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


George building collapse death toll rises to eight

EWN reports that Western Cape officials on Wednesday night confirmed that the death toll in the deadly building collapse in George has now risen to eight. Rescue workers have been racing against time to save lives at the tragic site where 38 people are still unaccounted for.   A five-storey building under construction caved in on workers in the town two days ago. According to provincial officials, at least 14 of those rescued from underneath the concrete slabs are in a critical condition in hospital.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard at EWN. Read too, Number of workers present at time of George building collapse revised to 81, with 44 workers still unaccounted for, at The Citizen

No job is worth a life, says Nxesi, as search for workers at collapsed George building continues

TimesLIVE reports that Department of Employment and Labour (DET) Minister Thulas Nxesi says the collapse of a multistorey building under construction in George, with 75 workers on site, serves as a reminder of the critical importance of prioritising safety in the workplace.   Since the Monday afternoon tragedy, 36 workers have been retrieved from the rubble, of whom eight were dead, 16 in a critical condition, six categorised with life-threatening injuries and seven with minor injuries. Rescue operations are continuing with a multidisciplinary rescue team of more than 200 people. With DET occupational health and safety inspectors on site, Nxesi explained:   “We will await the official handing over of the site to the department to enable us to proceed with investigations” on finalisation of rescue and recovery interventions. He went on to say: “It is imperative to recommit ourselves to the principle that no job is worth risking the safety or lives of employees. Every effort must be made to prevent similar incidents in future.   Redoubling efforts to promote a culture of safety, vigilance and accountability in organisations is paramount.” Western Cape premier Alan Winde said he was humbled by the help given to the rescue and emergency response effort. “Without us all pulling together, we would not have been able to respond to this incident in the way we have. We must not give up hope. To all the emergency personnel assisting: you are true heroes. My heart goes out to the families of the deceased. I share your pain. We will do everything we can to ensure we determine the cause of this incident,” he said.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Engineering organisations, labour department urge patience as cause of George building collapse awaits determination, at Engineering News
  • Cosatu demands accountability, calls for construction company owners and management to be held liable for George building collapse deaths, at IOL News


eThekwini water and sanitation department employee shot dead on municipal premises

News24 reports that another eThekwini municipality water and sanitation department employee has been shot dead. The official, who has not yet been identified, was shot on Tuesday night outside municipal offices in Springfield, Durban. A source close to the investigation said the man was shot multiple times and that the gunmen fled. Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda confirmed the shooting at the offices in Electron Road and said:   "Police responded to reports of a shooting and upon arrival at the scene, the deceased was found lying dead inside municipality premises with multiple gunshot wounds." He added that the suspects were unknown and that the motive for the killing had not been established. The City's water and sanitation department has experienced a spate of murders of senior employees. In November last year, a senior manager who had been under metro police protection for almost a year because of threats to his life, was killed. Acting senior manager for plants and logistics in the water and sanitation Unit, Emmanuel Ntuli, was shot at his home in Mandeni. In September last year, a 52-year-old eThekwini water and sanitation department employee was shot dead in a state vehicle in Inanda. Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning, eight people were arrested for extortion and possession of illegal firearms after they allegedly ambushed an independent contractor repairing water infrastructure in Inanda.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sakhiseni Nxumalo at News24

Contract worker dies after sudden pipe burst causes trench collapse in Salt Rock

The North Coast Courier reports that an employee working for a company contracted by Siza Water to repair water pipes on the corner of Osborne Drive and Hulett Road in Salt Rock, died tragically on Wednesday afternoon when a water pipe suddenly burst, causing the trench he was working in to collapse. According to IPSS Medical Rescue’s Samantha Meyrick, the man was initially trapped in waist-deep sand. Colleagues worked frantically to try and dig him out as the trench rapidly filled with water but were unable to pull him out. Emergency teams and KwaDukuza fire department personnel worked for over an hour to recover the body from the sludge.   What caused the pipe to burst is currently unknown, and the man’s identity cannot be revealed until his family has been informed.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sboniso Dlamini at The Citizen. Lees ook, Man verdrink in sloot toe pyp bars, by Maroela Media

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Calls for Bolt e-hailing service to be cancelled after more safety concerns emerge, at Sunday Tribune


Seifsa CEO Lucio Trentini says steel and engineering wage deal in the pipeline

BL Premium reports that the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) is confident a multi-term wage deal will be reached at Wednesday’s talks between the parties.   Seifsa is the sector’s largest employer body, representing 19 organisations with about 170,000 workers. Unions including Solidarity and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) have been engaged in talks with employer organisations at the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC), demanding above-inflation increases. The Consolidated Employers Organisation, the National Employers Association of SA (Neasa), SA Engineers and Founders Association (Saefa), SA United Employers Organisation and Seifsa are offering increases of 5%-6% tied to the minimum rates of pay. Unions want the increases to be based on the actual wages earned by employees.   Seifsa CEO Lucio Trentini indicated that employers would table a proposal on Wednesday that would “allow us to sign a wage deal for the next three years”. He was confident the proposed offer from employers would “bring us to an agreement — if not, very close to a settlement. But we are confident what we will present … will bring us over the line.” Solidarity is demanding a 6% wage increase each year for three years. “But we want the increases to be based on the actual rate of pay,” said general secretary Gideon du Plessis. Numsa is demanding increases of 7% in the first year and 6% for the second and third years.

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

Steel and engineering wage offer for artisans not acceptable to Solidarity

Maroela Media reports that Solidarity issued a press statement on Wednesday indicating that the wage offer for skilled artisans made earlier by employers in the steel and engineering sector left the trade union with no choice but to reject it. The parties met earlier under the auspices of the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) for the last round of wage negotiations.   Gideon du Plessis, Solidarity’s general secretary, explained that the final wage offer made by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) on behalf of several employer organisations was structured in such a way that the increases were calculated on the minimum wage scales per job category. “The end result is that skilled artisans who are at the higher wage scales are hugely disadvantaged,” Du Plessis explained.   He noted that the increases in the previous three-year agreement were calculated on the minimum wage rates as a compromise after Covid-19, which was understandable given the circumstances at the time. However, “the continuation of this discriminatory practice for a further three-year period means that artisans will receive increases of way below inflation for six consecutive years.” Solidarity’s final demand of a minimum increase of 5% on actual wages was apparently rejected by the employers. Solidarity therefore requested its negotiators not to sign the ‘artisan-unfriendly’ agreement, even if the other trade unions decided to accept the employers’ offer. Solidarity appealed to employers to calculate the increase on artisans’ actual wage rates, as had been the case before 2021, but added that it would probably have to follow the prescribed dispute route.

Read the full original of the report in Afrikaans in the above regard at Maroela Media


Shell’s exit from SA unlikely to lead to mass job cuts and closure of its petrol stations

BusinessTech reports that Liquid Fuels Wholesalers Association of SA’s CEO, Peter Morgan, says Shell’s exit from SA is unlikely to lead to mass job cuts and the closure of its petrol stations. According to Morgan, Shell would probably follow the same approach it took in other African countries. This would involve leaving a smaller sub-brand in the country, where it would retain a percentage of ownership in its petrol stations. Morgan pointed out that people did not need to worry because the company was not planning to shut down its retail network. This meant the roughly 600 forecourts and the jobs they provided were not immediately at risk, and the sites were not likely to close down entirely.   Morgan explained that the smaller sub-brand, called Viva, would likely be 80% owned by any given partner, while Shell would retain 20%. “I’m not too concerned at all. We are not talking about losing jobs at petrol stations here,” he said.   Following a worldwide review of its downstream and renewables business, the oil giant confirmed on 6 May its intentions to exit shareholdings in its SA retail, transport, and refining operations. The international oil giant has a significant presence in SA and has operated here since 1902. The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has also granted it exploration rights in the country.

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


NHI will take many years to implement, says Treasury

BL Premium reports that a senior Treasury official told the Board of Healthcare Funders’ (BHF’s) annual conference on Wednesday that the government’s plans for National Health Insurance (NHI) were likely to take many years to implement as there was limited scope to fund it with higher taxes. The first legislation for the scheme, the NHI Bill, was passed by parliament in December but has yet to be signed into law by the President. How it will be financed has not yet been finalised but the Department of Health (DOH) previously said it expected to raise an additional R200bn for NHI with taxes. “It is quite likely the evolution of NHI will be gradual over many years (and it is) likely it will not be promulgated all at once,” said the Treasury’s chief director for health and social development, Mark Blecher. In the current financial environment, it was difficult to make the case for increasing the proportion of public money set aside for health as it was already high relative to many other countries, said Blecher. Moreover, many countries that spent less on health were achieving better health outcomes, he said, citing Indonesia as an example. “We do need to move forward to NHI but we need to realise the fiscal constraints we are working under … and not being unrealistic about what the public sector can and cannot do. I think colleagues should perhaps not be unnecessarily nervous about the future because changes will be long and involve many stakeholders,” Blecher told delegates. The DOH’s Sandile Buthelezi said NHI would be phased in over time.

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

More nurses needed for NHI Bill to be effectively implemented, says Life Healthcare group

EWN reports that as the world gears up to commemorate International Nurses' Day on Sunday, the Life HealthCare Hospital group said that the hotly contested NHI Bill needed more nurses within the healthcare sector in order to be implemented without a hitch. The hospital group weighed in on the feasibility of the bill at a media briefing on Wednesday. It warned that in order for the bill to be effective, the immediate training and absorption of more nurses into the country’s healthcare system was vital.   Often referred to as the backbone of the healthcare system, both public and private, thousands of nurses reportedly sit at home, unemployed and unable to provide much-needed services.   Life Healthcare called on government to prioritise citizen health by training more nurses. In 2019, several private hospitals appealed to the SA Nursing Council to lift a restriction on the number of nurses private hospitals could train. To date, SA's two biggest hospital groups, Netcare and Mediclinic have only trained 303 nurses. Life Healthcare CEO Pete Wharton-Hood commented: "In the context of why, I am not getting any reasonable answers.   We look at it and say hang on a minute, there is something at play here that we do not understand. We know that we have to train more nurses, we are not stopping." He reiterated that private healthcare providers were more than willing to extend a hand to the public sector to mitigate the critical nursing shortage.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mongezi Koko at EWN


Ipid concerned over recent arrests of scores of police officers

The Star reports that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has raised concerns about the high number of law enforcement officials being arrested. From 7 April to date, scores of police officials have been nabbed on various charges, ranging from murder and attempted murder to discharging their police firearms, and rape. Speaking on Tuesday, Ipid spokesperson Phaladi Shuping expressed concern over the alarming rate of police being arrested or appearing in court for these alleged crimes, saying it was disappointing. He said Ipid could not really tell why this had become a scourge since the selection process was the responsibility of the police. “As Ipid, we are aware of these incidents and we need all law enforcement officers to assist in the fight against crime due to the high rate of crime in our country. It is disappointing when there are allegations of criminality against law enforcement officers,” Shuping stated. In the last month, six rape charges have been laid, with some allegedly raping their loved ones, or senior officers allegedly raping trainee females. The latest rape accused, a 34-year old police constable from Richmond in the Northern Cape, who was arrested on Monday, appeared in court on charges of rape and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mashudu Sadike at The Star

Police facing skills exodus to private sector, says Popcru

The Citizen reports that according to the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), the police are facing a dire skills shortage within their Special Task Force and National Intervention Units. But the drain of human resources is not limited to elite members, with the total number of officers having fallen by 17,470 in the decade between 2012 and 2022. The cause of the drop has been attributed to officers either retiring or leaving uniformed service all together, but a significant portion have opted to take up better paying roles within the private sector. Popcru President, Thulani Ngwenya, indicated:   “The migration of some of our most experienced and valuable officers to the private sector is not only weakening our law enforcement capabilities, but also undermining the principle of state responsibility for protecting all citizens. This represents a serious threat to our national security, as our most skilled officers are leaving faster than we can train replacements.”   Lamenting a power imbalance, he said:   “Private security should not outnumber police in any country. It’s not correct that private security’s numbers are stronger than the state’s, because private security’s concern is for the rich people who can pay for their services, not for the poor or for protecting our communities. The responsibility for protecting the country cannot be privatised – it must remain in the hands of the state in accordance with our Constitution.” Popcru urged government to muster the political and administrative will to make the police service an attractive employment option.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jarryd Westerdale at The Citizen


Mashatile VIP unit assault case: Victim thought he was going to be hijacked

News24 reports that the man who was accosted by several presidential protection officers on the N1 highway recounted how he thought he was about to be hijacked when he saw a vehicle travelling alongside him, with the occupants pointing firearms at him. The man, who cannot be named due to a court order, testified in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. Eight VIP police officers who are linked to Deputy President Paul Mashatile's security detail are on trial for assault, pointing of a firearm, and other charges. The officers were captured on video dragging a man from a metallic blue VW and kicking him as he lay on the ground. During cross-examination on Wednesday, the witness, who was driving the VW with passengers, said the entire incident happened quickly. The man told the court he saw the weapons, and before he knew it, he was forced to stop. During his evidence in chief, he recalled how after they stopped, he was hit with the butt of a gun by one of the accused. The witness' eyes filled with tears as he identified himself as the individual who had been dragged by the accused in the video.   The video also showed him lying unconscious.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Alex Mitchley at News24. Read too, Accused claim they pulled motorist over to check whether he was threat to 'main car', at News24


Msunduza mayor defends ‘suspending’ municipal manager via WhatsApp

The Mercury reports that Msunduzi Municipality mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla has defended the decision to notify the municipal manager, Lulamile Mapholoba, via WhatsApp that he had been suspended. Thebolla said there was nothing wrong with sending the suspension letter via that form of communication. “After the council meeting on May 2 (which suspended the city manager) was done and the (suspension letter) was done, I first shared that letter with the municipal manager via WhatsApp and then shared the letter with his lawyers. There are many ways to communicate and all of them are legal,” Thebolla said. But Mapholoba felt differently, arguing that sending a suspension letter via WhatsApp was not one of the legal ways to communicate serious information concerning a senior official. The city manager and the City are embroiled in an increasingly bitter legal dispute. The City has suspended him on the basis of accusations of serious wrongdoing. But the city manager has defended himself saying his suspension was politically motivated.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Suspended Putco workers warm seats at depots, at The Citizen


North West Parks Board employee arrested for theft of 51 rhino horns

TimesLIVE reports that the Hawks have arrested a North West Parks and Tourism Board employee for his alleged involvement in the theft of 51 rhino horns. The suspect, aged 48, was arrested at his workplace on Wednesday after an investigation linked him to a business burglary on 26 June last year at the board’s main vault in Mahikeng from which the horns were stolen. His alleged accomplices, Elias Mangande and Lefa Mankgaba, were arrested in July. Mankgaba is out on bail, while Mangande is in custody. “The suspect will appear in the Mmabatho Magistrate’s Court on Thursday to face charges of business burglary,” Hawks spokesperson Lt-Col Tinyiko Mathebula advised.

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


  • Cosatu says all political party donations should be declared, at The Mercury
  • Sol-Tech bied nou ook kwalifikasie in kinderontwikkeling, by Maroela Media
  • Commuters battle to get refunds after Cape Town trains on Southern Line suspended, at GroundUp
  • Controversial R38m Madibeng EPWP programme launch claims scalps of two senior officials, at City Press (subscriber access only)
  • Pharmacist-led ARV treatment ‘threatens doctors’ income’, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page