Public Service Commission finds delays of up to 10 years paying out pensions

BDLive reports that the Public Service Commission (PSC) says some government departments are taking between one and 10 years to process service termination and pension pay-outs, instead of the 60 days required by law. However, the PSC, which is tasked with monitoring the administration of the public service, insists that the problem is not widespread. “According to the Government Employees Pension Law, 21 of 1996, as amended, the pension pay-out should be transferred to the person concerned within 60 days after the submission of all necessary documentation,” the PSC said .

The commission’s involvement in resolving some of the complaints revealed that in some instances delays in pension pay-outs dragged on for up to 10 years. The PSC found that service termination policies and procedures are in place in most departments, but that inadequate record management within departments leads to delays in the processing and finalisation of pension pay-outs. The result was that pensioners often could not feed their families, some could not continue to take their children through school or higher learning institutions, and some lost their properties due to lack of money to service their debts.

The PSC recommended that the Government Pension Administration Agency (GPAA) produce a database of unclaimed pension benefits by dependents or beneficiaries and employ a tracing agent to find the dependents or beneficiaries, and process their claims. Departments should submit to GPAA details of pension members who have not claimed their pensions. Contacted for comment, Cosatu national spokesman Sizwe Pamla on Wednesday argued that delays in the processing of pension payments were widespread. He said the delays were a huge problem for those retiring because, while they were waiting for their money, they had to turn to informal money lenders who charged astronomical interest rates. “We hope this issue can be properly addressed,” said Pamla.

by Wyndham Hartley

Bar set high for Correctional Services recruits

The new recruits in the ranks of the Department of Correctional Services have been warned to be ethical, upright, resilient and hard workers when carrying out their duties. Justice and Correctional Services Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla on Tuesday addressed over 450 trainees at the Zonderwater Training College for Correctional Services near Cullinan in Pretoria.

The trainees are part of over 3 000 recruits announced by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha during his budget vote speech earlier this year. They are currently completing their basic training at Zonderwater and Kroonstad Training Colleges of Correctional Services. The Correctional Services’ recruitment campaign has provided a lifeline to many unemployed youths, some of whom come from destitute households, with 14 from child-headed households.

SAnews.gov.za

Post Office fires 288 Gauteng workers who went on illegal strike in June

TimesLive reports that the SA Post Office Group (Sapo) has dismissed 228 workers for embarking on an alleged illegal strike in Gauteng last month. The protest action to Sapo’s headquarters in Centurion was organised by the Influential Information and Communication Union of SA (IICUSA) to raise concerns about the parastatal’s decision to suspend its secretary-general Gibson Ramoadi.

Other concerns related to the company wanting to reopen negotiations on an agreement reached in 2014 to give all casual workers permanent contracts by November this year‚ and the failure by the company to give all permanent staff a salary increase of 6.5% for the financial years 2014 and 2015.  IICUSA spokesman Tutu Mokoena said that, while some of the workers had been dismissed‚ others have been issued with the letters of suspension.  In an urgent interdict application to the Labour Court last week‚ Sapo accused some of the IICUSA members of damaging the gates around the premises‚ including some of the doors, on 13 June.

by Mpho Sibanyoni

Total packages of the Eskom executive directors revealed

BD Live reports that ESKOM CEO Brian molefe, has been rewarded with a total remuneration package worth R9.5m. This works out to a R792‚000 monthly salary‚ excluding bonuses‚ which Molefe said would be reflected in the company’s annual results for the current financial year. Eskom also paid former CEO Tshediso Matona and former finance director Tsholofelo Molefe following their resignations last year.

Matona was paid a total remuneration package worth R7m for the less than six months he spent there. Matona and Tsholofelo Molefe each received a salary of R1m. Molefe pocketed a total remuneration package worth R8m.

This resulted in the total remuneration package of the Eskom executive directors rocketing to R30m, from R8.1m in the 2014-15 financial year. The directors and executives were in total paid R75m from R51m in the 2014-15 financial year. Eskom has received a R23bn equity injection from the government. The company for the period under review saw its profit rise by 2‚209% to R4.6bn from R200m. The international sales volume grew 12.2% due to surplus capacity. The overall sales declined 0.8%, municipalities fell 1.6% and rail fell 7.9%.

by Mpho Sibanyoni

GAUTRAIN DRIVERS’ STRIKE OVER WAGE INCREASES ON THE CARDS

EWN reports that the United National Transport Union, which represents Gautrain drivers, says it’s extremely frustrated by the employer’s attitude to resolve a wage dispute and is now considering a strike. The Gautrain’s holding company, Bombela, is offering a 7.6 percent salary hike, while train drivers and other staff are demanding a 9 percent increase. The union represents 51 percent of staff. Union spokesperson Steve Harris says if consensus isn’t reached soon, workers will apply for a strike notice.

Bombela says it’s still willing to return to the negotiating table and avoid a strike by train drivers. The union is expected to meet with the employer on Monday, after parties reached a deadlock on salary negotiations.

Edited by Winnie Theletsane

Icasa staff on strike over bonuses‚ employee policies

SowetanLive reports that about 50 Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) staff members are on strike‚ demanding payment of last year’s bonuses and the reversal of new employee policies. Icasa spokesperson Paseka Maleka confirmed that the industrial action began on Monday‚ with striking employees gathering outside their offices.

The strikers are not affiliated to any union and come from various Icasa divisions.  According to Maleka, the staff members say they did not agree to new policies‚ allegedly negotiated and approved by Icasa and the Communication Workers Union (CWU).  They are also demanding payment of their bonuses for the 2014/2015 financial year.  They lodged their grievances with the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) leading up to the strike.

Surprise as state jobs buck long-term trend by shrinking in first quarter

BDLive writes that Statistics SA’s quarterly employment statistics survey (QES) released on Monday showed a surprise drop in permanent employees in provincial and local government in the first quarter of 2016.  All in all the formal economy shed 15,000 jobs, but while the drop in private sector jobs was expected, the fall in government jobs bucked a long established trend that has seen a steadily rising number of public sector employees.

The drop in provincial and local government employment may suggest that departments are heeding Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s call to cut the size of the public sector in order to slash the wage bill.  Provincial governments lost 11,000 jobs, while local government jobs were down by 3,000.  National government jobs were up by 5,000.  The number of temporary jobs in government grew, as the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) employed 50,000 more people in preparation for the local government elections in August.

by Ntsakisi Maswanganyi

Brown suspends pay hikes for Eskom execs

Fin24 reports that Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown is holding off remuneration increases for Eskom’s executives, but she approved a 4.6% increase for non-executives. “Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown … approved a below inflation increase of 4.6% in non-executive remunerations for the company, and has decided to defer the decision regarding remuneration increases for Eskom’s executives,” the power utility said in statement. Brown commended the Eskom board and executive management team for stabilising the country’s national power grid.

Eskom is expected to announce its financial results for the year ended 31 March 2016 on Tuesday. “Our approach to remuneration and benefits is designed to attract and retain skilled, high-performing executives and employees,” said Eskom chairperson Baldwin Ngubane. “We aim to remain competitive to attract and retain key skills, by providing market-related remuneration structures, benefits and conditions of service.”
No futher details were provided about the decision to defer pay hikes for Eskom’s executives.

Monday’s taxi strike in Gauteng called off

ANA reports that the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) in Gauteng has suspended its plans to strike and march on the provincial government offices on 4 July. On Thursday, during the Ntirhisano provincial taxi indaba at the Standard Bank Arena in Johannesburg, Santaco said its members would embark on a strike and march on Monday.

But on Friday, Santaco’s Gauteng office said the decision to suspend the plans came after the council’s leadership met Premier David Makhura.  This was confirmed by the premier.  At the meeting, Santaco handed over to the premier a memorandum of their grievances and demands, which would have been delivered at Monday’s march.  The matters raised in the memorandum would be dealt with as part of the process towards the Gauteng taxi summit to be held this month, Makhura said.

Ref: The Citizen

Grayston Drive bridge collapse inquiry to resume

EngineeringNews indicates that the on and off inquiry into the Grayston Drive pedestrian and cyclist bridge that collapsed and killed two people and injured 19 others last year is set to resume, the Department of Labour said on Friday. The inquiry, which was set up after the 14 October 2015 collapse of the temporary bridge structure across the M1 near the Grayston Drive off ramp in Johannesburg, has been deferred several times.

Department of Labour Director and Media Liaison Mokgadi Pela said the inquiry would resume next week Thursday. He said the sitting was expected to continue for seven successive days, except on weekends, until 15 July 2016. The Section 32 Inquiry, which was set up by the Department of Labour after the collapse of the temporary bridge structure in terms of Occupational Health and Safety, will investigate instances of alleged negligence. The inquiry will be presided over by Lennie Samuel.
The Inquiry will be held at the Department of Labour offices (Labour Centre) at Concillium Building, Nana Sita (formerly Skinner Steet) and Thabo Sehume (Andries Street) in Pretoria/Tshwane.

by Africa News Agency