Kraaipan community cry out for inclusion in surrounding mines

SABC News reports that Kal-Gold mine, a subsdiary of Harmony Gold, is expected to engage with the community of Kraaipan to defuse the ongoing dispute over the employment of locals in the Ratlou Municipality. The community of Kraaipan Madibogo, Mareetsane and Ga Khunwana burned trees and used rocks to block the N18 linking Vryburg and Mahikeng since the early hours of Monday.

They accuse Kal- Gold of failing completely, over a long time, to create benefits from the community upon which they operate. Community forum spokesperson, Pogisho Dipheko says they will not back down until they get a response in writing that their demand will be met. Meanwhile, the mining operations has also come to a halt after a group of miners who went for a night shift on Sunday still cannot exit the mine. The mine management was not available for comment as it was reported to be en route to Kraaipan.

by Mpho Lepedi

Patients plan to sue Pietermaritzburg private hospital over bogus doctor

Sunday Tribune reports that patients treated by an unregistered doctor at the Daymed Private Hospital in Pietermaritzburg plan to sue the facility. Four patients who were treated by Cuban national Juan Luis Yings Elutil, known as Dr Omar, said last week that they were horrified.  Elutil, who was caught after an investigation by medical aid firm Discovery Health, was arrested by police two weeks ago and charged with fraud by the Health Professionals Council of SA (HPCSA) for practising while unregistered for 14 years.

The hospital is owned by Dr Navind Dayanand, who last week denied knowing Elutil was unregistered.  Last week, the Mountain Rise police station sent out a statement stating that the case against Elutil had provisionally been withdrawn in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court, but this was died by the National Prosecuting Authority.

by Nabeelah Shaikh

North West municipalities face financial woes

SABC News reports that many municipalities in the North West are facing financial difficulties. This is against seemingly unsuccessful intervention efforts by the provincial government. Some municipalities, such as Ditsobotla and Lekwa – Teemane local municipalities ended up unlawfully using employees’ statutory deductions, such as medical aid and pension deductions, to pay off, their debts.

The practice, which left many employees without benefits, has been condemned by the North West Legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa). Faced with financial challenges, Ditsobotla local municipality, dipped its fingers in the employees’ statutory deductions, estimated at R4million. The municipality’s illegal deductions have caused hardships for many of its workers. The South African Local Government Association (Salga) blames such challenges, on lack of capacity, within municipalities. Scopa has summoned the Ditsobotla and Lekwa Teemane local municipalities, to appear before its committee, to account.

by Olebogeng Kgosilentswe

TB still leading cause of death: StatsSA

eNCA reports that tuberculosis killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, remaining the leading cause of death for many South Africans in the past three years, Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) revealed on Tuesday. According to the report “Mortality and causes of death in South Africa 2015: Findings from death notification”, tuberculosis (TB) accounted for 7.2 percent of all deaths last year and had averaged at least at seven percent each year in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Diabetes mellitus accounted for 5.4 percent of all deaths. Overall, there were more male deaths than female deaths in 2015, from infancy until age 65–69, after which there were more female than male deaths. Over half, or 55.5 percent, of deaths, were attributed to non-communicable diseases. Communicable diseases accounted for 33.4 percent of deaths, while injuries were responsible for 11.1 percent of deaths, the trend since 2009. StatsSA said that, as could be expected, deaths due to non-natural causes were highest among the youth, with young males being the biggest casualties.

Ref: ANA

Treasury report shows that technical college system is broken

BusinessLive reports that a newly published report by the Treasury shows that technical and vocational colleges are deeply dysfunctional. Only 2% of students completing courses within the minimum time and only 10% completing the three-year course in six years.  The technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system caters for students who opt for a technical education instead of matric and offers tertiary qualifications for matriculants with a diploma pass.

The Department of Higher Education has poured an increasing share of its budget into the colleges rather than the universities in an attempt to place the college system at the heart of post-school training.  But the report shows that much of this has been wasted as few students complete their courses.

by Carol Paton

Self-service raises job-loss fears

Fin24 reports that the introduction of six self-service checkout counters at a Pick n Pay branch in Observatory, Cape Town, has raised fears of a future nationwide roll-out of the kiosks and thousands of cashiers potentially becoming redundant. Pick n Pay is adamant that no jobs will be lost, but staff interviewed at the Observatory store say their employers’ assurances have not allayed their fears. “We are worried,” said a staff member who was helping shoppers negotiate the self-service counters. Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the trade union federation did not trust Pick n Pay’s promises. “In fact, we are suspicious,” said Pamla.

“We believe it wants to get rid of its workers. We don’t think it’s helpful in an economy that has collapsed – technically, we are in a recession – to be introducing mechanisms that threaten workers.” Cosatu was planning to meet with their affiliate in the retail sector, the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (Saccawu) during the course of the week before pursuing the matter “publicly and privately with Pick n Pay”. SACCAWU could not be reached for comment. In a statement attributed to strategy and corporate affairs group executive David North, emailed through their public relations company, Pick n Pay stated that staff were needed to monitor the self-service checkouts and there was “no impact on employment”. A source at the store did say the branch had “just employed nine more cashiers” despite introducing the self-service checkouts.

by Steve Kretzman

Education, Health departments to curb teen pregnancy

SABC News reports that The departments of Education and Health have joined forces to fight the rising number of pregnant underage girls in schools. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says they have put programmes in place to teach young girls about reproductive health. Her remarks come after a recent report, which revealed that over three thousand underage girls are pregnant in the Ratlou municipality in North West.

Motshekga says, “What we should do is work with them, educate them on reproductive health so that we stop teenage pregnancy… We see from our statistics we are able to retain more girl learners. Girls who have fell pregnant and were allowed to come to school don’t have multiple births.”

Defamation case by ex City Press reporters set for court

The Star reports that the long-delayed racism case brought by City Press reporters against their then boss Ferial Haffajee is due in court next week.  The four former reporters brought the case against then editor Haffajee in January 2014, accusing her of defaming them by calling them racists. They all worked at the newspaper at the time, but have all since left.  The four have claimed R3 million each from Haffajee and Media24, which owns City Press.

Although Haffajee left City Press recently, but is still the defendant in the case.  The matter is now set down for a hearing in the Johannesburg High Court on 18 August.  The dispute goes back to October 2013.  The four claim that at a City Press meeting Haffajee called them racists and “culturally superior”, and also accused them of “causing divisiveness”.  They say she subsequently put up a notice saying, “No racists allowed”, which was apparently aimed at them.  Haffajee denies defamation.  In court papers she says that she apologised to the four on three occasions for “having individualised her criticism” of them.

Harmony Gold reports fatality at Joel mine

ANA reports that Harmony Gold on Tuesday announced that a worker had died after what was believed to be a material handling accident at the gold producer’s Joel mine in the Free State. “Harmony regrets to advise that a colleague succumbed to his injuries in hospital on Monday afternoon, following a material handling accident on Friday morning at Joel mine in the Free State province,” the group said in a statement.

Harmony has been plagued by fatalities of late.  One mine worker was fatally injured last month in an underground rail-related incident at Phakisa mine, near Welkom.  Another mine worker died after a fall of ground at Harmony’s Kusasalethu mine, near Carletonville in April.  A gold miner was killed in an accident at Harmony’s Target mine in December in Welkom following a fall of ground accident.

Based on a report at The Citizen

Nehawu demands in Parliament

BDLive reports that the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has upped the stakes in its members’ impasse with the Secretary of Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana by resolving to call on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate him.

Office bearers told media during a briefing in Cape Town on Monday that Mgidlana had not taken the union’s demands in Parliament seriously, and that he left them no choice but to make Parliament ungovernable. Provincial secretary Eric Kweleta said that following a breakdown in consultation, the union would begin planning rolling mass action, which would include daily marches to Parliament.  The union started lunch time pickets last week.  Nehawu and the management of Parliament have been at loggerheads over Parliament’s failure to implement an agreement signed in December, following a strike.

by Khulekani Magubane