Academic disruptions threaten 2017 intake of medical interns – Health Dept

CapeTalk reports that the Department of Health says it’s gravely concerned that academic disruptions at university campuses will negatively impact next year’s intake of medical interns. This comes after UCT’s Health Sciences Faculty announced that it was suspending classes for all undergraduates this year.

It’s expected that at least 1 200 medical graduates will be placed across the country in 2017, but protest action. Health Ministry spokesperson Joe Maila says that if the academic year is not completed at universities, there will be consequences to the public healthcare system. Medical students in their final year of study have already received provisional placement for their internships, Maila explains. Maila says that a reduced intake will add to the existing strain on the public healthcare system, which sees a general shortage of doctors.

IDC to give R4.5bn to boost youth entrepreneurship

City Press reports that the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) will be making available R4.5 billion over the next three years to help tackle the “ticking time bomb” that is youth unemployment. IDC CEO Geoffrey Qhena has placed youth participation in the economy at the centre of the development finance institution’s strategies and actions.

IDC chairperson Busi Mabuza noted that IDC subsidiary – the Small Enterprise Finance Agency – had disbursed R1.3 billion in start-up and expansion funding to 69 000 small, medium and micro enterprises. “The significance of support to the small business sector is that these are the enterprises that have been shown to be significant job creation drivers.”

by Caiphus Kgosana

Concourt judgment: a victory for spouses of farm workers

GroundUp reports that a judgment of the Constitutional Court, delivered in July, will now allow women to have a voice in eviction proceedings. It compels lower courts to consider the interests of spouses and dependants when assessing whether an eviction is just and equitable. The Extension of Security of Tenure Act of 1997 (ESTA) was designed to protect occupiers from unfair evictions by recognising the rights that arise from long-term occupation.

In terms of ESTA, the right of residence may only be terminated if it is just and equitable. One of the factors that must be considered is the hardship an eviction will cause an occupier. The case of Jan Klaase and Another v Jozia Johannes van der Merwe N.O and Others was not about a farm worker but rather about a farm worker’s spouse. And the outcome was an expanded definition of the word ‘occupier.’

Mrs Klaase was never a permanent employee on the farm, she was a seasonal worker who had stayed on the farm with her husband for at least 30 years prior to the eviction order. The Constitutional Court upheld Mrs Klaase’s appeal, finding that she ought to have been joined in the eviction proceedings by virtue of her residence on the property. Future eviction cases will now have to ensure that spouses are joined in eviction proceedings.

by Safura Abdool Karim
Full report at GroundUp

Why National Minumum Wage negotiations are deadlocked

GroundUp reports that after more than 18 months of negotiations on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in the Wage Inequality Task Team in Nedlac, talks have effectively deadlocked. This article analyses the forces underlying the deadlock.

A fundamental difference has manifested itself in the NMW negotiations between those proposing a NMW at the bottom of the current minimum wage structure versus proposals for a bold, meaningful NMW which breaks with the current wage structure, while proposing an incremental transformation over the medium term.

Labour and Community constituencies in Nedlac have sought to promote the interests of working class communities. On the other side, business representatives, together with those in the state, particularly Treasury, believe that a model of wage repression is the route to growth. The deadlock in Nedlac on the National Minimum Wage is therefore fundamentally about different interests as well as different visions about how to get out of our socioeconomic crisis.

by Neil Coleman
Full report at GroundUp

National minimum wage getting closer

The New Age reports that according to the labour constituency at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), things are edging closer towards the realisation of a national minimum wage (NMW).

Nedlac’s Committee of Principals (COP) met at the weekend to iron out differences regarding the NMW. It emerged that the advisory panel tasked with determining an appropriate level at which to set the NMW would give a report on its work within the next two weeks.

by Bonolo Selebano

SANDF member tried to bribe his way out of sexual harassment charge

TMG Digital reports that the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) on Sunday night announced that one of its members was in police custody after “allegedly sexually harassing his patient”.

When the member was transferred for 68 Air School Sickbay in Lyttelton‚ where the claimed crime occurred‚ to Area Military Health Unit in Gezina‚ he “allegedly tried to bribe the investigating officer to have his case not prosecuted in court”.  He was then arrested as a result of cooperation between the Military Police and SA Police Service investigating the alleged misconduct.  The suspect will appear in court on Monday.

Ref: TimesLive

Minister of labour threw law overboard in appointment of CCMA chairman

Netwerk24 reports that Mildred Oliphant, Minister of Labour, threw all legal requirements overboard in 2013 when she appointed Daniel Dube as chairperson of the council of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). She entered into a five year employment contract with Dube, while the law prescribes a maximum period of three in respect of the post.

Thembinkosi Mkalipi, deputy director-general of labour, said on Friday that the appointment for five years was a plain mistake and that Dube had worked his last day in the post on 13 October.  But, the CCMA’s spokesperson Lusanda Majola knew nothing about that and when asked said:  “He (Dube) is still there as always.  She asked for further questions to be submitted in writing. (Loosely translated from Afrikaans)

by Jan de Lange
Ref: SALabournews

Funding for an extra 124 labour inspectors withdrawn

Sunday Independent reports that National Treasury’s decision to withdraw R64 million allocated for additional inspectors as requested by the Department of Labour has angered unions. The Treasury had allocated the funds to the department to employ an additional 124 inspectors for the 206/17 financial year.  The about-turn was revealed in the department’s annual 2016 report presented recently to Parliament.

Labour federation Cosatu said last week the decision would not bode well for improving labour relations and could be detrimental for workers. The national minimum wage is expected to be implemented by the end of the year, and Cosatu expressed concern about the department’s ability to oversee compliance.

by Zintle Mahlati

Two trains collide near Tembisa

Two trains collided on Monday afternoon between Tembisa and Kaalfontein, resulting in one fatality and between 100 and 150 injuries.  Details are sketchy at this stage, but it’s understood the locomotives collided on the rail split from Kaalfontein Station towards Oakmoor and Tembisa stations in Esselen Park.

Metrorail’s Lillian Mofokeng said:  “I can confirm that we have a train collision between Kaalfontein and Tembisa.  For now, we are trying to gather information.  I am on my way to the scene and it is important that I highlight that the accident happened during our off-peak period.”

Reports at eNCA and EWN

Pensioners’ group in move to get members elected as Transnet pension trustees

Netwerk24 reported that the Transnet Pensioners Action Group (TPAG) would be nominating three of its members for the upcoming election of new trustees for three of Transnet’s pension funds. The TPAG is part of the class action against Transnet and its pension funds in terms of which more than R80 billion is being claimed by pensioners for loss of income and damages since the early 2000’s when Transnet decided to award pension increases of just 2% irrespective of the inflation rate.

The TPAG has proposed Robin Rowe and Laurence Liebbrandt as new trustees of the Transnet Pension Fund sub-fund and Naas Rossouw as trustee of the Prasa sub-fund.  The TPAG alleges that the current trustees, with the exception of Rowe who has served as an alternate trustee since 2013, have not carried out their fiduciary responsibilities of ensuring the financial wellbeing of pensioners.  The pensioners’ class action has been hampered of late by a court ruling over technical objections, against which leave to appeal has been denied.

by Francois Williams
Ref: SALabournews