Anglo Coal reaches settlement with ex-miners that they can stay on in their Kriel houses

Netwerk24 reports that Anglo American Coal on Tuesday agreed that 34 retired mineworkers and their families can continue staying in Eskom-owned houses in Kriel. This was notwithstanding a Magistrate’s Court ruling in August 2016 which had granted the company eviction orders.  The settlement took place in anticipation of an appeal hearing in the High Court in Pretoria against the lower court’s ruling, which had been brought by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR).  Anglo dropped its opposition to the appeal and the High Court set aside the order made by the Magistrate’s Court.

According to LHR, Anglo could not prove that it was the “person in charge” in accordance with the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE) and so had not been entitled to bring the application for the eviction orders.  Each of the families indicated in their statements to the magistrate that Anglo had misled the court by originally claiming that it was the owner of the houses.  Eskom, the actual owner, was not a party to the application.  In its court papers Anglo argued that the houses were located on land that belonged to Eskom, but which was hired by Anglo in terms of an agreement.  Anglo denied that it had intentionally misled the court.

by Jeanne-Marié Versluis’
(Ref: SALabournews)

New information comes to light in Lily Mine Commission of Inquiry

SABC News reports that the Lily Mine Commission of Inquiry sitting in Mbombela, Mpumalanga has heard that sporadic illegal mining might have caused the caving in of Lily Mine a year ago, killing three mine workers. This was the evidence led by the Mine CEO Mike McChesney. He said management then embarked on massive investigations which revealed that there was serious illegal mining and they enforced security.

McChesney testified that by the end of 2015 they managed to reduce illegal mining activities after they conducted investigations on illegal mining. When asked by the presiding officer whether, this act might have caused the collapse of the crown pillar at level four of the mine, McChesney said in their report it was included as a possible cause. The hearing on Monday continued without the presence of the three families of the victims. The three victims Solomon Nyirenda, Pretty Nkambule and Yvonne Mnisi still remain trapped underground. The hearing continued on Tuesday.

by Motsebi wa Monareng

Taxi drivers block Durban roads on Wednesday

News24 reports that minibus taxi operators in Durban and surrounding areas have started blocking busy Durban roads ahead of their protest to Toyota in Prospection, Isipingo later on Wednesday. Streets in the Durban CBD, Umlazi, Isipingo and the N2 have been blockaded with Toyota Quantum minibuses.

The South African Taxi Association reportedly decided to embark on the protest because of the escalating cost of the Toyota Quantum since it was introduced in the country 10 years ago.  A letter from the Umbumbulu Taxi Association states that the protest would last until 15:00.  It advises that minibus taxi operators are protesting over high interest rates.

by Mxolisi Mngadi

Retrenched Evraz employees get 13% of their packages as planned

Business Report writes that business rescue practitioners for Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium, which went bust amid an influx of cheap imports, said on Tuesday that 13% of monies owed to the steel producer’s 2,000 retrenched employees had been paid. Evraz filed for business rescue in 2015.  “Employees have been paid approximately 13 percent (R3.5 million) of the total amount owed to them.

The last payment to employees was made on April 12, 2017,” the practitioners indicated.  Trade union Solidarity’s Cornelius van Leeuwen confirmed that the payment of the retrenchment packages was in line with the practitioners’ original plans in terms of which 10% of the retrenchment packages would be paid by November 2016 and the balance as money trickled in.  The practitioners also said that the Evraz structural mill was up and running after the company’s subsidiary Highveld Structural Mill signed a manufacturing agreement with ArcelorMittal SA last December. Van Leeuwen commented that the deal was a positive development for the local Witbank community and SA as a whole, following the retrenchments.

by Dineo Faku

Sasol open to talks with workers protesting at its Ekandustria site

EWN reports that petrochemical giant Sasol says it is continuing to try and find an amicable solution with unions Ceppwawu and another union following protests at its Ekandustria site outside Bronkhorstspruit. Workers are demanding an increase in their transport allowance from R350 to R1,500.  “We remain open to engagement and our objective is to ensure an amicable resolution to the matter.

Our priority is to ensure the safety of all personnel on site, our staff, service providers and the community,” said a Sasol spokesperson.  On Monday, hundreds of protesting Sasol workers were dispersed with rubber bullets and tear gas at the site.  According to protest leader Julius Molebatsi, workers became violent when they realised the company was continuing with production, despite an agreement for activities to remain suspended amid authorised demonstrations.  However, Sasol commented that there was no agreement with the unions to halt operations.

Introduction of sugary drinks tax up for debate amid concern about job cuts

The Star reports that Wednesday will see the early parliamentary public hearings on the Rates and Monetary Bill, which includes the proposed sugary drinks tax. The government and union leaders have raised concerns that industry might blame planned job cuts on the tax.  Cosatu’s Matthew Parks said that while the labour federation was worried about any job losses resulting from a tax, there was also a “huge danger” that the industry could use the tax to its advantage.  However, he also noted that the entire sugar industry was in decline and 15,000 jobs hadbeen lost in the last few years.  Treasury Deputy Director-General Ismail Momoniat said on Tuesday that they did not want the industry to use the sugar-sweetened beverage tax as a rationale to fire staff.

The Beverage Association of SA (BevSA) has claimed that up to 70,000 jobs were in danger, however Momoniat said such claims were “scare tactics”.  The Treasury previously estimated that about 5,000 jobs would be at risk, but that was before the tax proposal was reduced from 20% to around 11% on a can of Coke.  BevSA’s estimates were published before the tax was revised, but they still claim that 4,000 to 6,000 informal outlets would be closed as a result of the tax and that the total job losses would number around 24,000.

by Amy Green

Parliamentary staff demand 10% pay hike and are offered 0%

ANA reports that a showdown is looming should Parliament and its employees not resolve an impasse on salary negotiations. “We have been negotiating since April and Nehawu tabled a demand of 10.4%.  Since then Parliament has offered us zero,” said Temba Gubula, parliamentary branch secretary of the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu).

Mgidlana indicated that negotiations with Nehawu were still open and that various options were being looked at.  He dismissed claims by staffers that retrenchments and a zero percent salary increase were the only options being looked at.  Nehawu has not ruled out the possibility of industrial action, should a settlement not be found.

by Chantall Presence

NUM vows to fight alleged racism at Kimberley mine

eNCA reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture (KEM JV) said on Monday that it was “very concerned and disturbed” by the manner in which the mine management was allegedly treating the workers and victimising its leadership at the mine. This comes after a slew of allegations of racism, suspensions, and ill-treatment of union members by mine management.

The union said a contractor called one of its members a baboon, and the company was reluctant to act until the union forced them to suspend the “intransigent” manager of the contractor. The NUM also alleged that one of its shop stewards was suspended for talking in his mother language. The NUM vowed to fight to bring the perpetrators to book and end management’s aberrant behaviour.

Ref: ANA

SA lagging in women at level of executives

BusinessLive reports that only 2.2% of JSE-listed companies have female CEOs and SA lags behind on female representation at the executive level, according to a Bain & Company report released on Wednesday. Women in SA remained under-represented in leadership roles in companies despite the existence of strong legislation and regulations, Bain & Co revealed in the report.

The  SA Gender Disparity report showed that the percentage of female CEOs in the country, sitting at 10%, was lower than the global average of 12%. The Businesswomen’s Association of SA reported that, according to its latest census, about 22% of directors were women, but only 7% were executive directors. According to Census 2011 data, 51.3% of the population is women and 48.7% men. The report surveyed more than 1,000 women and men in listed and private companies. JSE media manager Pheliswa Mayekiso said the exchange could not speak on behalf of companies that used its platform as they merely provided the environment for trade.

by Michelle Gumede

Eskom employee’s body found in office

SABC News reports that the body of a woman who has been reported missing for the past two weeks has been found in her office on the Eskom premises in Springs, Ekurhuleni.

At this stage it is not clear how she died. However, more details are emerging following the discovery of her body. The deceased has been identified as Thembisile Yende, an Eskom employee.