Taxi drivers talk health

On Monday, the departments of health and transport signed a pledge with the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) to encourage taxi drivers to prioritise their own health and that of their passengers. This formed part of the launch of the PHILA Taxi Industry Campaign, a first-ever health promotion campaign, targeted at the taxi industry to strengthen and intensify delivery of health and wellness services in the industry.  Addressing scores of taxi drivers at Bosman taxi rank in Tshwane, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi called on taxi drivers to change unhealthy lifestyles and prioritise their health.

He called on citizens to think twice about compromising their health and encouraged taxi drivers to regularly go for check-ups and get tested.  The Minister added that government was looking into bringing clinics closer to taxi ranks to enable drivers to get services.  His colleague, Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi, also emphasised the importance of taking health seriously.  The launch also served as an official collaboration between the PHILA campaign and Santaco’s Operation Hlokomela in an effort to promote and contribute towards responsible behaviour as part of the 2017 World AIDS Day focus.

Ref: SA Govt News Agency

R76m pay to stay at home

The Star reports that the trend of the Gauteng government paying suspended employees to stay at home doing nothing is getting worse, with nearly R76 million of taxpayers’ money blown in the past seven years. The Public Service Commission (PSC) – a government watchdog established in terms of the constitution – has slammed Premier David Makhura’s administration for failing to ensure efficient and effective use of resources on good human resource management and career development practices.

“Gauteng departments have paid a total of R75.7m on salaries of officials placed on precautionary suspension,” reads the PSC’s State of the Public Service in Gauteng 2017 report. The report also revealed that 607 cases of financial misconduct amounting to over R1.26billion were reported in Gauteng government departments. According to the PSC, Gauteng government departments are not complying with the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council’s resolution on disciplinary codes and procedures for the public service. The code states that disciplinary hearings must be completed within a short period of time. The PSC also found that Gauteng government departments rarely lay criminal charges against officials guilty of financial misconduct.

by Loyiso Sidimba

No disciplinary action after municipal boss convicted of fraud

DispatchLive reports that seven months after being convicted on three counts of fraud, Senqu local municipality municipal manager Mxolisi Yawa is still serving in his position. Yawa, was convicted along with his personal assistant Octavia Bambilawu, 28, her mother and business partner Elza, 60, and former CFO Chris Venter, 53. The four will be sentenced on February 6 in the Komani Magistrate’s Court.

Municipal spokesman Pheello Oliphant said Yawa had been acquitted on the other charges brought against him. He explained that while Yawa had been placed on special leave after his conviction, after seeking legal advice council had decided to rescind this decision. This is despite Section 57(a)(3) of the Municipal Systems Act which states that “where the alleged transgressor is found guilty of financial misconduct after the disciplinary proceedings, he or she may not be re-employed in any municipality for a period of 10 years”.

By Zolile Menzelwa

 

Steve Biko Hospital ends security contract

News24 reports that the Gauteng Department of Health has terminated the contract of a private security company “with immediate effect” after its employees staged a protest at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital on Monday. The department said the termination of the contract was dictated by the unprotected strike over an alleged salary dispute and the security guards’ “unbecoming behaviour”.

The group of guards used stones and rubble to block the entrance to the hospital in Pretoria and vandalised signage and vegetation.  The blockade lasted around an hour before it was cleared by police.  The guards claimed that they had not been paid by their employer.  Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa said in a statement she was pleased that the hospital’s management had acted swiftly to manage the situation.  “The new security company has been brought on board and they have [taken up] their responsibilities,” she indicated.

by Mxolisi Mngadi

Safety concerns lead to shut down of production line at Pelindaba nuclear plant

The Citizen reports that the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) shut down a radio isotope cancer treatment production line at the Pelindaba nuclear plant 10 days ago because of safety concerns. The entire facility was not shut down. Pharmaceutical firm NTP Radioisotopes, operated by the SA Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), is responsible for manufacturing radioisotopes used for cancer treatment and also exports products to other countries.

The company has since suspended three senior executives.  The regulator’s spokesperson Gino Moonsamy said:  “We found that safety procedures were violated.  We were lucky that there was no over exposure to workers.  The site is continually inspected and monitored, and the company also has its own measures in place.”  The production line has not yet re-opened.  The regulator will meet with company representatives this week to monitor progress.

by Eric Naki and Yadhana Jadoo

Police monitor protest action by security guards

EWN reports that a protest was taking place on Monday morning at the entrance of the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, apparently by group of private security guards. It was not immediately apparent what the protest was about, but pictures posted on social media showed the entrance to the hospital being blocked.

Earlier, the protesters barricaded the gate, preventing access to the hospital, but police then dispersed the crowd.  Police spokesperson Kay Makhubele said officers were monitoring the situation and added:  “At the moment, the situation is calm as they are engaging with the management of the hospital, however, we’ll be continuing to monitor the area.”

by Mia Lindeque

Cosatu warns state’s delay in making a wage offer

BusinessLive reports that according to union federation Cosatu, the government’s delay in presenting a wage offer to public servants is a recipe for an unnecessary strike. Claiming that negotiators have no mandate, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) has again failed to present a wage offer to public sector unions, asking this time for a postponement until 7 December. The government was expected to report back to unions last Thursday after having requested a postponement in October.  The government has repeatedly failed to stick to deadlines, even though Finance Minister Gigaba has already publically set out the government’s budgetary plans.

It has been two months since the unions presented a wage demand for a 12% increase for employees on levels four to seven, 11% for those on levels eight to 10, and 10% for those on levels 11 and 12.  Cosatu’s lead negotiator and SA Democratic Teachers’ Union general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said workers were suffering from “deliberate bureaucratic inefficiency”.  He cited the lack of political will by employers and a leadership crisis at the department as two of the reasons that would lead workers onto the streets.  The Public Service Association (PSA) said that it was puzzling that the government still claimed to have no position to present to labour.

by Theto Mahlakoana

Security guards march against the City of Ekurhuleni on Monday

TimesLive reports that security guards gathered in Germiston on Monday morning‚ prior to their march to the offices of the City of Ekurhuleni to demand that they be considered for employment in new contracts to be signed by the metro. About 6‚000 workers belonging to a number of security companies stand to lose their jobs from 1 December‚ after the city terminated contracts with their employers.  The workers want all security workers to have a minimum basic salary of R8‚500 a month.

by Penwell Dlamini

POPCRU to host GBV campaign

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) will be hosting a national campaign against gender based violence under the theme “POPCRU enhancing community relations to end gender based violence” , this as part of the 16 Days of activism that we continue to engage in on a yearly basis. The campaign will be addressed by representatives from the SAPS, ex-Convicts, the LGBTI, the Department of Justice and the Department of Correctional Services.

Date: 29 November 2017
Time: 09h00
Venue: Salvation Church, 34801 Hlanga Crescent,  Makhaza, Khayelitsha, Cape Town

Parliament wants Mineral Resources Department to be part of silicosis class action

HuffPost reports that Parliament’s portfolio committee on mineral resources has called for the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to play a role in the class action lawsuit by 30,000 former mine workers against 82 gold mines. Chairman Sahlulele Luzipo indicated last week:  “It is concerning that political guidance is missing, and this case has been dragging on for four years now.  The reality is that people will eventually complain to parliament when things go wrong.”

He was speaking after a briefing by lawyers representing former mine workers suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis and from TB.  Although the case started in 2012, the high court only granted authorisation to proceed last year (2016).  The matter has since been taken on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.  Certain mining firms on Wednesday made a R5-billion provision to settle the class action lawsuit.  Lawyers acting for the mineworkers said that settlement talks with implicated gold companies over an out-of-court deal could bear fruit by December.