Racism complaint against Rajesh Gupta

BusinessLive reports that the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) confirmed on Thursday that Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation lodged a complaint of racism against Rajesh Gupta with the Gauteng office this week. The matter is currently being assessed.  LHR and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation approached the ANC to lead the complaint against Gupta for allegedly “referring to his employees as monkeys and causing them much distress”, but the party refused.

The social justice organisations want the commission to order Gupta to pay R150‚000 compensation to the two guards and R150‚000 to institutions that work against hate speech.  They also want him to tender an unconditional verbal apology‚ attend equality sensitivity training, and perform community service.

by Claire Keeton

Sex-for-jobs scandal involving HR manager rocks Soweto hospital

The Star reports that some women employees claim they have been forced to sleep with a senior manager in a sex-for-jobs scandal that has rocked Soweto’s Bheki Mlangeni District Hospital, which opened in 2014. A probe into the scandal has also revealed that most of the alleged victims had paid corrupt officials varying amounts to get employment at the medical facility. At least five female employees currently working at the hospital in Jabavu have allegedly slept with the human resources officer at the centre of the scandal to secure their jobs, while others were allegedly fired for rejecting his advances.

The alleged sex predator’s modus operandi was to target female colleagues facing disciplinary action for having paid to acquire their jobs.  He would then take advantage of their anxiety at the possibility of losing their jobs by allegedly demanding sex from them as a way of avoiding disciplinary processes.  Early this year, the health department launched an investigation into the alleged selling of jobs at the hospital in which five employees were implicated.  It is still unknown how the investigation was concluded.

by Lindile Sifile

Cosatu lays charges against Metrorail with Cape Town police

GroundUp reports that on Thursday‚ Tony Ehrenreich‚ Western Cape Provincial Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)‚ laid charges against Metrorail at Cape Town Central Police Station. At issue is the worsening situation of train transport over the past 10 years.  “Cosatu members depend on the trains and complain to us on a daily basis about the bad service.

When the trains are late workers lose production. The loss of production also makes companies miss their deadlines and targets and this jeopardises orders‚” Ehrenreich said.  In a press statement Cosatu indicated:  “The charges are for reckless endangerment of Cosatu members and commuters on the trains” due to chronic overcrowding.  A spokesperson for Metrorail said they would study the charges once laid and, if it then became a legal process, that must follow due course.

by Tariro Washinyira

Medical schemes under pressure to keep hikes in contributions under 10%

Fin24 reports that Bonitas Medical Fund has announced a weighted increase of 8.7% in contribution costs for next year, while Discovery has announced one of 7.9%. The increases are the lowest seen in several years.  Last year, Bonitas announced a 10.98% average increase, and Discovery Health one of 10.2% for 2017, and most other schemes followed suit with double-digit increases.  Most of the other schemes are yet to announce their 2018 increases.

But, if the announcements from Discovery and Bonitas are anything to go by, other scheme members may also be in for lower-than-usual membership contribution increases for 2018.  Medical inflation is estimated at 8.93%, and is always significantly higher than CPI inflation, which came in at 4.8% for August.  For all schemes, the challenge lies in dealing with the rising costs of healthcare, and at the same time curbing expenditure.  A further challenge lies in keeping up with new trends in healthcare, and adjusting benefit schedules to reflect this.

by Susan Erasmus

PSA likely to table 12% wage demand in public sector wage talks

BDLive reports on proceedings at the annual general meeting on Monday of the Public Service Association (PSA), where former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas was a speaker. The PSA also announced it would be tabling a 12% salary increase demand when public sector wage negotiations get under way on 16 October.  The figure had to still be discussed with other trade unions, including Cosatu affiliates, before a final demand was agreed on for presentation to the government by the labour caucus, but it was unlikely to be lower.

Fredericks said workers would use the billions of rand lost to wasteful and irregular expenditure and corruption in the government as a benchmark of the state’s ability to offer workers an increase well above the inflation-targeted hike the Department of Finance has punted.  Earlier this month, senior managers received a 5.5% cost-of-living adjustment, backdated to April.

by Theto Mahlakoana

eNCA could be flouting labour laws

The Star reports that news organisation eNCA could be flouting labour laws following revelations that its freelance anchors were working without written contracts. A two-month probe by the newspaper, which spoke to two freelance anchors with over two years of service each, has unearthed a “toxic” environment of uneasiness, where they don’t know whether they’ll still be utilised due to a lack of contracts.  One of the anchors told of “not knowing whether you’ll be put on the roster, or whether you’ll be paid the same rates as the previous month”.  The person added: “If you complain you are removed from the roster. Mark Rosin, group chief operating officer of eNCA’s controlling company eMedia Investments, neither confirmed nor denied that freelance anchors work without contracts, saying they would not comment on the matter in public.

There is no contract that you can go back to and say: ‘But I have a contract to work this number of shifts a month’.”  Those views were echoed by another anchor, who said that “talks to provide contracts for all freelancers are under way, but that has been the status quo for some time.”  Labour lawyer John Botha advised that the law provided that all employers should provide written contracts to employees working more than 24 hours in a month.  Two of the anchors have worked such an amount of time for several months.  Meantime, the channel is embroiled in a legal tussle with its former entertainment reporter, Nontobeko Sibisi, who is seeking to be reinstated permanently at the CCMA.

by Khaya Koko

Seven Shoprite cashiers who accepted tips in court for theft

TimesLive reports that seven Shoprite cashiers who were arrested after allegedly accepting tips from customers appeared in court in Cape Town on Wednesday charged with theft. The women were arrested in August after video footage showed them accepting money from customers at the Pelican Park store in Cape Town.

Shoprite staff and family of the seven held up signs‚ some of which read:  “We want decent wage”‚ “Gatvol of exploitation‚ victimization and humiliation” and “Phantsi Shoprite Management!!” In a statement following the cashiers’ arrest‚ Shoprite said tipping was against its policy‚ which lays down that cashiers may not have personal money with them during work hours.

by Anthony Molyneaux

Review of National Certificate Vocational (NCV) training scheme drags on

BusinessLive reports that the review of the National Certificate Vocational (NCV), which could result in the qualification being overhauled, is due to be completed by the end of 2017, after a process starting in 2010. The NCV is aimed at tackling the economy’s skills demand and offers programmes of study at levels 2, 3 and 4 designed to provide theory and practical experience in specific industry fields.  But, many programmes duplicate each other and they have also been criticised for not adequately preparing students to enter occupations.

Answering a question in parliament, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said the review was considering the selection of students, programme delivery (theory and practical plus the manner in which the curricula were delivered), quality of practitioners and resources. Costing and funding flows, student support and career guidance were also being considered.  Furthermore, said Nzimande, the review was exploring the opportunities students were able to exploit upon completion of the programme.  Also, the review team was looking at which factors enabled students or hindered them from accessing particular opportunities

by Bekezela Phakathi

HPCSA pursues bogus health practitioners

Business Live reports that a rise in bogus health practitioners has forced the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) and medical schemes to strengthen their forensics units to curb fraud. A team at the HPCSA is conducting about 400 investigations into bogus practitioners. To date, just more than 40 arrests have been made, but prosecutions are slow.

Data from this special investigation unit suggests that about 7% of all medical aid claims in SA are fraudulent and stem from both bogus practitioners and unscrupulous ones. Estimates are that this type of fraud costs the private sector R22bn a year. Bogus practitioners include those who had previously been registered with the HPCSA, but were struck off for various infractions, while others had no medical qualifications or experience and used practice numbers belonging to registered healthcare practitioners.

by Michelle Gumede

Rockfall kills two miners at Impala Platinum shaft in Rustenburg

News24 reports that two miners died when a rock fell on their heads while drilling in shaft 12 of Impala Platinum’s Rustenburg mine on Tuesday morning, the mine said.  The two men, aged 31 and 34, died at the scene. Impala spokesperson Johan Theron said the rockfall had not threatened the lives of any other miners.

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said the ministry would be conducting an investigation into the cause of the accident.  “We are extremely concerned … with these incidents which continue to claim the lives of workers in the mines.  We have a duty and legislative obligation to investigate these incidents with a view to ensuring that as far as possible we prevent them,” Zwane indicated in a statement.

by James de Villiers