UIF looks for former mineworkers

ANA reports that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will kick off a registration campaign that would see millions in unclaimed benefits paid to former mineworkers in the Northern Cape, the Department of Labour said on Thursday. The campaign will target the Hartswater area in the Phokwane Local Municipality.

“The campaign is aimed at ex-mineworkers who left employment in the mines prior to 01 April 2002.  This category of workers is urged to come and make applications for unclaimed benefits from the UIF,” the department indicated in a statement. “The campaign will continue on 26 and 28 June 2018 in Kimberley and it will spread to other towns across the province,” said the UIF.

Ref: The Citizen

Sarb keeps interest rate on hold

eNCA reports that interest rates have been kept on hold, South African Reserve Bank (Srab) Governor Lesetja Kganyago announced on Thursday. The decision comes after a meeting of the central bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) in Pretoria.

This means the repo rate, the rate at which Sarb lends money to banks, will remain unchanged at 6.5 percent. The prime lending rate, the rate at which banks borrow to consumers, stays put at 10 percent.

Gauteng MEC for transport shuts down Tsakane taxi rank

News24 reports that Gauteng MEC for roads and transport Ismail Vadi has shut down Tsakane taxi rank in Ekurhuleni with immediate effect following a shooting that left four people dead on Wednesday morning.  “No taxis will be allowed to operate from the Tsakane taxi rank and law enforcement personnel will be deployed to the affected area tonight (Wednesday),” Vadi said in a statement.  He urged commuters in the Tsakane and Brakpan area to make alternative transport arrangements.

The taxi rank would remain closed until the security risk relating to the taxi industry in the area stabilised, he indicated.  The announcement came after four people were shot and killed and six others were injured during taxi-related violence in Brakpan on Wednesday morning.  The shooting took place shortly after members of the Brakpan Taxi Association attended a meeting in the area to resolve their complaints.  After the meeting had concluded and members began to leave, a dispute about the Brakpan and Tsakane taxi routes among the members apparently sparked the shootout.

by Iavan Pijoos

AngloGold Ashanti on latest job cuts

Fin24 reports that AngloGold Ashanti said in a statement on Wednesday that it had made “the difficult decision” to restructure the company to support a smaller footprint in South Africa. The restructuring process will affect all employee levels, including the South African executive committee and senior management.  The company indicated as follows:  “South African operations continue to face a multiplicity of challenges, including increasing depth and distance from central infrastructure, declining production profiles, and cost escalations that have continued to outpace both inflation and the gold price.

In addition, the margins are negatively affected by a much stronger exchange rate.”  The gold producer promised that the consultation process with the trade unions would be aimed at ensuring the remaining assets – which employ approximately 8,200 people – remained viable.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said they would engage AngloGold to try to prevent the retrenchments, while the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) vowed to try preventing job cuts by working with its union rivals.

by Tehillah Niselow

Clause will be removed from mining charter

Bloomberg reports that South Africa will remove a clause from its Mining Charter that includes naturalized citizens in the group of people who should benefit from attempts to more evenly redistribute the country’s mineral wealth. Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is in talks with companies, unions and mining communities on an update to the mining charter after a version published last year by his predecessor prompted legal challenges from the industry. 

Among the criticisms of the 2017 charter was its recognition of black and other historically disadvantaged people who had taken citizenship after being in the country for long enough. Opposition parties suggested that the clause was included to benefit the Gupta family, who are friends with former President Jacob Zuma.  “We want to cut out anything that looks suspicious in the charter,” Mantashe said in an interview Tuesday.  The reworked mining charter will not be an entirely new document, but will rather be based on the previous paper, Mantashe said.
by Sam Mkokeli
Ref: Business Report

Court petition by Mining Forum SA to stop Lonmin takeover

Business Report writes that Mining Forum of SA, a non-profit organisation advocating for the rights of mining communities in North West, has decided to petition the North West High Court in order to block the Lonmin takeover by Sibanye-Stillwater.
If successful, this would throw a spanner in the works of the proposed R5.1billion deal, which last week got a boost after the SA Reserve Bank cleared it.  The forum has been disaffected with Lonmin for a while over the platinum miner’s alleged failure to meet its socio-economic obligations.

The forum’s Blessings Ramoba said on Friday that the organisation wanted the court to revoke Lonmin’s mining licence for failing to implement social and labour plans between 2014 and this year.  Former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane suspended Lonmin’s licence in November last year, but the suspension was lifted three days later.  “We want the court to reinstate that suspension.  We want the court to put the sale on hold until Lonmin has fulfilled its obligations to the community in terms of the social and labour plans,” Ramoba said.  In his view, Lonmin was in breach of its statutory obligations in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Development Act.

by Siseko Njobeni

Global ban by clothing retailers puts SA’s mohair industry at risk

Bloomberg reports that a ban on mohair by dozens of global clothing retailers is threatening a R1.5bn industry in SA, the world’s biggest producer. Almost 70 clothing companies worldwide have announced that they will stop using mohair following the release earlier in May of video footage from 12 Angora goat farms in the Karoo region.  The footage showed goats being dragged by the legs or horns and sustaining injuries from shearing.  A worker decapitating a goat also featured.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), which produced the video, alleges that abuse in the mohair industry is “rampant and routine” and inflicts “unspeakable suffering”.

While industry organisation Mohair SA announced earlier in May it would immediately suspend mohair from the farms implicated in the video, it said it considered much of the report to have been incorrect and misrepresenting the industry.  There are about 1,000 Angora goat farms in SA, employing an estimated 30,000 people.  It is too early to determine the long-term impact of the ban, said Deon Saayman, MD of Mohair SA.

Ref: BusinessLive

Rosslyn Hub development, launched and expected to create 160,000 jobs

Engineering News reports that the R3-billion mixed-use Rosslyn Hub development was launched at the African Smart Cities Summit at the Gallagher Convention Centre on Wednesday. The Summit was co-located with the African Construction and Totally Concrete Expo.  The Rosslyn Hub is a crucial step towards the creation of the Tshwane Auto City (TAC), a collaboration between government and the automotive industry to transform the area into the leading automotive investment destination in Africa.

Big Cedar Properties MD and Rosslyn Hub director Brendan Falkson noted that it was envisioned that Rosslyn, which is already home to four automotive manufacturers – BMW, Nissan, Iveco and Tata – along with an array of automotive suppliers, will emulate well-established automotive cities like those in Spain, China, Germany and Japan.  In addition to the automotive plants already established in Rosslyn, the hub will comprise a development logistics park and vehicle distribution centre, a truck staging area and truck stop, motor showrooms, a motor retail area and an outdoor automotive pavilion.  The Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) developed the TAC concept and, as an implementing agency of government, is the project manager for the hub’s development.  The project is expected to create 160,000 jobs.

Central collective bargaining is toxic, says CCCI president

In a letter to the editor, Janine Myburgh, President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), writes that the lesson evident from the bus strike is that central bargaining is poisoning industrial relations. She continues:  “It does not take into account that conditions vary from province to province.  Workers have a right to take industrial action against bad employers who pay the lowest possible wages and fail to provide basic benefits.

But good employers should be respected by unions.  Instead they are dragged into the national strike and suffer serious economic damage.  Their well-paid workers also suffer due to the no work, no pay rule.  They have been abused in the power struggles of the union bosses.  More workplace democracy is needed, especially secret ballots before industrial action.”

This letter to the editor of Business Day is at BusinessLive.

Medical aid industry to see new rules on benefits, prices and governance

BusinessLive reports that Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is planning a major shake-up of the medical-scheme industry, with new rules on benefits, prices and governance in the pipeline. The changes are contained in the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill as presented to a cabinet committee on Tuesday.  The most crucial aspect of the bill is a proposal to introduce uniform tariffs for services and prohibit co-payments on the part of members.  At present, each scheme negotiates its own rates with service providers such as hospitals and doctors, while members face varying degrees of co-payments for their healthcare bills, depending on which medical-scheme options they belong to and the nature of their conditions.

“There must be a uniform tariff, the same rate for all and they [providers] must ask for nothing from members,” the minister said on Wednesday.  The uniform tariff would be to assist medical schemes, which had varying degrees of negotiating power depending on their size.  Guidance on how the uniform tariffs would be determined is expected to come from the Competition Commission’s health-market inquiry. The minister said medical schemes would continue to exist as National Health Insurance (NHI) was rolled out, but they required a new regulatory framework to provide greater protection for members. A key proposal in the bill is replacing prescribed minimum benefits (PMBs) with a new set of benefits with a greater emphasis on primary healthcare.  The bill contained measures to strengthen board appointments and ensure that they had the appropriate skills for the job.

by Tamar Kahn