Why Productivity SA wants changes in the labour law

BusinessLive reports that Productivity SA wants the Labour Relations Act’s section 189 amended to compel companies in distress to report retrenchment plans to the Department of Labour. The entity, which is responsible for promoting employment growth and productivity, says it has been unable to save jobs as it is not always consulted by businesses. The Labour Relations Act requires businesses to consult employees, workplace forums and trade unions about its intention to retrench. However, in most cases, even if companies had reached out to Productivity SA, the likelihood of intervention was low as the organisation was facing financial difficulties that prevented it from fully delivering on its mandate.

Its largest funder, the Unemployment Insurance Fund, has consistently failed to meet its obligations on time because of past transgressions by the entity. Productivity SA has adopted a turnaround solutions programme championed by board chairman Mthunzi Mdwaba, who disclosed the problems the entity had to overcome and painted a picture of an underperforming organisation with backlogs of interventions which if realised could save thousands of jobs and stimulate job creation. Heading the entity’s list of priorities was improving the economy’s performance by undertaking enterprise support programmes to enhance productive capacity and the operational efficiency of businesses.

Theto Mahlakoana

Farmworker wins right to be buried on Limpopo Farm

EWN reports that centenarian John Chisale has been buried on the farm he had been fighting to live on after a High Court ruling in Limpopo on Friday. The current owner had been threatening to evict him and his family, and after Chisale died his body lay in a mortuary for weeks before the ruling made it possible for him to be buried on the farm on Sunday. The 116-year-old Malawian national began working on the Lephalale farm when he arrived in South Africa in 1947. Represented by the Nkuzi Development Association, Chisale first approached the courts in 2006 to challenge what he described as unfair treatment by Isabella Pistorius, the daughter of original farm owner Piet Pistorius.

The group’s Vasco Mabunda says Chisale’s case has been made prominent by media coverage, but for many farm dwellers, it is nothing new. He says they have made numerous attempts to engage government on the rights of farm dwellers. Chisale is survived by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren who fear they may still be kicked off the land they call home. Mabunda says this is likely going to be the case if nothing is done to protect the rights of farm dwellers and their descendants. He further warns that if not addressed, the mistreatment of farm workers will result in instability on farms across the country and may threaten food security.

by Masechaba Sefularo

Conference to tackle maritime training challenges

Engineering News reports that challenges and solutions facing the maritime training sector will be discussed at the first Maritime Education & Training(MET) conference, which will be hosted by the South African International Maritime Institute(Saimi) from November 14 to 17, in Cape Town.

The aim of the conference is to find maritime education and training solutions for South Africa that are relevant to local conditions and based on international best practice in a global industry. The next generation of mariners must be as fluent in using technology as they are at reading the wind, weather and waves, says Saimi CEO Professor Malek Pourzanjani. He adds that training for seafarers and other sectors of the maritime economy must meet and go beyond current standards so that qualified South Africans can compete on the international maritime job market.

by Anine Kilian

eNCA in another dispute about contractless employment

The Star reports that another labour-related legal tussle looms for news organisation eNCA over more allegations of contractless employment at the channel. Nhlanhla Mbatha alleges that he worked for 13 months at eNCA as a sub-editor without a contract from October 2015 to the end of November last year, when he was “unceremoniously” told his contract had finished – “even though I never signed one”.  He is taking the channel to the Labour Court, where papers have been filed, following an unsuccessful attempt in March to get what he felt was recourse at the CCMA.

Mbatha’s allegations follow those made earlier this month by freelance anchors at eNCA who alleged that they too worked at the channel without contracts.  Meantime, Mark Rosin, the group COO at eNCA’s controlling company, eMedia Investments, said:  “Any suggestions that eNCA does not adhere to the labour laws of the country are false.  The matter of contracts, freelance and otherwise, is an internal matter on which we will not be drawn to comment in public.”

by Khaya Koko

Violent protest amid wage strike at Makro store

eNCA reports that a violent protest broke out on Friday at a Makro store in northern Johannesburg, according to a Thomson Reuters witness. The store is part of Massmart’s Makro chain, whose employees have been on a wage strike for a week.  Marune Rossouw, a Thomson Reuters employee, said she was trapped inside the store with around 50 other people as protesting staff rampaged through the car park, throwing stones at cars.  A police spokesman could not immediately confirm the incident at the store.  A Massmart spokesman also could not immediately give confirmation.

8 000 jobs to be created as Table Bay Mall opens

Business Report writes that in a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday, the new Table Bay Mall opened its doors to a flurry of eager shoppers. The latest regional shopping centre development by property investment company, Zenprop Property Holdings, commenced trading on Thursday in the Sunningdale region.

The mall is esteemed to become a significant contributor to the economic development of both the West Coast region and the Western Cape province. Developers estimate an additional 8 000 jobs to be created which range between tenants and service providers.

by Zeenat Vallie

No more labour brokers for Gauteng government

SABC News reports that Gauteng has decided to do away with labour brokers before the end of the year. Premier David Makhura made the announcement when he addressed Cosatu supporters protesting against corruption and state capture in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

He says: there’s no debate about outsourcing and labour brokers. We know it’s there.” Cosatu has been fighting government to force it to totally ban labour brokers. The federation has been of the view that only a total ban on labour brokers will stop the abuse of workers by employers. Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini has hailed the country-wide march against state capture, and corruption. He said that the response to the march was overwhelming.

by Tshepo Mongai

Mixed reaction to party funding ruling

SABC News reports that Wednesday’s judgment of the High Court in the Western Cape could render Parliament’s work unnecessary. The court has given Parliament 18 months to force political parties to disclose private funding. Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee on political party funding is already working on the Bill.

by Abongwe Kobokana

Gigaba to meet with PIC

SABC News reports that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba is expected to hold an urgent meeting with the board of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) on Tuesday to discuss reports that the Treasury wants the PIC to bail out struggling state-owned enterprises.

Gigaba rejected all such reports as untrue, malicious and un-constructive on Monday. The reports claim that Treasury is putting pressure on the PIC which manages more than two-trillion rand in state pension funds to bail out various SOE’s, especially South African Airways.

Hammanskraal bus strike to affect thousands in Pretoria again on Tuesday

SABC News reports that thousands of commuters in the Hammanskraal area, north of Pretoria, will be stranded again on Tuesday as the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) continues with its bus strike. Last week, striking workers prevented about 700 busses from operating in and around four provinces.  Drivers are demanding that the busses be replaced and their working conditions be improved.

Satawu’s Sandy Motlhakeng said they met with management, and came to an agreement that a tender for new or rented busses be advertised within a week.  He added:  “If maybe we have the document at our disposal, as the organisation we are going put a strike on hold.  If that document does not appear in any of the newspapers, automatically we are going to continue with the strike.”