MONDAY, 10 APRIL 2017 In our Monday roundup, below are summaries of our selection of South African labour stories that have been published since mid-morning on Friday, 7 April 2017.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY Surge in attacks on Western Cape paramedics Cape Argus reports that paramedics in the Western Cape are increasingly coming under attack when responding to emergencies, with many saying they fear for their lives. Two employees of the Melomed hospital chain’s ambulance service were attacked in Athlone on Friday night. Melomed ambulance manager, Salaama Joseph, said: “We are now planning to have a meeting with the Department of Health and Department of Safety, we need to get a way forward on these incidents, because it is getting out of hand now. It seems like we are targeted everywhere… We usually have a female and a male to work a day shift and a night shift, but after so many incident we changed our roster, most of the males are working night shifts because we know females are not safe out there.” EMS spokesperson, Robert Daniels, said there were about 46 crime related incidents involving ambulances and paramedics between January and August last year. Read this report by Sandisiwe Ntlemeza in full at Cape Argus More arrests expected for security guard’s murder in Hanover Park last week EWN reports that police say more arrests are imminent following the murder of a security guard in Hanover Park last week. Eldridge Lucas was shot and killed when a group of men hijacked a cigarette delivery van he was travelling in. So far, police officers have managed to track down five suspects in hideouts in Delft and Nyanga. They’ve been charged with murder and hijacking and appeared in court on Friday. Two vehicles used during the hijacking had been reported stolen in Kraaifontein earlier this month. Officials have confiscated both vehicles. A short report by Lauren Isaacs is at EWN Other internet posting(s) in this news category – ANN7 reporter attacked at anti-Zuma march, at TimesLive MINING LABOUR Anglo American Platinum takes heat at AGM on increase in fatalities BusinessLive reports that Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats’) top executives were grilled for almost half-an-hour at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday about the sharp increase in the number of workers killed in 2016 from 2015. Questions were also asked about the failure to disclose the amount paid to the bereaved families. Corporate activist Theo Botha asked what was being done to make safety improvements and why fatalities were not given more prominence than the 3% component in the key performance indicators for the CEO’s remuneration. CEO Chris Griffith indicated that the number of fatalities at the group had fallen from 25-30 a year a few years ago to two in 2015, which showed the level of effort that had gone into tackling safety. Other measurements, such as lost-time injuries, had improved. The increase in deaths in 2016 was disappointing and efforts to tackle safety had redoubled, Griffith said. About payments to bereaved families, Botha said it was not necessary to go into details, just to disclose in general terms what life insurance cover was applicable to employees. Read this report by Charlotte Mathews in full at BusinessLive Sibanye Gold wins four National Skills Authority (NSA) awards Mining Weekly reports that Sibanye Gold won four awards at this year’s National Skills Authority (NSA) awards. The gold producer won three gold awards for the Best Adult Education and Training programme, the Best Skills Programme and the Best University Placement programme categories, and a bronze award for the Best Artisan Development programme. Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman said the awards were an important recognition of the contribution Sibanye continued to make towards socioeconomic development in SA. In 2016, the company spent more than R650-million on socioeconomic development programmes. Read this report in full at Mining Weekly Other general internet posting(s) on mining – Mynbou glimlag oor swakker rand, at Netwerk24 (limit on access) – Platinum price troughed but recovery to be “slow” and “painful”, at Miningmx – Multi-billion rand titanium beneficiation plant to be constructed in KZN, at TimesLive – Anglo American sells Eskom-tied collieries to Mike Teke’s Seriti Resources, at Mining Weekly – Pan African’s Evander on schedule for mid-April restart, at Mining Weekly – Bauba Platinum receives 20 year water use license, at Mining Review COLLECTIVE BARGAINING / INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS Wage talks at Rhodes University deadlock at 5%, but rumours of layoffs denied Rhodes University is facing financial distress and wants to cap salary increases at 5% in order to remain viable. But support service workers want an increase that is in line with inflation and wage negotiations have deadlocked. Like several other such institutions around SA, Rhodes’ financial crisis appears to have been triggered by the zero-percent student fee increase for the 2016 academic year. In an internal memorandum last week, vice-chancellor Sizwe Mabizela said that a single percentage increase in the salary bill was equivalent to R4m and that the current offer thus translated into an additional R20m in salaries. “We cannot increase this budget further without placing the future of this university and the academic project in serious jeopardy,” wrote Mabizela. But the university on Friday moved to dispel any suggestions that it was about to retrench staff. A spokesperson said it was premature to begin to speculate about retrenchments based on the internal memo, which sought to highlight a need for continued internal engagement and creative thinking by stakeholders, “not to create a volatile situation and instil fear about job losses.” Based on reports at BusinessLive and The Citizen INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS Nehawu to continue with its social development strike until demands are met EWN reports that the National Health Education & Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says it will continue with its strike at the Department of Social Development until its demands for better salaries and working conditions are met. The union claims that ever since the strike commenced in March, Minister Bathabile Dlamini has on many occasions reneged on her commitment to hold a meeting to discuss a way forward. Nehawu’s Khaya Xaba said: “Many operations have been frustrated by the strike but it does not mean we cannot exercise our constitutional right. We will not stand idly while we notice that the department is not giving workers what is due to them.” Striking social workers and auxiliary workers are said to have been responsible for the mayhem at Gauteng child and youth care centres, blocking entrances and preventing food and medication from being delivered. Read this report by Sifiso Zulu at EWN. Read too, Worker in ICU‚ cars damaged by poo throwing social development strikers, at TimesLive Month-long strike at Newcastle farm leaves workers squatting in the bush TimesLive reports that striking farmworkers, who have been squatting in the bush for more than a month, have vowed not to return to work until their demands have been met. Part and parcel of the dispute is the refusal of farmer Lawrence Hoatson to recognise the Democratised Transport Logistics and Allied Workers’ Union, which claims to represent 250 workers at Normandien Farms, in Newcastle, northern KwaZulu-Natal. Operations have been at a standstill at the farm since workers went on strike on 6 March in protest at poor working conditions and the lack of compliance with the sectoral minimum wage. Things came to a head last week, when four workers were injured after allegedly being shot by security guards hired by Hoatson, prompting the intervention of agriculture MEC Themba Mthembu. His spokesman, Khaye Nkwanyana, said the MEC had invoked the Land Tenure Act to return the workers to their homes. “The remaining issue is their livestock that the farmer did not allow back on the basis that they have overgrazed his farm,” said Nkwanyana. Mthembu is expected to return to the farm soon in another bid to resolve the problem. Read this report by Bongani Mthethwa in full at TimesLive LABOUR AND POLITICS Cosatu CEC was split down the middle over call for Zuma to step down The Sunday Independent reports that it was Cosatu’s three powerful public sector unions that forced the labour federation to resolve at its central executive committee (CEC) meeting last Monday that President Jacob Zuma should step down. Apparently, the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) and the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) pushed their argument that Zuma must step down. The three unions were previously also at the centre of masterminding Cosatu’s decision to endorse Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma when the ANC holds its elective conference in December. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) were among the industrial unions that opposed the move against Zuma. It seems that the public sector unions – which became power brokers after the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the shrinking of the NUM – were angered by the ANC’s failure to meet Cosatu late last year. On Wednesday, Cosatu’s S’dumo Dlamini and Bheki Ntshalintshali met Zuma over the federation’s calls for him to step down and it was decided that the CEC would meet with the ANC’s top six after the Easter weekend. Read this report by George Matlala in full at SA Labour News. The original of this report is on page 4 of The Sunday Independent of 9 April 2017 Vavi lays into Zuma on Friday at Pretoria march IOL News reports that former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Friday that the move to elect President Jacob Zuma into the top ANC position had been a terrible mistake. He was addressing the more than 25,000 strong crowd at the Union Buildings in Pretoria that had gathered to demand that Zuma should step down. Vavi said: “We made a mistake in elevating a crook who was facing 783 charges. The first thing he did was to dissolve the Scorpions and some of us stupidly gave him a round of applause.” In addition to criticising Zuma for removing former National Prosecuting Authority boss Mxolisi Nxasana and for making Hlaudi Motsoeneng the chief operating officer at the SABC, Vavi lambasted Zuma for the financial crisis at South African Airways and for allowing the Gupta family to get involved at power utility Eskom. Vavi called on the marchers to reclaim their country by pushing Zuma out of the presidential office. Read this report by Rapula Moatshe in full at IOL News Other internet posting(s) in this news category – Less fighting and more talking, Cosatu’s Dlamini says to alliance leaders, at City Press EXECUTIVE PAY Peters contradicted herself on Letsoalo’s 350% wage increase‚ DA charges TMG Digital reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused former Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters of contradicting herself on the 350% wage increase of former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) acting CEO Collins Letsoalo. The DA’s Manny de Freitas said on Sunday that in a written response to a DA parliamentary question‚ Peters had revealed that Letsoalo was “eligible to receive all the benefits applicable to this position”‚ which included an annual salary of almost R6 million or roughly R500‚000 per month. He went on to assert: “This response is a clear contradiction of the secondment letter which the former Minister sent to Letsoalo and the Board of Prasa on 7 July 2016‚ in which she allegedly informed Letsoalo and the Board that Letsoalo’s remuneration package would remain unchanged at R1.3 million per annum‚ plus an additional 12% acting allowance. The former Minister has therefore either misrepresented herself in her response to the DA‚ or she was untruthful in her secondment confirming that Letsoalo would earn R1.3 million per annum.” The DA wants Peters to answer for the discrepancies in her communications with Parliament and with the Prasa Board.” Read this report in full at TimesLive EDUCATION / TRAINING / QUALIFICATIONS Successfully clamping down on bogus colleges a huge headache TimesLive reports that, after five years of trying to clamp down on unregistered colleges, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is still battling to shut down these bogus institutions. Since 2012 the department has laid 21 criminal charges with the police against the owners of the bogus colleges nationwide. Out of the 21 cases, one owner fled the country stalling the case, three have no case numbers and the rest are still under investigation. The colleges have been accused of making false claims about the qualifications they offered and operating without registration. The department admitted it was aware that several bogus colleges had resurfaced under different names in different locations. Caroline Long of the faculty of education at the University of Johannesburg said the department needed a multifaceted approach to monitor college standards. According to her, students were desperate to get into tertiary institutions and a larger vision to address the demand should be pursued. Read this report by Kgaogelo Masweneng in full at TimesLive WEB LINKS TO LABOUR NEWS ARTICLES FROM FRIDAY, 7 APRIL TO SUNDAY, 9 APRIL 2017 See our listing of links to labour articles published on the internet from Friday, 7 April to Sunday, 9 April 2017 at SA Labour News For daily reports, the following are among the sites routinely scanned: Business Day, The Times, The Star, IOL News, The New Age, Sowetan, News24, The Citizen, Fin24, Business Report, Moneyweb, Mail & Guardian, SANews.gov.za, Politicsweb, BizNews Daily Maverick, Eyewitness News, Cosatu Today, Mining Weekly, Miningmx, Engineering News