Compensation Fund to modernise claims process

Business Report writes that the Compensation Fund (CF) is set to introduce a new electronic Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (e-COID) claims management solution. This is according to a report by SAnews.gov.za, which further reported that the ITC system, which will be introduced in September, intended to improve the ease of doing business. Compensation Fund Commissioner Vuyo Mafata said the organisational restructuring started more than two years ago following the massive backlogs in the claims process was beginning to yield results. He said the CF has during the period embarked on a process of decentralisation of its services, opened new claims processing centres, appointed medical adjudicators in its processes and moved to online platforms.

Mafata was addressing a breakfast networking session in partnership with the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ).The engagement is part of fulfilling the objective of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with ELIDZ. The engagement is also part of the Compensation Fund’s national roadshow to interact with its stakeholders and to improve relations. Precious Mdlokovana, Compensation Fund Deputy Director: Information Technology, said the CF’s information communication technology (ICT) modernisation journey is well underway, and it will improve online registration processes. This modernisation process will also introduce a new system to replace the current uMehluko online claims platform.

Workers end sit-in at North West mine

eNCA reports that the underground sit-in at the China African Precious Metal Company in the North West is over. The 69 miners have agreed to the new offer and have come to the surface. The workers have accepted an eight percent pay increase, as well as a R900 living allowance.

This offer is just over half of the increase they initially asked for. They were holding an underground sit-in since last week Saturday, claiming the mine owner — China African Precious Metals — was exploiting them.

Wage negotiations deadlocked on Grabouw Farm at centre of N2 protests

GroundUp reports that negotiations between Oak Valley Estate and the Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) appear to be deadlocked. Since 6 May protests have blocked the N2 outside Grabouw. There have been several clashes between police and protesters. There are also divisions between Grabouw’s township residents over the protests. But last week the workers the protests pending negotiations with Oak Valley. CSAAWU’s Karel Swart said negotiations were deadlocked on the question of wage increases following meetings between Oak Valley management, the union, farm workers and Grabouw residents. Swart did however say that progress had been made on the secondary demands for eradication of labour brokers and hostels.

The workers are demanding R250 a day. Oak Valley Estate employs over 270 permanent workers and is home to over 470 people. Swart said that over 450 workers have downed tools and the “farm is quiet”. But Christopher Rawbone-Viljoen, Managing Director of Oak Valley denied that the workers are still on strike. He said that most employees had returned to work although the “situation remains tense”. Rawbone-Viljoen said that Oak Valley had suffered a loss of production and damage to property from the strike. He said that on 20 May, an interdict was obtained from the Western Cape High Court ordering the union and its members to “refrain from any intimidating and violent conduct”. Farm workers and union members are expected to march to Oak Valley Estate again on Friday.

by Ashraf Hendricks


69 strikers willing to die underground for a raise

Business Report writes that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Tuesday that the at least 69 workers who had staged an underground strike since Saturday at the China Precious Metal Company (CAPM) in Orkney, North West, would only resurface when their demand for a salary hike was met. Masibulele Naki, NUM’s Matlosana regional secretary, said the union had requested President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe to try and intervene in the impasse. 

“The workers, who are currently underground, have said that nothing is going to convince them to return to the surface. They have told us that they will die underground if their demands are not met,” Naki said on Tuesday. The union blamed the CAPM management for making an about-turn on their offer to increase salaries by 8percent, which was allegedly overturned by the Chinese-based management who decided to offer a zero-percent increase. 

by Dineo Faku

Women still ‘invisible’ in SA media: Study

SABC News reports that a non-governmental organisation Gender Links has released a study showing that women are still not being seen and heard as much as men in the South African media. The organisation wants more diversity, balance, and sensitivity in the coverage of women on local television. On Tuesday evening, the organisation released results of a study showing that there’s no gender parity in the media fraternity. The study looked at how women are portrayed in news, entertainment and children’s programmes. CEO at Gender Links, Colleen Lowe Morna says, “Overall in the news, women constituted just 39% of those who were seen and heard. Interestingly that is an increase on a study we did in 2015 when the figure was 25%. Globally 39% is not such a bad figure, the global figure is somewhere around 20-25%.

Children’s programming was also very interesting in that it actually had a predominance of female characters in that; however, when it came to voice-overs just 40% were women and 60% were men.” Meanwhile, the SABC has been challenged to introspect about the kind of public broadcaster it wants to be. Producer, former actress and CEO of Carol Bouwer Productions, Carol Bouwer says the types of programmes on SABC should be about nation building and not just focus on the commercial side of the company. Bouwer says the SABC should do more to highlight issues such as gender-based violence. “I left Generations in 1999 and I’ve never watched a soapie since and it was a conscious decision. By the time I left Generations, I’d probably kissed 7 men on that show. I was very uncomfortable. I had found ways to kiss around the mouth and I just thought I cannot wake up every morning and think of how to kiss in a manner that I’m not kissing. This is not part of a society that I want to be a part of.”

by Thabile Mbhele

Minister publishes amendments to financial provisioning regulations for mine closure

Mining Weekly reports that Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has gazetted additional amendments to the Financial Provisioning Regulations for the rehabilitation and remediation of environmental damage caused by exploration and or mining activity. The regulations stipulate the manner in which mining rightholders and mining permit holders must provide for and then conduct rehabilitation of the environmental impacts incurred by their activities. The amended regulations have been published in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (Nema), which brought about the streamlined ‘One Environmental System’, which effectively transferred the rehabilitation requirements from the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act to Nema through the Financial Provisioning Regulations, which were first published in November 2015.

Proposed amendments to the 2015 Financial Provisioning Regulations were first gazetted in November 2017 for public comment. The latest proposed amendments have been based on the comments received to the 2017 draft. The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) pointed out on Tuesday that some of the proposed changes being considered were the introduction of a specific obligation to rehabilitate and remediate Environmental damage; the identification of circumstances under which the Mineral Resources Minister can access the financial provision of a holder; and clarification that the financial provisioning does not include funding for an incident. Further, there is now a requirement that the funds set aside for residual and latent impacts be ceded to the Mineral Resources Minister upon the issuing of a closure certificate. The regulations also strengthen the provisions to ensure that the holder discloses information. Interested and affected parties until July 1 to submit written representations to the DEA regarding the proposed new amendments. 

by Nadine James

Lonmin plans to cut 4 100 workers as it closes platinum mines

Mining Weekly reports that Lonmin plans to cut 4 100 workers at mines that have run out of profitable ore and are being closed.
The platinum producer has started a process that’s required under South African labour law to carry out the workforce reductions, said Wendy Tlou, a spokesperson for the company. The layoffs will come from six old mines that have run out of commercially viable ore.

The cuts are part of Lonmin’s plan to trim its staff and lower costs at its deep-level mines. In 2017, the company said it would cut 12 600 workers over a three-year period. Shareholders are voting this month on an acquisition by rival Sibanye Gold after the company struggled through years of losses and was forced to seek debt-covenant waivers from lenders.

by Bloomberg

KZN learners to represent South Africa in global water prize competition

Engineering News reports that two learners from Star College High in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, were announced as the winners of the twentieth national South African Youth Water Prize (SAYWP) competition. Their Hydro-Conservation innovation, is aimed at reducing the quantity of water that is wasted in households across South Africa daily during showering and handwashing.

The SAYWP is a science and technology based project and is coordinated by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). The learners – Kiaran Chetty and Calden Gounden will represent South Africa at the Annual Stolkhom Junior Youth Water Prize event in Stolkhom, Sweden at the end of August. They will compete against learners from 30 other countries around the world for the prize. In a statement last week, DWS water services and local water management chief director Rex Mtileni said the competition was a means of investing in young people so that they would pursue careers in the water and sanitation sector.

by Tasneem Bulbulia

Amplats dismisses 643 workers at Mototolo Mine following unprotected strike

Fin24 reports that Anglo American Platinum has dismissed 643 employees –  half of its underground workforce – at Mototolo Mine near Burgersfort in Limpopo following an unprotected strike. The mining group, in an update to shareholders on Monday, said the General Industrial Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa) declared a strike on May 9 over medical benefits. The following day, Amplats said it was granted a court interdict against a strike. 

Amplats said requests to return to work were ignored and the group was “left with no option but to dismiss about 50% of Mototolo Mine’s underground workforce”. Dismissed employees have until May 21 to appeal the decision.

by Jan Cronje

PG Group recruits another 120 young graduates under YES initiative

The Citizen reports that South Africa’s glass manufacturer and supplier, PG Group, on Monday said it was adding a further 120 young graduates in a bid to create job opportunities across all its business divisions in collaboration with the Youth Employment Service (YES). Charles Bromley, chief executive of the PG Group, said the group’s YES journey began in October 2018 with an initial intake of 120 youth who commenced their experiential workplace programmes.

Bromley said a national recruitment drive for the second intake of 120 youth was currently underway, as the group ramps up its efforts to provide job opportunities in support of the national initiative. Dr Tashmia Ismail-Saville, chief executive of YES, said an imperative at YES was around building the sustainability of the initiative.

Ref: ANA