since 1994.   “For years we have been promised according to Article 18 of 2011, which makes provision for us as military veterans, that we will be compensated with every kind of benefit, but until today, we have received nothing. We just get papers and constantly need to apply, and hand in the necessary documents like our force numbers, but nothing has taken place amongst our Cape Corps Military Veterans. We need to ask and follow up every time, then we are told to wait and have patience,” he reported. After waiting for over an hour for someone from Parliament to address the crowd, the Western Cape Provincial Coordinator of Military Veterans, Michael Masala, arrived, saying: “The people in the ministry who are authorised to receive the memorandum are not here. I am here to receive the memorandum on behalf of the department and I will send it to the (defence) minister’s office who will be the one who responds.”

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


MEDICAL SCHEMES / NHI

Government trying to demonise medical schemes, BHF research shows

BL Premium reports that according to research presented at the annual Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) conference this week, a succession of health ministers has deliberately promoted false claims about medical schemes to bolster the ANC government’s case for National Health Insurance (NHI). These include assertions that the medical scheme industry is on the verge of collapse, that beneficiaries routinely run out of benefits midyear and are dumped on the state, and that most medical scheme members are white. The BHF is one of SA’s key industry associations for medical schemes and administrators, with members that collectively represent half of SA’s 9-million medical scheme beneficiaries. It commissioned independent research to counter the government’s “sensationalist and emotive” narrative about medical schemes. The analysis was conducted by Wits governance expert Alex van den Heever, who concluded: “There is a pattern to demonise the medical aid system, to make it look as if it is collapsing and could never form part of [universal health coverage] in the context of NHI.” While many of the statements were hyperbolic and not backed up by systematic research or evidence, they nevertheless carried weight because they were made by individuals in positions of power, he noted. Van den Heever identified 11 sets of frequently repeated claims that he concluded were unsubstantiated and untrue. The claim that most medical scheme members were white was wrong, he pointed out, as Stats SA data showed that 50.2% of medical scheme beneficiaries were black African and 32.3% were white. Similarly, claims that medical scheme members frequently ran out of benefits midyear and were “dumped” on the state were false.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • NHI requires R600bn to be implemented, at The Star


REVOLVING DOOR SUSPENSION

Msunduzi municipal manager served with another suspension letter

The Witness reports that the return this week of Msunduzi’s suspended municipal manager Lulamile Mapholoba to his office was short-lived. The Durban Labour Court’s ruling on Monday that Mapholoba’s February suspension was unlawful took another turn on Tuesday. Mapholoba could not commence his duties as he was served with another suspension letter. The Labour Court on Monday ruled that Mapholoba’s suspension in February was illegal, and that he should return to work following his urgent application for the reversal of his suspension pending his appeal at the SA Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC). He argued that proper procedure had not been followed to effect his February suspension. But, Msunduzi spokesperson Ntobeko Mkhize said Mapholoba was served with another suspension letter pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct.   Mkhize advised that a council meeting held last week had resolved to suspend Mapholoba after an independent investigator found prima facie cases to be investigated against him.

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Chris Ndaliso at The Witness


COMMUTER RAIL SAFETY

Prasa to award delayed security tender in about three months

Cape Times reports that the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) is expecting to award its long-awaited new security tender in about three months. This was indicated in an affidavit that the state-owned entity filed in compliance with a 9 April Western Cape High Court order. In a scathing court order last month, Acting Judge Michael Bishop expressed disappointment at Prasa’s failure to produce plans for a new tender for the protection of commuters, trains and infrastructure. He ordered Prasa to file an affidavit which included plans and timelines for issuing the tender and a proposal for how the court should continue to supervise the implementation of the tender, and any other information it considered relevant to the court’s ongoing supervision.   Prasa acting group head of corporate security, Alexio Papadopulo, indicated: “Its (Prasa’s) plans, including timelines for issuing a new tender for security services for its trains and infrastructure in the Western Cape, are to issue a new national tender which will include security services for the Prasa trains and infrastructure in the Western Cape within a month of this affidavit, and to have the award of that tender completed and awarded by July or August this year.” The four security firms who are applicants in the case, namely Sechaba Protection Services, Supreme Security, Chuma Security Services and Vusa-Isizwe Security, are expected to file responding affidavits this week. The High Court is expected to issue further directions after receipt of the affidavits.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Okuhle Hlati at Cape Times


OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

  • Greater government co-ordination on industrial policy needed, says Patel as he releases review of achievements over past five years, at BusinessLive
  • Opinion” New code of conduct promotes higher standard of ethical behaviour among MPs, at BusinessLive
  • How to foster fair and inclusive recruitment, at The Star
  • Tinned fish overtakes chicken as South Africa’s preferred protein, at Mail & Guardian
  • Sanef celebrates first graduation of financial journalism fellowship, at TimesLIVE
  • 291 jaar tronkstraf vir vrou wat bedrieg, by Maroela Media

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page