City of Cape Town working on refunds for MyCiTi commuters after Khayelitsha/Mitchells Plain route suspended

News24 reports that the City of Cape Town is working on plans to refund MyCiTi commuters left stranded after the expiry of its contract with the joint venture companies that provide the N2 Express route service, its transport MMC said on Tuesday. The service provides transport for mainly Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain residents into the city and back. In the meantime, the department was still working on the “complexities” of the lapsed contract with the companies that provided the service for the city. 

The City announced the abrupt suspension on Saturday, after the contract expired on Friday night. This left commuters who had already loaded their cards for the cashless system scrambling to find, and pay for, alternative transport on beleagured Metrorail trains, or stand in lengthy minibus taxi queues.

by Jenni Evans

Medscheme workers end strike

GroundUp writes that members of the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) met with Medscheme employers in Johannesburg on the weekend to negotiate an agreement. Workers were informed of the final decision Monday morning. After two days on strike, Medscheme workers have accepted a budget of R19 million to fund their performance bonuses. Workers were set to resume work yesterday.

“It is not what [the workers] wanted, but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Casper Nanto, head of organising at NEHAWU.Workers were demanding a performance bonus of R10,000 each. They had refused Medscheme’s previous proposal of a R14.7 million budget to be distributed among the 4,000 employees, as it would only guarantee about R3,700 per worker. A distribution formula will be finalised by the end of July, and the date of payment is set at 31 October, according to Patrick Sota, head of industrial relations at Medscheme. Now with the R19 million fund agreed upon, workers are still far from reaching their original demand, but Nanto said “they understand that negotiations are a give and take”.

by Kristine Liao

Standard Bank to close branches

eNCA writes that Standard Bank said it will close 100 branches. Earlier this year, the bank announced the closure of 91 branches. It said around 1,200 jobs could be lost as a result. Standard Bank SA will also implement an exit package to assist affected employees.

Fuel price to increase

eNCA reports that motorists can brace themselves for another petrol increase. They will pay nine cents more for both grades of petrol. Diesel will cost you 33 cents per litre. Illuminating paraffin will be increasing by 8 cents per litre. The Department  of Energy says higher oil price during the period as well as an an inclusion of a carbon tax levy were behind the hike.​

KSD TVET College students protest

SABC News reports that the students of King Sabatha Dalindyebo (KSD) TVET College have embarked on a protest at Umsobomvu Campus near Mthatha. The students are complaining about the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) claiming it has not paid all their outstanding fees and accusing some lecturers of drinking alcohol during working hours.

The management of the institution says they have approached the court regarding the protest but are open to negotiations. The deputy principal of King Sabatha Dalindyebo TVET College, Thembelihle Ntlangano, says that students have now rejected some of the College’s lecturers.

GAUTENG EDUCATION DEPT SEEKS TO AMEND LAW ALLOWING OFFENDERS TO STAY IN SCHOOL

EWN reports that Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said that the department would work on amending the law to ensure that young offenders were not allowed at schools. The move comes after three boys were stabbed, one fatally, at Forest High on Monday. One pupil died and two are in a stable condition in hospital. It’s believed that there was a fight between two rival groups at the school. Lesufi said that the current legislation allowed for a pupil to be removed from a school where he committed an offence and then placed at another.

He said that recycling law-breakers at schools would not fix the problem. “We’re now in the process of reviewing the South African Schools Act and our argument is very simple and very strong; these learners must go to rehabilitation first. It’s only when they have performed and a report indicates they’re in a good state of mind; it’s then that we can take them back.” He visited the school on Monday in the south of Joburg after a grade 8 pupil was stabbed to death just outside the school premises. Midyear exams have been suspended to allow everyone to undergo counselling.

by Robinson Nqola

Gauteng COGTA testifies at Alex Inquiry

SABC News reports that the inquiry into the soci-economic conditions in Alexandra has reconvened in Johannesburg. On Monday, the inquiry heard testimony from the Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. The Human rights Commission and the Public Protector set up the inquiry earlier in 2019 following violent protests in Alexandra township over service delivery backlogs and the mushrooming of shacks. Two Chapter 9 institutions have been probing what’s hampering service delivery in Alexandra. Thandeka Mbassa from Gauteng COGTA, says they need to revitalise the social compact government.

“We really have to go back to the basics. It’s not only COGTA, but all departments and go back to the basics of right from the beginning, right from the start of development; what model should we utilise to get the communities to be the partner? We need to revitalise the social compact that government used to have with communities. What is happening currently; each department has its own budget and they are chasing their own IPPs and there is little time to deal with soft issues.”Ward committee decisions also came under scrutiny. Mbassa claims they don’t serve communities and that some business forums held communities to ransom. “Ward communities do sit and are functional, but in most cases though. What is on the agenda and the kind of decisions taken may not necessarily be able to assist communities to resolve service delivery issues. Lately there has been a problem of business forums that are quiet problematic, that have the power to hold development at ransom for personal interests.” Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba visited Alexandra where violent protests have again flared up. He was there to quell tensions following the demolition of 80 illegal shacks in the area on Friday.

Rock burst claims female employee’s life at South Deep

Mining Weekly reports that a 38-year-old female trackless crew leader was killed after being struck by a rock ejected from the face of Gold Fields’ South Deep mine, on Sunday, following a series of four seismic events in quick succession. The gold miner reported that three of the seismic events were been 1.4 and 1.9 in magnitude.

The deceased employee had received immediate attention on the scene by paramedics, but succumbed to her injuries soon after the rock burst. Three other team members sustained minor injuries and have been discharged from hospital. The affected area – a corridor at a depth of 2 700 m – will remain closed until it is deemed safe. The Department of Mineral Resources was due to conduct an in-loco inspection on Monday.

by Marleny Arnoldi

Gender Equality Commission summons SAPS management

SABC News reports that the Commission for Gender Equality has summoned the South African Police Service (SAPS) management to appear before it on Thursday morning over the police’s handling of gender-based related cases. The commission is concerned by what it terms lengthy delays by police to investigate such cases including sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

It says the SAPS is unresponsive and takes too long to furnish it with information needed to finalise its own investigations. The commission says it was forced to serve the SAPS with a notice to appear before it despite agreements reached with the police during its previous engagements.

by Ditaba Tsotetsi

Five gold mining groups ask court to approve R5 billion silicosis settlement

GroundUp reports that lawyers for thousands of gold miners afflicted by silicosis or tuberculosis lined up beside five mining groups this week to ask the Gauteng High Court to approve a R5 billion settlement agreement.  The agreement provides for the payment of benefits worth R5 billion to mineworkers and the dependents of dead mineworkers who contracted silicosis or pulmonary tuberculosis during or after their employment from 1965.  The benefits will be paid through the Tshiamiso Trust, which was set up specifically for this purpose.  The settlement agreement is regarded as one of the most complex multi-party class action settlements ever concluded.  

Though the five mining companies (Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwater) and the mineworkers have reached agreement on the benefits to be paid, the court will have to assess whether absent mineworkers are adequately protected by the agreement.  It is still unknown how many mineworkers or their dependents are entitled to claim, as many of them are scattered across the sub-continent.  The mining companies have secured guarantees for the R5 billion claim, though the eventual claim could be higher.  Of this, R845 million has been set aside for administering the Tshiamiso Trust, which will accept claims for a period of 12 years, plus one additional year to wrap things up.  Some mining companies elected not to participate in the settlement, including DRD Gold, Randgold, Evander Gold and African Rainbow Minerals.

by Ciaran Ryan
Ref: SA Labour News