SAPS graduates warned to watch their waistlines

IOL News reports that Acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane, urged newly graduated South African Police Officers not to “balloon” in size, on Wednesday. “You are not going to make it, if you are unfit. You are not going to make it, if you opt to balloon out, hoping that you are going to get a bigger size uniform,” he said. Phahlane was speaking at the Passing Out Parade at the Vygieskraal Stadium in Athlone. The parade marked the completion of the Basic Police Development Learning Programme. Of 1 926 graduates, 1 324 will be deployed in the Western Cape, due to an influx of crime and a rise in the number of complaints relating to shortages of personnel.

Addressing the crowd, the acting police commissioner gave a stern warning that corruption in the institution will not be tolerated. “I hope that you have come to the South African Police Service as one those who have answered the call. You did not come to SAPS with an agenda, a ticket of pursuing your corrupt and or criminal activities .That would be unfortunate but, if that is to be the case, we will soon find out and we will soon let you go! “

COSATU mourns the passing away of former SACCAWU President, Cde Amos Mothapo

The Congress of South African Trade Unions sends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of the late former SACCAWU President, Comrade Amos Mothapo, who passed away after a bout of illness. Comrade Mothapo was a long serving COSATU CEC member, who led the retail sector trade union for many years. He waged a relentless fight against labour brokers and labour casualizations. We will remember him as a disciplined and dedicated worker leader, who led the workers struggles with integrity and devotion. He is one of the leaders, who was always ready to confront the workplace challenges facing the workers and the socio-economic challenges facing the working class in general. We shall honour his memory by working hard to build a united, growing, militant, independent and fighting federation that will continue to be a major factor in the political and economic life of our country. May his soul rest in eternal peace! The federation in Gauteng will host a memorial service that will be addressed by COSATU CEC Members.

The details of the service are as follows;
Date:     28th July 2016
Venue:  Orlando Community Hall opposite Orlando Stadium,
Orlando East
Time:    13h00

The family house is at 5747 Ngubane Street, Orlando East. We are calling on all workers and members of COSATU to give their last respects and give this committed workers leader a fitting send off. For more information contact: Dumisani Dakile – COSATU Gauteng Provincial Secretary on  082 727 1422

SABC reinstates 7 dismissed employees, abandoning further legal action

News24 reports that the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) announced on Wednesday that it has reinstated seven dismissed journalists.  “The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) management has instructed its legal team not to proceed with further legal action and the SABC will reinstate the seven dismissed news employees,” the public broadcaster said in a brief statement.  The decision comes despite the broadcaster locking Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp out of its Johannesburg offices earlier on Wednesday.

AA advises motorists ahead of Ceppwawu strike to fill up before pumps run dry

TMG Digital reports that the Automobile Association (AA) has advised motorists to ensure they have fuel‚ ahead of a strike by the Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (Ceppwawu), set to begin on Thursday. “It is our understanding that the strike will affect all refineries and depots of petroleum companies.

This strike does not include petrol pump attendants‚ but will start to impact motorists once the pumps at petrol stations start to run dry‚” the AA said.  The association recommended that motorists top up their fuel tanks as regularly as reasonably possible.  In addition‚ the AA said motorists should avoid taking unnecessary journeys.  It is unclear how long the industrial action‚ over worker demands for a 9% pay hike‚ will last.

Full report at TimesLive

COSATU fully supports the planned strike by CEPPWAWU in the Petroleum Sector

The Congress of South African Trade Unions supports its affiliate the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (CEPPWAWU) in its planned strike over wage negotiations against the employers in the chemical industry, the National Petroleum Employers Association. CEPPWAWU has already served a 48 hours industrial strike notice with effect from tomorrow , Thursday, 28th July 2016 ,and they have made it very clear that they ready to lead workers to streets in demand of a living wage.

It is unacceptable that the employers have refused to accede to the workers reasonable demands , especially considering that the high consumer price inflation means food, transport, goods and services have orbited further away from the reach of working class families. The price of bread has gone up 10.6% and transport by 8.7%.  The current employers offer of a mere 6,5% on wage increment is wholly inadequate. COSATU is calling on the employers to accede to the workers demands of a 9% wage increase , minimum wage of R8,000 and a one year agreement. To avoid strikes and improve labour relations employers need to address the extreme levels of inequality and poverty wages they pay workers. A meaningful living wage is also good for the economy because it will make a significant contribution to stimulating equitable economic growth and development.

COSATU, NUm to visit the illegally evicted farm workers in Klerksdorp

The Congress of South African Trade Unions under the leadership of its Deputy General Secretary, Cde Solly Phetoe, will be visiting the farm workers and farm dwellers in the North West farm of Rooistad in Klerksdorp tomorrow, 28 JULY 2016, to fight their illegal eviction by the new of farm owner. This workplace visit will be done jointly with the department of Rural Development and Land Reform in the province.  These poor farm workers, who have spent their whole lives on that farm, are being evicted with no regard to  due legal processes by the new owner. The DGS of COSATU will also be joining National Union of Mineworkers during the union’s door to door and recruitment campaigns in the area of Marikana, Rustenburg on the same date of the 28th July 2016 .The visit at the farm will start at 08h30am and the Marikana campaign in the afternoon. COSATU is deeply troubled by the farming sector’s total disregard for the country’s labour laws.

We have seen a troubling continuation of the illegal evictions of farm workers and farm dwellers, who are not even given insufficient time notification or alternative housing. We cannot allow generations of farm workers, who were born on the farms, where they work, to be treated and evicted in the same way they were evicted by the evil apartheid regime.
We expect  the department of Rural development and Labour Reform and of Labour  to invest more resources to protect farm workers and also the Human Rights Commission needs to play its role to protect vulnerable farm workers.   

Business IMF boss backs less protection, more jobs in SA

City Press reports that the second-in-command at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given a ringing endorsement to several long-standing proposals to reduce worker protections in South Africa. The fund’s deputy managing director, David Lipton, gave a lecture at Wits Business School last week, where he slated the collective bargaining system and the new rights accorded last year to labour broker employees. He advocated for the planned national minimum wage to be staggered with a “subminimum for youth and small enterprises”, and suggested that South Africa create a “single employment contract” that would eliminate the distinction between fixed-term and open-ended jobs.

In his speech, he also criticised the anticompetitive grip that small groups of large companies have over the economy. “The private sector has been supported in a way that creates privileged markets, working against the interests of consumers. They also damage competitiveness by keeping business costs high,” he said. Policies which meet the IMF’s approval include the controversial Employment Tax Incentive Act – which has cost several billion rands since its implementation in January 2014, and for which Treasury is due to release an evaluation this year– as well as the Competition Commission’s series of proactive market inquiries into the private healthcare, banking, liquid petroleum gas and retail sectors.

Lipton dismissed criticism from the audience that everything he was saying simply repeats what the IMF has said for the past 20 years. He called his proposals an “inclusion agenda” which contrasts policies preoccupied with aggregate demand through redistribution and higher earnings for workers. “Keynesian policies do not hold solutions to South Africa’s problems,” said Lipton. “I do not believe that redistribution of wealth alone will solve your problems … We are talking about a third of your population [that is unemployed].”

by Dewald Van Rensburg

New tax bill may kill employee share schemes

Moneyweb reports that the future of employee share schemes seems to be in the balance if proposals in the latest draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill go through. Tax experts have warned that the proposed changes, where almost any amount received by a taxpayer in respect of these schemes will be taxed as ordinary income, will tear up existing financial models and sink many schemes. From 1 March next year all distributions (all dividends and all returns of capital) on restricted equity instruments will be taxed at revenue rates. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) believe that share schemes are, in many instances, used to convert salary into dividends and capital gains which are taxed at lower rates than income.

Ordinary income tax rates range between 18% and 41%, but dividends are taxed at 15% and capital gains at 16.4%. “Companies who have created existing restricted equity schemes in good faith and in perfect compliance with existing laws will now face the prospect of having to tell staff, not to mention the unions and empowerment trustees, that their dividends will be taxed at marginal rates up to 41%, and not at 15% as expected.” Engel says while government’s concerns are legitimate, the current measures are unfair to existing BEE schemes and rank and file employees, who are locked into the schemes for a period of at least five and even 10 years. “The change undermines their legitimate expectations even where no disguised schemes exist,” he says.

by Amanda Visser

City of Joburg, Microsoft to train 1 million people in computer skills

SABC News indicates that in yet another project to address unemployment in Gauteng’s Johannesburg Metro, the city has entered into a partnership with Microsoft. This partnership will see one million youth from the disadvantaged backgrounds trained on digital literacy skills, to prepare them for job market. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa hopes the project can also assist those who aspire to venture into business.

The city of Johannesburg’s economic innovative hubs received a boost with Microsoft, injecting R200 million. More than 50% of the entry-level jobs require basic digital literacy skill. Johannesburg City hopes to assist the youth to access the job market. “The idea is that we should train over the next 5 years a million people in Johannesburg in Microsoft skill. 800 000 of those would be trained in the category of youth as service through the Vulindlela Jozi programme,” says Executive Mayor Parks Tau. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa also urged the private sector to collaborate more in addressing challenges facing the country.

by Montlenyane Diphoko

The flaw in the minimum wage debate

Fin24 reports that the minimum wage debate has again erupted with the release this week of a University of Witwatersrand (Wits) report that suggests a minimum wage for the country of between  R4 500 and R5 000.  Unions, civil society organisations, business and government at the National Development Economic and Labour Council (Nedlac) in June seemed to be moving toward an agreed minimum of between R3 000 and R3 700, although Cosatu was holding out for R4 500. The latest suggestion from the Wits report maintains that the higher basic wage would provide an impetus to the local economy and boost South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) by more than 2%.

But the major flaw in the argument made in the Wits report and backed by academics from the United States, is that a substantial minimum wage would be to the benefit of the national economy. It would be, but only if most of the consumer spend was on locally produced products. It is not and, in the current conditions, cannot be. The country’s GDP, along with the bottom lines of importers, wholesalers and retailers would certainly benefit by increased consumer spending, and this would boost the GDP. But, at the same time, in the present conditions, it would add to South Africa’s debt and foreign exchange woes.

by Terry Bell