CCMA teams up with agriculture sector

Business Report writes that the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) wants to team up with the agriculture sector and has embarked on the Director’s National User Forum on Agriculture programme. It also wants its commissioners to understand and be specialists in the sectors they would be assisting in.  The programme has been spearheaded by CCMA director Cameron Morajane as a way to engage and establish working relations with the agriculture sector and address issues pertaining to collective bargaining and the preservation of jobs.

Addressing one of the forums in Polokwane on Wednesday, he said: “We can never stop learning, the ‘each one teach one’ formula can never stop.  One can never have too much information; when we meet, there is often an information gap.”  Limpopo’s labour department chief inspector Phaswane Tladi said 40 of the 333 agricultural workplaces they had inspected recently were not compliant with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.  Issues of concern pertained to record-keeping and minimum wages.

by Luyolo Mkentane

Watershed court showdown looms for mining sector

Business Live reports that the first of two legal showdowns between the Chamber of Mines and the Department of Mineral Resources starts in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday over the interpretation of clauses around ownership in the first two mining charters. The chamber is seeking a declaratory order on the “once empowered always empowered” principle, or the continuing consequences of historical empowerment transactions on companies meeting their 26% black ownership target set out in the first two charters. The department demands mining companies perpetually top up black ownership levels to maintain the 26% level. A full bench of three judges will hear arguments over two days.

The second battle will be fought before a full bench of judges in mid-December when the chamber seeks to set aside the suspended third iteration of the charter introduced in June and which it claims is nonsensical, impractical and deeply damaging to the sector. In a study of the effect of applying the clause excluding the continuing consequences for deals done from 2004 to 2010, the chamber said 25% of the 23 companies it surveyed would be affected negatively if the department’s view of continuing consequences was applied. Four major companies — Anglo American Platinum, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, and Sibanye-Stillwater — would fall below the 26% black ownership target if the department’s view was adopted, Chamber of Mines CEO Roger Baxter said. If mining companies do not meet their ownership targets, their mining rights could be threatened.

by Allan Seccombe

More allegations of racist bullying at Old Mutual

Cape Times reports that more people have come forward saying there is racist bullying at Old Mutual, following the newspaper’s recent article on the issue. Old Mutual has confirmed there is an investigation underway into African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), one of its subsidiaries.  Old Mutual said:  “While we are addressing the matter urgently, we do require the necessary time to conclude the investigation and review process properly, before providing any further comment.

Our grievance and escalation procedures ensure that no individual or whistle-blower is compromised in any manner.  The Cape Times has received e-mails subsequent to its original story, from former employees of the company complaining of racism.  “There are countless women who are getting physically sick, or have left the company already due to their treatment of black individuals, among other things,” one person said.  Another said she was not surprised by the allegations made against AIIM.

by Francesca Villette

Icasa’s alleged sex pest CEO gets golden handshake of ‘almost R1m’

News24 reports that despite allegations of sexual harassment against him, former CEO of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), Pakamile Pongwana, received a ‘golden handshake’ of almost R1 million from the regulatory authority.

Minister of Communications Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane told the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications on Tuesday that a report on the matter was tabled and that “negotiations resulted in a settlement”.  The gross payment was almost R1m, and after taxes, it amounted to about R500,000. Committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana indicated that the report should be on the MP’s desk by Wednesday and would be discussed in the next two weeks.

by Jan Gerber

As taxi strike commences, drivers block roads, burn tyres in Tshwane

ANA reports that taxi drivers blocked several roads and burned tyres early on Wednesday morning in Pretoria as the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) protests against the government commenced.  Gauteng police have been deployed to maintain law and order and are monitoring the situation.  Taxi commuters in Tshwane have been warned to find alternative means of transportation on Wednesday.

On Monday, the Tshwane Metro Police Department confirmed that a march in relation to issues affecting the taxi industry would take place on Wednesday.  The marchers are expected to gather at the Old Putco Depot in Marabastad and head to the department of transport to hand over a first memorandum before proceeding to the Union Buildings where they will hand over a second memorandum.  Commuters in Tshwane began posting updates on social media about the much-dreaded taxi strike in the early hours.

Ref: IOL News

Tshwane braces for taxi strike on Wednesday

The Citizen reports that taxi commuters in Tshwane have been warned to find alternative means of transportation on Wednesday, with the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) expected to forge ahead with its planned protest against government. The NTA will march to the Ministry of Transport and the Presidency to present memoranda of grievances relating to issues affecting the taxi industry.

The grievances raised by the taxi industry include provisions of the National Land Transport Act, matters related to operations, the Integrated Public Transport Network or the BRT system, compensation for an operator surrendering an operating license, the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme, and the public transport subsidy.  Meanwhile, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has urged parents to take precautions and put their children’s safety first on Wednesday.  The national strike will be happening during the examination period and the department has asked all school principals to give inner grades pupils who might not make it to school on Wednesday another opportunity to write any assessment that might be missed.

Ref: ANA

Miner dies in rockfall at Anglo American Platinum operation in Rustenburg

ANA reports that Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) on Monday reported a death at one of its mines in Rustenburg in the North West province. A statement from the company said an employee died in a rockfall at the Union Mine, Spud Shaft, on 31 October.

Amplats CE Chris Griffith extended condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased miner and went on to say:  “We are deeply saddened by the number of fatalities at our operations in recent months.  It is completely unacceptable and we are closely examining the cause of these incidents and any underlying issues that may have been contributing factors.”  The company has instituted an internal investigation into the incident.

Concern over high fatality rate thus far this year at SA mines

The Citizen reports that according to the Chamber of Mines of SA (COM), at least 76 mineworkers have been killed and 2,156 miners sustained serious injuries since the beginning of this year. The death toll and injuries include two miners who were killed and six who sustained injuries as a result of a rockfall at AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng Mine last Thursday.  According to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), the industry recorded 73 fatalities and 2,846 serious injuries in 2016, as compared to 77 fatalities and 3,139 serious injuries in 2015.

COM spokesperson Charmane Russell said:  “We are extremely disappointed that we have seen a regression in the consistent improvements we have seen over the past decade.”  NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu commented:  “We are worried about the fatalities of mineworkers, because they do not seem to stop.  We are concerned that more than 70 mineworkers have died since the beginning of the year.”  A DMR spokesperson said the department was deeply worried about the unacceptably high fatalities.

by Vicky Abraham

Lonmin says sexual harassment of women “common and pervasive”

Miningmx reports that a pilot study commissioned last year by platinum producer Lonmin acknowledged that sexual harassment of female employees at the company’s facilities, near Rustenburg, was “common and pervasive”. The report was delivered to Lonmin in March and the company has subsequently set out an action plan that it hopes will respond to the issues.  Lonmin shared the details of the study into the treatment of female employees at its facilities with Miningmx following an enquiry about it.  Sexual harassment was reported to have occurred in the cages that transport employees to mining areas, as well as during transit, and in ablution facilities.

Individual women who were working on their own had also reported instances of harassment.  Lonmin also acknowledged that “sexual harassment and violence against women and children in the community” was a problem.  Lonmin’s action plan identifies a timeline for remediation as well as individuals who will be responsible for various responses.  In some cases, there had been advances.  Other goals had not yet been attempted such as an initiative to provide work-appropriate overalls for women.  A policy and procedure review will be conducted in March 2018.

by David McKay

Manufacturing sector to unveil plan to create one million jobs over 10 years

eNCA reports that the manufacturing sector says it remains a job-creating engine in the economy, with the Manufacturing Circle to launch its Map to a Million plan soon, which will outline a plan to create one-million direct jobs over a 10-year period. During his recent medium-term budget speech, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said manufacturing was vital, as it formed the basis of a modern economy.  The latest monthly purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in slightly better than expected, but it still showed that the manufacturing sector was contracting and provided little incentive for growth.

Unemployment figures from Stats SA showed that manufacturing shed 50,000 jobs in the third quarter.  Insiders say the sector has the ability to ensure long-term, sustainable growth that will reindustrialise the economy.  However structural barriers must be removed.  “We don’t have adequate aggregate domestic demand in SA.  This can be augmented we think by import substitution.  We import too many products,” said Andre De Ruyter Manufacturing Circle Chairman.