Daily Archives: June 2, 2018

SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT DETERMINED TO IMPLEMENT NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

CAPE TOWN — The South African government reaffirmed its determination to implement the controversial national minimum wage (NMW) which it hailed “as an instrument of economic and social development.”

“It is significant that South Africa will join several countries around the world that have implemented a national minimum wage as an instrument of economic and social development,” the Department of Labor said.

This came after the National Assembly passed the NMW Bill on Tuesday.

The Bill, along with the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and the Labor Relations Amendment Bill, captures the agreements reached by the social partners on measures to strengthen labor stability and collective bargaining and on the modalities for the introduction of the first NMW, department spokesperson Teboho Thejane said.

The NMW Bill seeks to improve the lives of the lowest paid workers at the labor market and carries the promise of addressing the inequality and poverty challenge in South Africa, Thejane said.

The Bill establishes the NMW Commission which will recommend annual adjustments to the level of the NMW and review it on a regular basis in order to take into account the impact of the level on employment, collective bargaining, poverty and inequality.

The government has been pushing the NMW, which is 3,500 rand (about 280 U.S. dollars) per month or 20 rand (about 1.6 dollars) per hour for over six million working people.

The NMW, however, has met with strong opposition.

Trade unions have lambasted the NMW which they label as “slavery wage.” Early this month, massive protests against the NMW took place across the country. Trade unions threaten to stage more protests if the NMW is not raised to a living wage.

Thejane refuted the criticism, saying setting the level was an extremely delicate balancing act due to the fact that social partners had to ensure that the NMW be set at a level that will yield a meaningful impact on the wages of the lowest paid workers, while guarding against any negative impact on employment.

In order to demonstrate flexibility, the Bill includes provisions for businesses that may be unable to afford the NMW to apply for exemption, said Thejane.

The next step in the process will be for the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), the Upper House of Parliament, to consider the Bill, Thejane said.

If the NCOP passes the Bill, it will be submitted to the President for assent at which point the date of implementation of the NMW is likely to be made known, he said.

If the NCOP amends or rejects the Bill, it will be referred back to the National Assembly, Thejane said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SOUTH AFRICA: ATTACK ON SICK, VULNERABLE UNACCEPTABLE – HEALTH MINISTER ON HOSPITAL WORKERS PROTEST

JOHANNESBURG– South Africa’s Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, says the attack on the sick and vulnerable is unacceptable, and called for the arrest of perpetrators.

Every decent human being knows who comes to hospitals. These are sick, very sick, vulnerable members of society. They are not part of these labour issues, Motsoaledi said.

According to some media reports, disruption, violence and disorder was perpetrated by staff members at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, protesting against the non-payment of performance bonuses.

Staff members were demanding payment of bonuses and increases dating back to 2016. The unions will meet hospital management and government officials in an effort to resolve the crisis.

During a protest, patients were forced out of the hospital, damaging equipment and infrastructure, and blocked entrances to the hospital.

The Minister said out of 50 operations scheduled for Thursday, only 19 were done due to the protest.

The Minister said he understands very well the issue of labour demands that is between the workers and the Gauteng Department of Health, and he has no qualms about that.

Motsoaledi visited the hospital with Gauteng Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa to check the extent of damage in the facility.

SAMA condemns violence

Meanwhile, the South African Medical Association (SAMA) has strongly condemned violent events by staff at the hospital.

SAMA chairperson, Dr Mzukisi Grootboom, said that while it acknowledges staff may have legitimate complaints and concerns, “these should be addressed through discussion and negotiation, rather than compromise the provision of proper healthcare to those who are most vulnerable.”

Hospitals should be places of safety, havens for the ill. Whatever the reasons, there can never be any justification of violence, especially when it impacts the safety and proper treatment of patients.

The destruction of property is also beyond comprehension as this will take money and time to repair, which again places patient treatment and safety in jeopardy. This cannot be the new normal in our country, Grootboom said.

SAMA also called on the Gauteng Health Department leadership to resolve the matter speedily as frustration with administrative challenges in the province are creating environments conducive to unacceptable actions.

SAMA in turn will raise these issues directly with its fellow union leadership as well, Grootboom said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SOUTH AFRICA: ATTACK ON SICK, VULNERABLE UNACCEPTABLE – HEALTH MINISTER ON HOSPITAL WORKERS PROTEST

JOHANNESBURG– South Africa’s Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, says the attack on the sick and vulnerable is unacceptable, and called for the arrest of perpetrators.

Every decent human being knows who comes to hospitals. These are sick, very sick, vulnerable members of society. They are not part of these labour issues, Motsoaledi said.

According to some media reports, disruption, violence and disorder was perpetrated by staff members at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, protesting against the non-payment of performance bonuses.

Staff members were demanding payment of bonuses and increases dating back to 2016. The unions will meet hospital management and government officials in an effort to resolve the crisis.

During a protest, patients were forced out of the hospital, damaging equipment and infrastructure, and blocked entrances to the hospital.

The Minister said out of 50 operations scheduled for Thursday, only 19 were done due to the protest.

The Minister said he understands very well the issue of labour demands that is between the workers and the Gauteng Department of Health, and he has no qualms about that.

Motsoaledi visited the hospital with Gauteng Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa to check the extent of damage in the facility.

SAMA condemns violence

Meanwhile, the South African Medical Association (SAMA) has strongly condemned violent events by staff at the hospital.

SAMA chairperson, Dr Mzukisi Grootboom, said that while it acknowledges staff may have legitimate complaints and concerns, “these should be addressed through discussion and negotiation, rather than compromise the provision of proper healthcare to those who are most vulnerable.”

Hospitals should be places of safety, havens for the ill. Whatever the reasons, there can never be any justification of violence, especially when it impacts the safety and proper treatment of patients.

The destruction of property is also beyond comprehension as this will take money and time to repair, which again places patient treatment and safety in jeopardy. This cannot be the new normal in our country, Grootboom said.

SAMA also called on the Gauteng Health Department leadership to resolve the matter speedily as frustration with administrative challenges in the province are creating environments conducive to unacceptable actions.

SAMA in turn will raise these issues directly with its fellow union leadership as well, Grootboom said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

16 Hurt as Mali Opposition, Security Forces Clash in March

An organizer says 16 people have been injured in clashes between Mali’s security forces and opposition supporters during a prohibited march ahead of elections.

Cheick Diallo says the injured include two candidates for president in the July 29 election, Igor Diarra and Aliou Diallo. This is the first such clash ahead of the West African nation’s vote in which President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is running again.

The number of injured was confirmed by a member of the emergency service transporting them.

Opposition leaders organized Saturday’s march to call for free and transparent elections and for more state television coverage of their activities.

The governor of the capital, Bamako, banned the march under Mali’s state of emergency that was imposed in 2015 after an extremist attack on a local hotel.

Source: Voice of America

16 Hurt as Mali Opposition, Security Forces Clash in March

An organizer says 16 people have been injured in clashes between Mali’s security forces and opposition supporters during a prohibited march ahead of elections.

Cheick Diallo says the injured include two candidates for president in the July 29 election, Igor Diarra and Aliou Diallo. This is the first such clash ahead of the West African nation’s vote in which President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is running again.

The number of injured was confirmed by a member of the emergency service transporting them.

Opposition leaders organized Saturday’s march to call for free and transparent elections and for more state television coverage of their activities.

The governor of the capital, Bamako, banned the march under Mali’s state of emergency that was imposed in 2015 after an extremist attack on a local hotel.

Source: Voice of America