We have made significant progress in Marikana, says Lonmin

Mining Weekly reports that platinum producer Lonmin said on Wednesday that it had made significant progress in delivering on its commitment to the Marikana community. “Housing has been a key focus of the company’s social and labour plans, with modern housing developments being built for many of its employees,” said Khaya Ngcwembe, Lonmin human resources executive. He delivered a speech at a Marikana memorial event on behalf of Lonmin CEO Ben Magara, who could not attend due to family commitments.

“Lonmin’s financial investment in housing since 2013 will have reached R500-million by the end of this year, funds that have made it possible to convert all the single-sex legacy hostels into 2,162 single units and 759 family units.  One thousand, two hundred and forty apartments have also been built by Lonmin and will all be fully occupied by the end of 2018,” said Ngcwembe.  He furthermore indicated that families were at the centre of the 1608 Memorial Education Trust, a vehicle which had been established to ensure that the children and families of the employees who died in the massacre in 2012 received an education up to and including university level.

Ref: ANA

Three years after tragedy at Lily mine

BusinessLive reports that the new owners of the distressed Vantage Goldfields and its shuttered Lily and Barbrook mines are hoping to put tragedy behind them as they prepare to revive operations. Fred Arendse, CEO of the Siyakhula Sonke Empowerment Corporation (the SSC Group), said although the task ahead would be challenging, he believed Vantage Goldfields offered a unique investment opportunity and was “on the brink” of unlocking value.  The mines in question are low-grade, but shallow, and produce gold at the lowest dollar cost per ounce in Africa.

Vantage Goldfields was pushed into voluntary business rescue after an accident at Lily mine in 2016 that claimed three lives.  The SSC Group, with the assistance of a R190m loan from the Industrial Development Corporation, signed a closing agreement in May for its subsidiary, Flaming Silver, to purchase a 74% stake in Vantage Goldfields.  The only thing outstanding is the approval of the Department of Mineral Resources to transfer mining rights.  Gold production at Lily is only anticipated to start in 2020.  Production at Barbrook will start before the end of 2018.  Arendse did not promise that the reopening of the mine would lead to the recovery of the bodies of the three workers.

by Lisa Steyn

COSATU makes presentation on PIC Amendment Bill

COSATU will present its submission and proposals to further strenghten the second PIC Amendment Bill to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance at 2pm Wednesday 15 August, Committee Room 1, 120 Plein Street, Parliament.

COSATU is pleased that Parliament has responded decisively and positively to our demands to protect workers’ GEPF, UIF and COIDA investments in the PIC.  This is workers’ hard earned money.  COSATU will stop at nothing to protect it from the many looting brigades that have fleeced our nation. COSATU urges Parliament to pass this bill as a matter of the highest urgency and before Parliament concludes its work in November.

COSATU to Present Proposals on Tackling Taxi Related Crimes

COSATU will present a joint COSATU POPCRU submission to the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Police on how to combat the never ending pandemic of taxi related crimes between 9am and 1pm, Wednesday 15 August, in Parliament. The taxi industry provides a key public good for millions of workers and commuters.  It is life line for the economy that most South Africans depend upon in the absence of reliable, serious or safe alternative public transport.

However it is an industry notorious from chaos, lawlessness, complete disregard for traffic, labour, tax, criminal and corruption laws.  Syndicates, criminals, gangs, money laundering, hit squads and rapes are frequent occurrences in the sector.  They make the daily commute to work and school a living nightmare for millions of workers, especially women and girls. Despite many laudable plans, to date government has been found badly wanting on dealing with this crisis of anarchy.

Mama Sobukwe passes away at 91

SABC News reports that the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) is mourning the loss of Mama Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe, who was the wife of its founder, Robert Sobukwe. She passed away early on Wednesday morning at the age of 91. Mama Sobukwe, also known as “The Mother of Azania,” was a health practitioner and an activist in her own right. She repeatedly wrote to the apartheid government during the nine years her husband was imprisoned on Robben Island from 1960, requesting his release or to be allowed a meeting with him.

PAC President Narius Moloto described Mama Sobukwe as a woman who firmly supported her husband. “We can confirm that Mama Sobukwe passed on at 2 o’clock. She was ill, recently she was in hospital. We are saddened by her passing but we celebrate her life and call her ‘the mother of Azania’. She was a woman of skill. She supported her husband while he went through tribulations. She remained firm behind him.”

Military veterans shut down KZN municipality over jobs and tenders

The Citizen reports that a number of uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) members staged a sit-in at the Msunduzi municipality offices in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday demanding jobs and tenders. The veterans were complaining about jobs and tenders, saying they also wanted to benefit from council activities, including getting jobs. They decried the alleged sidelining of veterans when appointments were made adding that they needed recognition as they had fought for liberation.

Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo confirmed that he had met with the MKMVA leaders and received a set of demands. The meeting was attended by acting city manager Nelisiwe Ngcobo and security head Kwenza Khumalo. “When it comes to tenders the municipality has a supply chain management policy and we cannot do anything outside of it,” said Njilo after the meeting. Monday’s sit-in follows a similar one on July 25 at the offices of uMgungundlovu District Municipality where veterans made the same demands.

Ref: ANA

SACTWU strikes at National Chicks

The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU)  has commenced a protected wage strike at National Chicks in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The strike started last Thursday, 8 August 2018. A strike ballot was conducting amongst workers a month ago, in which 81%  of our 390 the union’s members had voted in favour of strike action.

SACTWU members are demanding a 10% wage increase, a 13th cheque and a production bonus. The farmer has offered 7% wage increase only. National Chicks is part of the Astrid Group which is the sister group of County Fair.

Gold Fields plans to cut up to 1,560 jobs

Business Live reports that Gold Fields is preparing to lay off up to 1,560 people at its loss-making South Deep mine, marking yet another attempt at restoring the operation which has absorbed R32bn so far. “It is envisaged that approximately 1,100 permanent employees could potentially be impacted by the proposed restructuring. In addition, approximately 460 contractors could also potentially be impacted,” Gold Fields said. South Deep employs 3,614 full-time employees and 1,940 contractors.

by Allan Seccombe

VAT panel recommends zero-rating of products

Engineering News reports that the independent panel established to review the current list of items that are zero-rated for value-added tax (VAT) has recommended that white bread, flour, cake flour, sanitary products, school uniforms and nappies be included in the list of zero-rated items. Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene on Friday released the report compiled by the panel for public comment. Nene appointed the panel after the announcement in the February Budget of the increase in the VAT rate to 15%, from 14%, effective April 1.

As part of its findings, the panel has also recommended that government expedite the provision of free sanitary products to the poor and that the zero-rating of school uniforms be done only if they can be separated from general clothing. The panel’s recommendations are subject to further public comment, including comments to be made during Parliamentary hearings. Nene will make a decision on whether to implement any of the panel’s recommendations, after taking into account the public comments, as well as input by the National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service. The public has until August 31 to submit comments.

by Anine Kilian

Rhodes students to attend public hearings on gender violence

SABC News reports that Rhodes University student leaders are to be invited to attend public hearings on gender violence and the Domestic Violence Act, due to be hosted by Parliament’s Police Committee near the end of August. Committee chairperson Francois Beukman says the death of the university’s 23-year-old law student Khensani Maseko is a wake-up call to the nation to deal with what he terms institutional inertia and lack of action by the relevant authorities.

Maseko reportedly took her own life after allegedly being raped by her boyfriend and was laid to rest on Women’s Day on Thursday. Beukman says it’s essential that the Rhodes student leadership and related student role-players attend the hearings. The committee believes that law enforcement agencies and government departments should step up their efforts to combat gender violence. Earlier Minister of Women Bathabile Dlamini called on institutions of higher learning to develop policies to protect and support female students on campus.