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.


Unemployment rate rose to 32.9% in the first quarter of 2024

Business Times reports that Statistics SA has announced that the official unemployment rate grew from 32.1% to 32.9% in the first quarter of 2024, with the unemployment rate according to the expanded definition increasing to 41.9%. "The results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey indicate that the number of employed persons increased by 22,000 to 16.7-million in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the fourth quarter of 2023," according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released on Tuesday. But, unemployed people increased by 330,000 to 8.2-million.   Discouraged jobseekers decreased by 1,000 in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the fourth quarter of 2023.   This resulted in a net decrease of 215,000 in the not economically active population. The largest increases in employment were recorded in trade, where jobs went up to 109,000; followed by manufacturing, which employed 99,000; private households, where 44,000 people had jobs; and transport, which accounted for 39,000 jobs. Decreases in employment were recorded in community and social services; construction; finance; and utilities. Provinces where the number of employed people increased include KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Northern Cape. Employment decreases were recorded in the Western Cape, the North West, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. Jobs in the Free State remained unchanged.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Khulekani Magubane at BusinessLive. See too, Unemployment rises in Q1, pressuring the ANC before elections, at Moneyweb. En ook, Werkloosheidsyfer styg kort voor verkiesing, by Maroela Media

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


Death toll in George building collapse rises to 33 after 193 hours into rescue operation on Tuesday

The Citizen reports that the death toll in the George building collapse tragedy in the Western Cape rose to 33 as of 3pm on Tuesday.   With Monday marking the eighth day since the collapse of the five-storey structure in the George CBD, there were fears that the death toll could rise further. The George Municipality said rescue workers and other role players had been on site for over 193 hours. “The primary focus continues to be on rescue efforts.   With this in mind, we are also proactively setting up plans to expedite the identification of the deceased,” the municipality indicated. It also confirmed that 19 of the estimated 81 construction workers who were on site when the building collapsed last Monday were still unaccounted for. Twelve of the rescued workers are in hospital, while 62 have been rescued and recovered. The municipality said it was experiencing difficulties in obtaining accurate names of individuals missing or deceased due to the collapse. According to reports, most of the artisans working at the site at the time of the collapse were foreigners from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. “There is still an urgent call for professional psychosocial support practitioners proficient in Chewa, Portuguese, and Shona languages to assist survivors and their families,” the municipality indicated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Faizel Patel & Nicholas Zaal at The Citizen

George building collapse exposes regulatory gaps, while calls for oversight of private sector intensify

News24 reports that it was revealed by Public Works Minister Sihle Zikalala on Monday that Liatel Construction, the main contractor for the collapsed George building development, was not registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB). The CIDB is a public entity created to promote SA’s construction industry and develop skills. All contractors who tender for projects in the public sector must be registered with the board. However, Zikalala advised that Liatel did not need to register with the board as it operated in the private sector. He said the state was pushing for legislation to require private-sector contractors to undergo similar assessments as those operating in the public sector under the CIDB Register of Contractors. Lufuno Ratsiku, president of the SA Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions, pointed out that, while there should be no difference in the laws governing public and private sector construction, there was currently a gap. Hope turned to despair at the construction site on Monday after rescue workers ended Saturday on a high when a worker was pulled out alive. At 06:00 on Monday, the death count stood at 24, but rose to 33 by Tuesday afternoon. During one of several briefings on Monday, Floyd Herwels of the forensic pathology service in George said the most recent bodies recovered at the site were in a state of decomposition. Herwels said they faced challenges with visual identification and relied on scientific methods such as fingerprinting and DNA matching. He added that the delay in formal identification was attributed to various factors, including the absence of necessary documentation.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Iavan Pijoos at News24

Engineering council recommended internal charges against the George site consulting engineer in February

News24 reports that Atholl Mitchell, the consulting engineer who was overseeing the construction of the apartment block in George that collapsed a week ago, was under investigation by the Engineering Council of SA (ECSA) at the time of the deadly incident. According to the ECSA, its investigating committee had, in February, recommended that Mitchell be charged with "various breaches of the ECSA's code of conduct". The ECSA regulates the engineering profession in SA by accrediting engineering programmes and registering engineers. The complaint that led to the investigation was lodged in December last year. The ECSA did not provide any specifics about the complaint, who lodged it, or whether it was related to the George development.   "[This decision] has been accepted by the council and the matter will be heard in due course by ECSA's Tribunal," said spokesperson Basetsana Khoza. Mitchell has not been found guilty by the ECSA. He was named as the structural and civil engineer for the collapsed building site by developers Neo Victoria on 8 March. Mitchell's company, Mitchell and Associates, was also named as the development's principal agents. Khoza said another complaint had been laid against Mitchell in 2020 related to a project he had been supervising in 2018 and 2019. He advised that the ECSA's investigating committee determined there was insufficient evidence, based on the investigation, to suggest a transgression of the ESCA's code of conduct.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jan Cronje at News24


Murder of worker at M4 construction site in Durban alleged by contractor to be linked to tender dispute

News24 reports that alleged sabotage targeting a company contracted for the multimillion-rand M4 upgrade near Westbrook in Durban has turned fatal, with a worker having been shot dead at the construction site. Thulasizwe Ntuli was shot dead on Thursday night while guarding a company site responsible for the construction on the M4 north between Westbrook and Boys Town.     The road had been closed after it was damaged by floods, with Sanral appointing Thelbridge Enterprise in October 2023 to restore it. The contractor, Sihle Buthelezi, who is Ntuli's cousin, alleged his murder was linked to an ongoing dispute because his competitors were unhappy when he was awarded the tender. He claimed there had also been a series of thefts at the site, "aimed to sabotage my operation and delay the completion of the project."   According to Buthelezi, Ntuli and two other security guards were at the site's storage area when five heavily-armed men stormed in and pointed firearms at them. He said the assailants then tied them up inside a mobile toilet before they proceeded to take the wheels off one of his trucks.   He went on to state:   "While they were busy taking off the wheels, Ntuli managed to free himself and started freeing others.   The suspects heard there was some movement inside the toilets and decided to go there. I'm told that a fight ensued, and the suspects opened fire and shot my cousin." The suspects then ran away with some belongings of the victims, including two firearms. Buthelezi viewed this as "clear sabotage", saying this was not the first time his site was attacked. He accused competitors of being behind the sabotage.

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

Second arrest made in connection with murder of Mpumalanga cop during robbery

News24 reports that a second person is in custody in connection with the murder of an off-duty police officer in Delmas, Mpumalanga, after he handed himself over to police on Sunday. August Khoza, 35, appeared in the Delmas Magistrate's Court on charges of murder, attempted murder and armed robbery. His arrest came a day after 26-year-old Alfred Qwabe was arrested in connection with the officer's murder. According to a spokesperson for the Hawks (Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation), Qwabe was arrested when he opened a hijacking case in connection with the getaway car that was used after the officer's murder. He appeared in the same court on the same charges. Both men are expected to appear in court again on 16 May for a bail application. The two men reportedly attacked the officer and three women while they were in a private vehicle in Delmas last Tuesday. The officer was shot dead and robbed of his service pistol and cash.   One of the passengers was wounded.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nicole McCain at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • City of Joburg’s VIP protection policy heads to court, at The Citizen
  • Selfoongebruik grootste rede vir padongelukke, by Maroela Media


Labour Court rules that Numsa’s strike notice to RAF was defective as it was ‘devoid of factual content’ about the demands’

Moneyweb reports that the Labour Court (LC) in Johannesburg has ruled that the strike notice issued by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) to the Road Accident Fund (RAF) in February was defective. Judge Robert Lagrange added that the intended strike that was interdicted by the RAF remained unprotected in the absence of an appropriate strike notice being issued. The RAF was granted an interim interdict by the LC in March this year against the planned strike at the fund’s offices. The judgment handed down on Monday followed a hearing last month on the return date in respect of the interim interdict. Referring to case law, Judge Lagrange said it was not necessary to stipulate the exact time the strike would commence, provided the union had given 48 hours’ notice of the strike, and also not essential for the strike notice to stipulate the number of employees who might participate in the strike. However, Lagrange said the strike notice issued by Numsa was completely devoid of any particulars about the demands the union was making which, if acceded to by the RAF, would make the strike unnecessary. He added: “The strike notice in question was devoid of factual content regarding the nature of the demands. If such a notice was considered acceptable, the same notice could be issued for virtually any strike irrespective of the demands in question. That would defeat an important purpose of issuing a strike notice.” In a ruling on Numsa’s locus standi, Lagrange said there was no restriction on a union’s authority to call for a strike based on whether the potential striking employees were its members or not.

Read the full original of the informative report in the above regard by Roy Cokayne at Moneyweb


Anglo American to exit diamonds and platinum in bid to fend off BHP’s takeover bid

Bloomberg reports that Anglo American will exit diamond, platinum and coal mining in a massive restructuring exercise designed to fend off a takeover approach from rival BHP Group and turn the 107-year old miner into a copper giant. Anglo said on Tuesday that it planned to demerge or sell its De Beers diamond business, separate its Anglo American Platinum unit and sell its coking coal mines in Australia. It will also slow spending on a giant fertilizer mine in England. That will leave a much simpler company focused on iron ore and copper, a key metal for the energy transition. It has been forced to accelerate a turnaround plan after BHP proposed a takeover last month. So far Anglo has rejected two proposals from BHP – the latest worth £34 billion – saying they undervalued the company and the structure was unworkable.   Anglo is pinning its hopes on investors supporting its plan – and backing management to deliver it – rather than pushing to accept an offer from BHP. Investors have been demanding that Anglo come out with its own plan, and yesterday’s move was a response to what some shareholders were calling for. UBS analyst Lachlan Shaw commented: “This is not the direction BHP wanted to go. The Anglo rejection and this potentially will have caught them by surprise and they would maybe have expected to be engaged in further discussions.”

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Thomas Biesheuvel at Moneyweb. Read too, De Beers and Amplats fail to pass Anglo’s asset review, at BusinessLive. En ook, Anglo wil ontbondel, by Maroela Media

Anglo American’s commitment to South Africa welcomed by Cosatu

Bloomberg reports that the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) indicated on Tuesday that it welcomed Anglo American’s commitment to South Africa. This after the company unveiled a strategy to exit diamond and platinum businesses as part of a strategy to fend off a £34 billion takeover approach from rival BHP Group. The labour federation, which previously said it opposed BHP’s bid, said it expected Anglo to undertake not to fire workers as it restructured. BHP had demanded Anglo spin off its South African platinum and iron-ore units as a condition of the offer. “We need a commitment that whatever changes Anglo plans include the needs of its loyal employees. Anglo’s professed commitment to South Africa is welcome,” Cosatu said in a response to queries.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Antony Sguazzin at Moneyweb


High Court orders Knysna to restart process to find municipal manager after two-year search

News24 reports that the Western Cape High Court has ordered the beleaguered Knysna Municipality to restart the process of finding a new municipal manager – more than two years after it first began searching for a suitable candidate. On Friday, the High Court declared the appointment of Ombali Sebola null and void, set the appointment aside and ordered the municipality to start the advertisement process afresh. The process to employ a municipal manager started on 9 December 2021, with advertisements sent out with a closing date of 5 January 2022. After that, the position was twice re-advertised, with 10 October 2022 being the final, revised closing date. At the time, three candidates, including Sebola, were shortlisted for the municipal manager position. The selection process, which took place on 6 December, involved interviews and assessments but notably excluded the DA's chief whip, Sharon Sabbagh, and other chief whips. An external company was hired to oversee the screening and shortlisting, leading to a report on the selection process. Despite needing further development, Sebola was noted for his competencies. The selection committee favoured the other two candidates, but after a January 2023 meeting, it acknowledged that all candidates met the necessary criteria in various competencies. Despite this, the committee recommended Sebola for the position, highlighting his interview performance. This recommendation and the selection reports were presented at a special council meeting on 25 January 2023. Sabbagh proposed re-advertising the position due to errors and irregularities, but the speaker ultimately supported the mayor's proposal to acknowledge the selection committee's report and appoint Sebola. The DA then launched a successful court bid to reverse Sebola's appointment. It argued that it had been "irrational to appoint an incompetent person when two other candidates were competent".

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Marvin Charles at News24


Solidarity warns of legal battle if Ramaphosa signs NHI Bill into law

TimesLIVE reports that Solidarity threatened legal action on Tuesday on the eve of President Cyril Ramaphosa's signing of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law. The trade union wrote to Ramaphosa to indicate that within an hour of him signing the bill, it would start a legal process against the legislation. The Presidency announced on Monday that Ramaphosa would publicly sign the bill into law on Wednesday at an official ceremony. In a letter of demand, the union said it would fight the bill at every level possible and warned Ramaphosa it would ask the court to make an order as to costs in the personal capacities of the President and the Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla. Moreover, in its letter of demand to the President, Solidarity claimed that the bill and the procedures that had been followed to approve it had been unconstitutional and it could not be declared law in its current format.   Solidarity's CEO Dr Dirk Hermann stated: “If the president signs the NHI Bill, knowing that it contains substantial flaws, he is certainly also responsible for the consequences thereof. This piece of legislation will be detrimental to all South Africans. The NHI Bill is populist, irrational and unaffordable. To put the entire country’s health at risk for the sake of votes is extremely reckless.”   Solidarity said that in court documents it would clearly outline how the NHI was unaffordable and also point out the failure of the government to conduct a proper cost analysis.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Phathu Luvhengo at TimesLIVE. Lees ook, Onderteken NGV, en hofstukke sal volg,’ maan Solidariteit, by Maroela Media

Business and health professionals dismayed that NHI bill will be signed by President on Wednesday

BL Premium reports that news that President Cyril Ramaphosa will sign the controversial National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law on Wednesday has been met with dismay by organised business and healthcare professionals. Business Unity SA (Busa) said it was deeply concerned by the development, as it believed the legislation was unimplementable and would damage the health system, the economy and investor confidence. The bill was presented to Ramaphosa for consideration in December 2023.   Busa has lobbied hard against the bill, saying that while it supported the need for reform, the legislation was unworkable, unaffordable and at odds with the constitution. It previously expressed dismay that the submissions it made during the bill’s passage through parliament were ignored, and petitioned the President directly after it was passed by the legislature in December.   Busa CEO Cas Coovadia said the organisation would consider its options after the President’s announcement on Wednesday. The NHI Bill sets in motion the ANC government’s plan for implementing universal health coverage, which aims to create a single health system in which patients receive care that is free at the point of delivery. The bill is the first piece of enabling legislation for the plan, and paves the way for the creation of a government-controlled NHI Fund, which will be the sole purchaser of services provided under the scheme. The government has yet to specify how the Fund will be financed.   The SA Health Professionals Collaboration (SAHPC), a group of nine medical, dental and allied healthcare professional organisations representing more than 25,000 individuals, said it was profoundly disappointed that the bill was to be signed into law.

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

  • DA says it is ready to fight NHI all the way to ConCourt, at TimesLIVE
  • 'The haves don't want poor to benefit', says Ramaphosa on opposition to NHI, at TimesLIVE


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page