North West NUM miners threaten shutdown

SABC News reports members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at Moab Khotsong operations of Harmony Gold in Orkney, near Klerksdorp, North West, are threatening to down tools, if mine management does not heed to workers’ demands for better wages and better working conditions. During their march to mine premises, workers accused management of failing to prioritise their interests at the current wage negotiations. Mineworkers are calling for transformation in their interest, saying that the time has come for the mine to put profits aside and invest in safety and security of workers.

“We want a better life. We have no hospital here. Our wages are also never regular,” says one miner. Another miner says: “Since Harmony took over, zama zamas came along and we get raped. A lady was raped by 15 men. We don’t even have transport to come to work because of harmony.” Workers have threatened to down tools if the mine’s response is not favourable to them.  Harmony has been given seven working days to respond to the demands of the workers.

by Itumeleng Kgajane

Bara workers want CEO to step down

SABC News reports that employees at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto have embarked on early morning and lunch hour protests since Monday. They’re calling on the hospital CEO to step down over allegations of corruption, maladministration and nepotism. Those involved include members affiliated to National Health Education & Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), Health & Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) and the Public Servants Association (PSA).

“We want to send a message to the department and say, you cannot investigate a person who is within the institution. The last time we engaged the department they said to us they cannot deal with the CEO anyhow. There’s a senior management handbook and they have to observe those processes. We agree but he cannot report on duty while you are conducting the investigation,” says spokesperson, Yandiswa Zongula.

Union slams management for stabbing of prison warder

SABC News writes that Police and prisons civil rights union Popcru blames management of correctional centres for the stabbing of an official by a maximum security inmate in Johannesburg on Monday. The incident allegedly took place while the warder was single-handedly transporting the inmate from the correctional centre to court.

While the department of correctional services says it has launched an internal investigation into the matter, Popcru says officials should refuse to escort inmates to the courts or hospitals if the ratio is not two to one excluding the driver. Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo says the situation was predictable. However, spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Correctional Services Singabakho Khumalo says investigations are under way.

Sadtu rejects proposal to allow alcohol sale in school premises

SABC News reports that final public hearings regarding the The Western Cape Provincial School Education Amendment Bill that proposes the sale and consumption of liquor at schools, under certain conditions, were held in Cape Town on Tuesday  night. The largest teachers union, SADTU says it has several concerns regarding proposed amendments and has highlighted the proposal regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol on school premises or at school functions. The amendment bill also prescribes that pupils found guilty of serious misconduct may be sent to intervention facilities.

SADTU’s Jonovan Rustin says the sale and consumption of alcohol is just one of the proposals the union is rejecting.  “It legalised collaboration schools which is contravention of South African Schools Act because it now gives either donors or partners the right to have more than 50% on the governing body. We also have a problem with the sale of alcohol on schools saying that as teachers we are trying ensure and the sale of alcohol on schools work against with what we are trying to do with in the schools.” SADTU and the regional SACP marched ahead of the final hearings last night. Meanwhile, the Western Cape Education Department says it will fully consider the inputs and comments received from the public. A total of six public hearings have taken place since June this year. The public has until the 24th of August to submit written submissions regarding the bill.

by Carmel Loggenberg-Roberts

Deregulating fuel price would lead to massive job losses, says energy official

Timeslive reports that Department of Energy deputy director-general Tseliso Maqubela told MPs on Tuesday that deregulation of the fuel price would lead to 50‚000 job losses and would not necessarily result in lower prices.  MPs were being briefed on how the fuel price was set and what could be done to lower it.  The fuel price is regulated by the Department of Energy and adjusted monthly according to market conditions‚ including the price of crude oil and the rand-dollar exchange rate.

Apart from the price of crude oil‚ the determination also includes margins for wholesalers‚ retailers and for storage and distribution; the fuel levy; and various other levies and duties.  The retail margin‚ which is mostly used to pay wages of petrol pump assistants‚ is at present 187 cents of the total R16 a litre price.  “If you deregulate‚ owners could opt for self-service and we would lose those 50‚000 jobs overnight.  From where we stand‚ we don’t think that is a sustainable position.  There is also no guarantee that the price would come down‚” Maqubela said.

by Carol Paton

NUM declares a dispute with the Minerals Council

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has today declared a wage dispute with the Minerals Council of South Africa. The dispute comes amid the gold producers having further insulted mineworkers by tabling offers ranging from R675 for category 4 to 8 (surface and underground workers) and 5% for artisans, miners, and officials. The NUM is extremely disappointed and angered that Sibanye Stillwater is the one that is offering the lowest in terms of wages.

The company is offering wage increases ranging from R500 for category 4 to 8 (surface and underground workers) and 4% for artisans, miners, and officials. The NUM’s demands are R9450 for surface workers, R10450 for underground workers and 14.5% for miners artisans and officials. The dispute will be referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for facilitation and is one step away from a legal, protected strike action.

Protest brings Matatiele to a standstill

Roads and Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana is expected to address the protesters on Tuesday. All businesses are closed and there are no taxis or buses transporting commuters in and out of town. Just a few kilometres from Matatiele to Cedarville, a group of taxi operators are standing in the middle of the road stopping vehicles carrying passengers towards Kokstad. Police came in numbers to monitor the situation.

by Fundiswa Mhlekude

Members of the NCOP to vote

The National Council of Provinces is scheduled to debate and vote on the National Minimum Wage, Basic Conditions of Employment, Labour Relations and Labour Laws Amendment Bills at 2pm tomorrow21 August 2018.  COSATU urges the Members of the NCOP to vote in support of these progressive bills.  Their passage will be an historic victory for millions of workers.

NEHAWU and SASCO to meet minister Pandor on NSFAS issues

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] and the South African Students Congress [SASCO] will meet the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Minister Naledi Pandor, on issues related to the National Students Financial Aid Scheme [NSFAS] in Cape Town this morning. Last week Tuesday [14th August 2018] a letter was written to the Minister to demand answers on the following issues:

  • On what basis did the Minister change her mind from a concurred view with us that NSFAS was on the stage of collapse?
  • What happened to the demand of both NEHAWU and SASCO on the immediate dissolution of the board?
  • As we are hearing her intention to appoint a new administrator to oversee the scheme, we would like to know the terms of reference before such an appointment is made. Unfortunately, the minister went ahead to appoint the administrator without replying to our questions.
  • We would like to establish whether the Minister is prepared to institute an inquiry into alleged appointment of friends and relatives by the Mr Zwane.

Today’s meeting is convened by the Minister to supposedly respond to the above questions. The public and the media will be briefed accordingly on the outcomes of the meeting and our planned course of action thereafter.

Treasury proposes a five-year extension of youth employment tax incentive

BusinessLive reports that the government has proposed a five-year extension of the employment tax incentive to promote employment, particularly of young workers. The proposal is contained in the draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, as released by Treasury for public comment.

The incentive, which was introduced in January 2014 and was extended for a further two years until February 2019, works as a deduction from PAYE of part of the salary of a worker aged below 30 and earning less than R6,000.  Treasury acting chief director of economic tax analysis Chris Axelson said the proposed extension was based on a review that indicated the tax had “modest” positive effects on growth rates of youth employment in claiming firms.

by Linda Ensor