Cape Town Court grants interdict against students

SABC News reports the Cape Town High Court has granted an interim interdict to the University of Cape Town to prevent students from taking part or attempting to take part in any unlawful protest action. This comes after they caused disruptions on campus last week, calling for free education and the release of the fees commission’s report.

Students and universities are unable to find middle ground. This has been the case since the start of the Fees Must Fall campaign in 2015. Now the courts have to intervene, but in this case not in favour of students. Judge Haley Slingers granted an interim interdict to the University of Cape Town to prevent protesting students or those intending to protest from any unlawful acts. The fees commission report was leaked on the weekend, outlining that a free education is not feasible. Now students say they will go back to the drawing board and discuss a way forward. Meanwhile the Cape Peninsula University of Technology says its campuses are quiet and exams will start this week.

by Nomawethu Solwandle

SABC management aims to avert strike

SABC News reports that SABC management and the newly appointed board says they are willing to enter into wage negotiations with trade unions and staff. This after the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) and the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union, (Bemawu), issued a notice of SABC workers’ intention to strike on 2 November.

The unions say non-unionised SABC workers would also be entitled to take part in it. They’re demanding a 10% salary increase. SABC spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago says, “All that we are now going to do is try and bring everybody together – the unions and the staff members – so we can work together…”

by Risha-Maduray

Inflation shrinks real disposable take-home pay

Fin24 reports that real disposable take-home pay shrank for the first time in seven months on a year-on-year (y/y) basis due to higher inflation in September 2017. This was according to the latest BankservAfrica Disposable Index (BDSI) data, which showed disposable salaries declined by 1.3%.  The average real seasonally adjusted banked salary was R13,964 in September 2017.  In nominal terms, the take-home salary averaged at R14,255.

The current difficult economic conditions in SA are impacting firms and their ability to pay higher salaries.  The effective tax rate on gross salaries has also taken a toll.  “Wage earners are under severe pressure and have not had effective salary increases over the last four years,” states the report.  Meantime, real average private pension paid into bank accounts reached R6,701 – the highest level that real average pensions have ever reached.  The average constant private pension grew by 2.2% in September, which is the strongest percentage change in four months.

Unskilled managers running Durban’s failing billing system

Sunday Tribune reports that residents of eThekwini are experiencing ongoing utility billing bungles and electricity disconnections, because management at the city’s revenue department are allegedly not qualified to do their jobs. Whistle-blowers within the unit allege that the current revenue protection manager was placed in the position despite not having any information technology experience, which is a prerequisite for the handling of the complex and controversial Revenue Management System (RMS).  Incorrect billing has been an ongoing problem for several months ever since the R620m system system was rolled out in full last year.

The system was implemented to streamline the city’s revenue billing and was first mooted 11 years ago.  The city estimated the system would cost between R90m and R150m in 2004, but this figure escalated.  Mayor Zandile Gumede has admitted that there is a problem with the system.  However, municipal whistle-blowers said last week that managers were not trained to use it, nor did they have any IT qualifications.  DA councillor and Exco member Heinz de Boer said it had become a trend in the municipality for people to be placed in top positions without having the correct qualifications.

by Nabeelah Shaikh

Western Cape farm workers join protest against farm murders

WN reports that on Monday morning hundreds of vehicles were slowly making their way towards Cape Town en route to Green Point with the aim of bringing attention to farm murders. Traffic along the Old Paarl Road is moving at a snail’s pace as hundreds of vehicles drive behind one another, under the banner “genoeg is genoeg” (enough is enough).  Protesters donning black said that, while the aim was to raise more awareness around farm murders, it was also a stand against crime in general.

A group of farm workers was also taking part in the protest.  Andre Jacobs, who has been a farm worker in the Boland for more than 30 years, said:  “There are so many murders and children are being raped in these areas.  We are not here today to only support the farmers, we are here for all of us who are affected by crime in the area.  As farm workers, we are being murdered too.”  The procession was due to gather at Cape Town Stadium later on Monday.

by Shamiela Fisher

Private security guards demand to work directly for the state

TimesLive reports that on Monday morning police were called to the offices of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) in the Joburg city centre‚ after protesting security guards blocked the entrance. The protestors were members of the African Security Congress (ASC)‚ a political organisation formed by security guards themselves.  Teboho Motloung‚ ASC president, said the march was organised to make the call for security guards to be directly employed by the state‚ instead of the private sector‚ which they alleged exploited them.

“The main objective of this protest is for the security industry to be moved from private sector to public sector and be totally owned by the state.  We get trained by private security companies and get certificates.  After paying for that certificate‚ we still have to pay PSIRA a fee every month‚ and we don’t know what the fee is for,” Motloung said.  Apparently, the fee is about R7 a month, while the certificate from PSIRA expires after 18 months and has to be renewed at a cost of R20.

by Penwell Dlamini

Satawu-affiliated security guards at Chubb due to down tools on Monday

TimesLive reports that SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu)-affiliated security guards at Chubb Fire and Security SA were due to embark on a strike from Monday. Satawu spokesperson Zanele Sabela said that the union had served Chubb with a 48-hour strike notice on Friday‚ after negotiations that began in December last year remained unresolved despite intervention from the CCMA.  According to Satawu, management has refused to sign an agency shop agreement that will ensure that Chubb workers who are not affiliated to a union pay an agency fee equivalent to the union subscription.

Management has apparently also refused to implement a promotion policy which was agreed to by both parties.  Satawu furthermore wants Chubb to pay managers a weekend stand-by allowance of R1‚000 per month‚ while the company is only willing to pay R350.  Also, the union wants the company to align the date it implements the annual wage increase to the industry norm of 1 September‚ instead of on 1 January.

by Nomahlubi Jordaan

Eastern Cape tea growing industry being revived

The Citizen reports that Eastern Cape MEC for Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, is expected to visit the Magwa Tea Estate in Lusikisiki next month for the first harvest following four years of dormancy. As part of the processes to rescue the province’s two tea estates, the provincial government resolved to issue an expression of interest call aimed at attracting the private sector to invest in the incorporated tea estate.  Majola Tea Estate was incorporated into the Magwa Tea Estate following a court process after workers resolved to join the two estates to form a single incorporated estate.

This year a new shareholding structure was developed to attract private sector investors.  The proposed new shareholding structure of the incorporated tea estate would give the private investor a controlling 51% shareholding, 26% to the community, 13% to the employees of the tea estate and government would hold 10%.  Stakeholders associated with the tea estate operations are being consulted and engaged in the process of the business rescue plan as well as on the long-term financial sustainability of the tea estate.

Ref: ANA

Coke on strike

GroundUp reports that about 1,800 employees of Coca Cola Beverages South Africa have been on a protected strike for the past two weeks demanding an unconditional 7% wage increase and better working conditions. Industrial action began on 12 October and affects the company’s operations in the Eastern Cape, Free State, Northern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The workers on strike are former employees of Coca Cola Fortune, which together with other entities, merged to form Coca Cola Beverages South Africa in May 2016.

Wendy Thole-Muir, Head of Corporate Communication and Reputation for Coca Cola Beverages South Africa, said the company has a total of 7,500 employees. Thole-Muir said, “Where we have introduced changes to the shift system, we have consulted with affected parties in advance and offered reasonable alternative positions to those who wished not to work a different shift.” She said the company had contingency arrangements in place for production to continue unaffected.

by Joseph Chirume

Fuel prices to increase in November

SABC News reports that the price of all fuel will increase with effect from midnight on Tuesday, with the drivers of diesel vehicles hardest hit. The price of all grades of petrol will increase by four cents a litre, while diesel rise by 23c/l to 27c/l, the energy department said in a statement on Saturday.

The whole price of illuminating paraffin would increase by 21c/l and the single maximum national retail price by 28c/l. The maximum LPGas retail price would increase by 17c/kg. The department said the main reasons for the fuel price adjustments were the rand/US dollar exchange rate and the prices of petroleum products in the international markets.

Ref: ANA