National minimum wage on track for roll-out

BusinessLive reports that the national minimum wage (NMW) is set to be implemented in just over a month and the government hopes to have the bill governing the policy enacted in April. It also intends to have the 13-member NMW commission that will monitor the policy’s effectiveness appointed by 1 May.  This week stakeholders at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) finalised the NMW regulations, outlining how the policy will be operated.

They also discussed the details of how exemption applications by employers will be handled.  The regulations are ready for public comment.  However, Nedlac parties have not reached an agreement on the 90% minimum wage threshold for categories of vulnerable employees such as farm workers.  The government has set the NMW at R20 per hour, or R3,500 a month, with a stipulation that employers have to pay workers a minimum of four hours a day.  The inspectorate services that will oversee the implementation will be at the Department of Labour, with their scope expanded to cover the NMW.

by Theto Mahlakoana

Poultry producer Astral wants chicken to be VAT zero-rated

BusinessLive reports that poultry producer Astral indicated in a press release on Thursday that chicken should be exempt from value added tax (VAT). Under the existing laws, there are 19 basic food items that escape VAT and, with the exception of tinned pilchards and sardines, all of the VAT-exempt food items are vegetarian.

The increase in VAT to 15% in April from the 14% it had been for the past 25 years would hurt consumers who relied on chicken for their main source of protein, Astral argued.  The producer went on to state:  “Chicken is the cheapest source of meat protein in SA and now forms a large part of the basic diet of the South African population, with consumption at close to 40kg per person per year.”

by Robert Laing

COSATU Gauteng marches

COSATU Gauteng held a success shopstewards council in the City of Johannesburg. The Shopstewards Council marched to the Chamber of Mines as well as JHB SAPS in the Central Police Station to open cases against the following companies;

– Tiger Brands for murder and attempted murder
– Steinhoff for fraud and Corruption
– KPMG for fraud and corruption

The march began today at 14:00 at JHB City Hall.


The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] in the Gauteng Province will this coming Friday march to both the Gauteng Department of Health and the Office of the Premier to deliver a memoranda of demands.

NEHAWU members are going to march in demand of the following:
– Absorption of former Life Esidimeni and Selby Clinix Employees
– Insourcing of all outsourced services
– Implementation of the PHSDSBC Resolutions on the Forensic Pathology Services Practitioners
– Guaranteed intake of student nurses
– Absorption of Community Healthcare Workers
– Filing of all funded vacant posts
– Payment of performance bonuses
– Change funding model for the GP Department of Health
– Turnaround strategy for the Department

Details of the march:
Date: Friday March 16, 2018
Assembly point: Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown
Assembly Time: 10am

Hlaudi not qualified for any SABC top job

SowetanLive reports that the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) heard on Tuesday that controversial former SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng was not qualified to hold any top position at the public broadcaster. SABC deputy chairwoman Khanyisile Kweyama was giving evidence in an arbitration process and said that even if the courts were to rule that Motsoeneng be reinstated, he would fall short of the requirements.

Kweyama said the minimum qualification for any executive position was a postgraduate or a master’s qualification, which Motsoeneng did not hold.  She indicated that, according to their knowledge, Motsoeneng did not have the requisite qualifications, which automatically meant his reinstatement would be futile.  Asked if Motsoeneng qualified to be head of the SABC or group executive corporate affairs, Kweyama unreservedly dismissed this.  Motsoeneng is fighting his dismissal at the CCMA after a disciplinary hearing committee found him guilty of contravening the broadcaster’s code of conduct by holding a press conference on 19 April last year while he was on suspension.  He was officially fired from the state-owned entity on 12 June 2017.

by Neo Goba

Stadio Holdings aims to train doctors and engineers

BusinessLive reports that Stadio Holdings, the PSG-aligned private tertiary education specialist that listed in 2017, looks set to establish medical and engineering schools in the next three years. Stadio will establish its own engineering faculty and is exploring partnerships in the public and private sectors with regard to the education and training of doctors.  Divya Singh, chief academic officer at Stadio, said the company planned to have the medical faculty in place and operational by 2021, with the engineering faculty open by 2020, with 2021 as an “outer limit”.

She cautioned that the setting up of the faculties would require regulatory approvals, including engagements with professional councils.  In line with Stadio’s focus on qualifications that increased the employability of students, Singh said the engineering faculty planned to offer three-year degrees to produce graduates who could be employed as engineering technicians and technologists.  Stadio CEO Chris van der Merwe pointed out that top medical schools in SA were only able to enrol a small percentage of the qualifying applicants.

by Marc Hasenfuss

SA medical students who studied abroad to be allowed to take board exam

News24 reports that Deputy Minister of Health Mathume Phaahla announced on Tuesday that South African medical students who studied abroad would now be allowed to write the Health Professions Council of SA’s (HPCSA’s) board exam. This came after the HPCSA decided this year to enforce a 2009 regulation that would force South Africans who studied medicine abroad to do their internship in the land where they studied, before they would be allowed to take the board exam.

Some prospective doctors had received letters saying that they would be allowed to take the exam in May, only for permission to be rescinded in February.  A court battle loomed.  Speaking in a debate in the National Assembly called by IFP MP Narend Singh, Phaahla agreed with Singh that the HPCSA’s decision had serious implications.  He said that those students already approved for the board exam would take it in May and the Department of Health would work with the HPCSA to find a long-term solution.  The HPCSA’s enforcement of the regulation was condemned across party lines.

by Jan Gerber

Metrorail suspends Mamelodi service

eNCA reports that Metrorail has suspended operations in Mamelodi, north east of Pretoria, due to train hijackings, staff assaults and attacks against commuter trains in the area. In a statement, Metrorail said there has been more than 10 attacks in a space of less than a week, with the latest incident having taken place at the Eerste Fabrieke station on Tuesday night.

No train service will run from Koedoespoort and Pienaarspoort stations.  “Drivers are scared to operate in the area due to ongoing attacks,” spokesperson Lillian Mofokeng said, adding that the suspension had no timeframe.  There will be no alternative plans for commuters.  Commuters with valid tickets for the month or weekly tickets can claim refunds from the Rissik, Haartebees and Pretoria stations.

City of Joburg dismisses 11 corrupt licensing officials

The Citizen reports that the City of Johannesburg has dismissed 11 employees from the driver’s licence testing centres at the Department of Public Safety after they were found guilty in internal disciplinary hearings last month of fraud, corruption and dishonesty.

Michael Sun, member of the mayoral committee for public safety, indicated that the employees registered vehicles to fictitious individuals and “dumped” the traffic fees and penalties of offenders by transferring the amounts payable to these nonexistent persons on the computer system.  They would thereafter re-register the vehicles of the offenders in their names so that they were not liable for the traffic fees or penalties.  Sun said formal letters of dismissal had been issued to the City employees.

Ref: ANA

COSATU to make submission on Carbon Tax Bill

COSATU will present its submission on Treasury’s Carbon Tax Bill to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance at 3:50pm 14 March, Good Hope Chamber, Parliament. COSATU has long been a champion of the need for government, industry, labour and society at large to urgently work together to stop climate change. It is working class communities that are the first to suffer and most at risk to the devastating impact of climate change.  We need look no further than the water crisis engulfing the Cape provinces to see the cost of inaction.

COSATU is deeply aggrieved that government has no jobs plan for those workers whose jobs are at risk due to climate change, the evolving economy and energy sector.  COSATU is left with no choice but to condemn government’s addiction to raising taxes and lethargy to developing a plan with industry, labour and communities for a just transition. COSATU will present to Parliament, its proposals of what should the jobs plan and a just transition include.    At the heart of these have to be the needs to protect and save both the environment and jobs.  It is hoped that these will crystalise at the planned Presidential Jobs and Investment Summits.