This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 5 2013
Miner fears strike won’t succeed, could end in job loss
Negotiated settlement preferred, says worker
● Engineers and technicians affiliated to the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) continue to picket. ● Satawu has rejected the 6.5% SAA offered. Solidarity and the Aviation Union of SA accepted the deal. ● Negotiations continue with Satawu representatives and SAA management. MOTOR INDUSTRY ● The KwaZulu-Natal National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has called off its march in Durban today. ● The strike is now in its third week. ● Employers have offered a 10% increase, which the union has rejected.
IKE any mineworker, Thabo joined thousands of striking National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members hoping for a better wage increase. But the father-of-two isn’t convinced the amount demanded by the union will be offered by the employer. Thabo (not his real name) said the employers had in the past failed to meet their demands, fearing they would simply strike again the next time around. “We want a double-digit increase, but we are not sure if we’ll get it. The employers have always refused to give in to us and nothing can stop them from doing (this) again,” he said. Thabo is an underground miner who earns R5 500 and also receives a living-out allowance of R1 640 a month. His monthly deductions are just under R1 000. Aside from his wife and two children, Thabo also looks after his sister and her children, who live in a backyard room of his municipal house on the West Rand. Thabo said his wage was not enough to support his family and to travel daily to work. He is one of almost 90 000 NUM members in the gold sector who downed tools on Tuesday night. Even though he failed to arrive for work yesterday, Thabo said he felt that the wage dispute should have been resolved through a negotiated settlement.
FORCEFUL: The National Union of Mineworkers held a protest in the Cape Town CBD yesterday, targeting construction sites. Approaching several sites, they started protesting and insisted that work stop immediately pending a rise in general wages. PICTURE: WILLEM LAW
“Some of us want to work, but we fear for our lives. We are not sure if our demands will be met,” he said. He said he feared being dismissed while striking. “We are currently on a warning after a dismissal last year during the national strike. It was because of the strikes that we ended up being dismissed and then later asked to sign a warning form,” he said. “What if they kill me for coming to work? The strike is a waste of time at the end of the day . It’s a no-work, no-pay situation. “At the end of the day , I have a family to feed and they expect me to deliver.” The man said even though they had qualifications, they were not being taken seriously in the industry . “We are being exposed to
Workers unfairly targeted
THE VIOLENCE against ordinary workers – allegedly by striking civil engineering contractors – has been slammed as “deplorable”. In numerous places across greater Cape Town yesterday, workers were intimidated, prevented from leaving their suburbs for work and, in some cases, violently assaulted. Michael Bagraim, chairman of the human capital portfolio committee at the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, reported that many of these victims had “nothing whatsoever” to do with the civil engineering or construction industries, and were still being targeted. “This is deplorable, and must be a first. People are being accused of being scab labour when they have nothing whatsoever to do
GOLD MINERS’ STRIKE ● Two gold producers have reached a settlement with the National Union of Mineworkers and the United Association of South Africa. ● The Evander and Tau Lekoa mines reached a settlement where the basic wage of lower-paid employees will increase by 8%. ● Higher-paid employees will get a 7.5% increase. CONSTRUCTION STRIKE ● The National Union of Mineworkers continues its strike in the construction sector, demanding a 13% wage increase for this year and 14% for 2014. ● This after the Building, Construction and Allied Workers Union accepted a wage offer of a 10% increase for lower-paid jobs and an 8% increase for higher grades.
Ordinary people are prevented from earning a living
with this strike or this industry.” Asked about the impact of the strike on business, Bagraim said companies were losing money in lost working hours, and these delays came on top of delays from the recent severe winter weather. But despite low turnouts by workers in some cases, construction was continuing on many sites. Various sources told The Star’s sister paper, the Cape Argus, there
EASY DOES IT: Miners from Sibanye gold mine in Carletonville took a more leisurely view to striking. PICTURE: BOXER NGWENYA
dangerous situations in the mines. Our lives are not safe at all,” Thabo said. He also claimed that some of the miners were forced to take part in the strike. Thabo said people were attacked yesterday morning while going to work, but the NUM had denied it. NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka claimed the strike was peaceful.
See Business Report
were simply too many civil engineering construction sites for the strikers to man. “The real cost is to the ordinary people who are prevented from earning a living,” Bagraim said. The strike involved two unions, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Building Construction and Allied Workers Union (Bcawu). Bcawu struck a deal with the SA Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) on Monday, which will remain operational until August 31, 2016. “In addition, severance benefits for the industry were also improved,” Safcec reported. This suggested the ongoing violence has been linked to the ongoing strike by NUM members, sources said. – Staff Reporter
Child shocked with taser and punched
THE chief executive of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (Jics), Adam Carelse, has been placed on special leave amid allegations of misconduct, possibly including sexual harassment. Jics is a legal oversight body that monitors and reports on prisons and inmates’ rights throughout the country . On Monday , two high-level officials of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) visited the Cape Town head office of the inspectorate for a meeting with Carelse. They then called all staff to the boardroom and told them that Carelse was being placed on special leave following allegations of misconduct by staff members. No further information was provided. Jics director Mike Masondo has since been appointed acting chief executive. The simmering conflict first came to light when the parliamentary portfolio committee for correctional services visited Jics’s offices in April. Several staff members shared their concerns with the MPs. Committee chairman Vincent Smith said: “We heard very serious allegations, ranging from sexual harassment to employment conditions. We advised the employees to speak to their superiors and to submit letters of complaint to the relevant authorities.” The employees asked for a private meeting with the
A THREE-year-old was slapped, punched and hit with a wooden plank before being shocked with a taser – allegedly by his mother, stepfather and uncle. The abuse is alleged to have taken place over a six-month period and at least three of the incidents were allegedly recorded by a relative. Yesterday, his 19-year-old mother, her 18-year-old brother and her 27-year-old boyfriend – none of them can be named as that would possibly identify the child – appeared briefly in the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate’s Court on a charge of assault. The boy’s mother and her brother were released on bail, while the boyfriend remains in custody . As the mother stood in court, she kept clenching and unclenching her hands. On her
left was her tall brother with his spiky hair fashioned into a mohawk. Next to him was her boyfriend with long jet-black hair, a black leather jacket and dirty blue jeans. The lovers hardly glanced at or greeted each other. According to sources close to the investigation, three recordings of the assaults were made and form part of the police investigation. In each of the recordings, the boy is said to be crying helplessly while the three seem unfazed by his pain. The child has been taken to a place of safety , while his 16month-old sister is in the care of a guardian who has taken care of the toddler since she was two months old, allegedly because her mother could not afford to do so. The matter was postponed to September 11, when the boyfriend is expected to apply for bail.
Head of prisons’ legal oversight body under a cloud
portfolio committee members. This took place on May 8. The portfolio committee then sent a letter detailing the allegations to Vuka Tshabalala, the inspecting judge for Correctional Services, who heads the inspectorate. Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was also informed of the situation. The inspecting judge then briefed the national commissioner for correctional services, Tom Moyane, as is required by law. Moyane dispatched the two officials, one of whom was Teboho Mokoena, the chief deputy commissioner for human resources at the DCS. “We first had a consultation with Mr Carelse. He was shocked, but he took the matter (seriously), and he understood and respected the request from the national commissioner that he (Carelse) take special leave until the investigation into the allegations has been finalised.” Mokoena said a person would be appointed to carry out the investigation, but it is not clear if that will be someone from within the DCS or an external person. “It is critical we get to the bottom of this. At the moment we are unable to confirm the allegations related to sexual harassment. Mr Carelse, therefore, remains innocent until we finalise this investigation.” The Public Protector has given the DCS 60 days to respond to the allegations. The prison oversight body and the department it is supposed to monitor have been embroiled in a dispute about their mandate for several months. At the heart of the matter is the independence, or lack thereof, of the inspectorate. Jics is entirely financed by Correctional Services and falls under the DCS’s human resources and disciplinary procedures. But the entity is also supposed to monitor and report
ORDEAL: A relative helps the mother of a three-year-old abused boy outside court yesterday. PICTURE: ITUMELENG ENGLISH
The mother left court weeping and sat on a bench in the court passage, where she buried her face in her hands and wailed. A relative whisked her away . The child’s grandmother, who was also in the court, said the stress of what happened was too much for her and that she nearly had a heart attack.
Only the poor to get free water in future Page 11
on any wrongdoings at DCS prisons. The Detention Justice Forum, a collective of NGOs working in the field of criminal justice, referred to this uneasy power relationship in a media release it issued following the news of Carelse’s special leave. “Jics is a crucial part of the DCS accountability system and was established… as an institution that is meant to be operated separately and independently from DCS.” Calls to amend the legislation in this field have mostly gone unheard. On May 22, Judge Tshabalala and Carelse complained before the portfolio committee on correctional services that the DCS had blatantly ignored Jics’s reports about prison riots, deaths and torture in prisons. Mention was also made of severe accommodation and funding problems for Jics. The Durban office, for example, does not even have a fax or network printer, while the DCS has underspent R894 million in the 2011/2012 financial year. “There are no links between this healthy discussion and the allegations of misconduct against Mr Carelse. If you want to address Jics’s independence, then the law has to be amended first. As it stands, we have correctly followed the disciplinary procedure set out in the Correctional Services Act,” Mokoena said. ● Ruth Hopkins is a journalist for the Wits Justice Project
WATCH AND WIN!
Simply watch every Saturday night at 9 PM on SABC 2
Stand a chance to win a brand new
WHO WILL REIGN SUPREME AND WIN THE
*Terms & Conditions apply
SMS charged at R1.50. T&C’s apply.
12 Contestants 1 Winner. Powered by MTN Business.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.