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Workers heed a call for protest action against minimum wage
25 April 2018, 9:57 PM

Workers across the country heeded the call by Zwelinzima Vavi’s new kid on the block, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) to strike over the planned introduction of a R20 an hour National Minimum Wage in the country.

In major towns, many shops were closed and the usual hustle and bustle of traffic on the streets was nowhere to be seen.

In Johannesburg, workers clad in red poured into the city centre from different directions – a scene reminiscent of the old Congress of South African Trade Union days.

Zwelinzima Vavi, who was unceremoniously booted out of Cosatu a few years ago, was impressed claiming that workers from Cosatu and other rival trade union federations had ignored their leaders’ decision not to join the strike.

A memorandum of demands was delivered to the Gauteng Premier’s Office, the Chamber of Mines and the local Department of Labour.

In Bloemfontein, there was another big turnout. Workers marched to the Department of Labour in the Bloemfontein CBD.

President Cyril Ramaphosa came under criticism for supporting the implementation of the National Minimum Wage.

In Port Elizabeth, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) heartland, the automotive industry was hardest hit.

Production came to a standstill at VW in Uitenhage while the Isuzu and Ford motor plants ran limited operations. Striking workers marched to the City Hall to deliver their memorandum.

In Cape Town, workers there also came out in their numbers. In Limpopo, thousands gathered at the SABC Park in Polokwane. They marched to the Departments of Education, Labour and Social Development.

In Durban, Saftu members painted the town red venting their frustration over the proposed national minimum wage and labour law amendments. They also decried Saftu’s exclusion from Nedlac. With that, Saftu had pulled off its much anticipated break-out national protest action.

This is a show of muscle by Zwelinzima Vavi and his disciples who followed him out of Cosatu.

Minimum Wage App

The National Minimum Wage Act, 2017 is set to be implemented in May 2018. However, according to the Department of Labour, the process could be delayed by one or two months.

SABC Digital News and OpenUp (formerly Code for South Africa) has partnered to develop a Minimum Wage App that will give answers to the question: “Can South Africans survive on R3 500?”

Where does the information come from?

OpenUp has used the following data sources:

How is it calculated?

The money available for food is calculated by subtracting the money used for other expenses from household income. It could be said that it comes after these expenses, though they are actually in conjunction with each other.

Raymond Zondo installed new University of Zululand Vice Chancellor
25 April 2018, 9:33 PM

From a former law student at the University of Zululand, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who also chairs the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, was installed on Wednesday the university’s Chancellor.

He received a rousing welcome. Zondo will be the university’s Vice Chancellor for the next five years.

He was born in rural Ixopo in southern KwaZulu-Natal. He holds several law-related qualifications including a B. Juris from the institution.

He served his articles under late human rights lawyer Victoria Mxenge’s law firm in Durban. Zondo was appointed to the office of Deputy Chief Justice in 2016.

One of his main priorities now is restoring the university’s reputation and striving for academic excellence.

“This university has done quite a lot but there is a lot of work to be done to make sure that it takes its rightful place among the families of universities. I will listen to the challenges and concerns that will be brought to me and bearing in mind that all of us must work together. I will guide and give advice,” says Zondo.

The university has been plagued by allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement for years.

“They will be able to come to a point where they remove the current Vice Chancellor to deal with the issues of corruption and investigate the allegation laid against the Vice Chancellor, “says Save UniZulu Coalition’s Sandile Khwanazi.

Many feel Zondo is well-placed to turn the university around. “He embodies deep humility, dignity and characteristic of the servant leader. What a wonderful choice you have made. Justice Zondo’s ascent to the highest legal fraternity, his yet incomplete 20 year journey through the SA judiciary makes him one of the SA’s foremost legal minds,” says Chief Executive Officer of Universities South Africa, Professor Ahmed Bawa.

The university is one of a few institutions of higher learning to have produced Justices in the Constitutional Court.

Taung residents believe protests are acts of criminality
25 April 2018, 9:31 PM

Residents in Taung believe the protests in the area are pure acts of criminality.  Violent protests erupted in Taung on Monday, leaving a trail of destruction.

“People, who are responsible for this, do not have the reasons why they did this and what is more frustrating is, whatever happened affected everyone in Taung, including the most fragile, including the elders,” says Taung Crime Watch Chairperson, Peggy Molatlhe.

Foreign nationals fled the village after their shops were looted and damaged. Residents are frustrated as there is now nowhere to buy basic necessities.

“We don’t have any shops at the moment. We don’t have any more to go because the foreign nationals have been targeted and attacked,” says Molatlhe.

Some are worried about children taking part in the protests.  “Young people were used to do those crimes and they were used by their parents. But as leaders, what are we saying about those young people,” says Taung Youth Club’s Charity Kujane.

The N18 in Dryharts linking Vryburg and Taung remains barricaded.

Meanwhile the Independent Police Directorate in the North West is investigating a case of murder following the violent protests in Taung.

A fifteen-year-old boy died in the crossfire between police and residents on Monday. Police say the body was only discovered after they dispersed the crowd.

An SABC television crew was robbed of all its equipment and personal belongings while covering protests in Jouberton, outside Klerksdorp, North West.

The crew was attacked by a large group of men at a local petrol station.

De Lille loses motion of no confidence by DA
25 April 2018, 9:19 PM

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has lost a motion of no confidence by the Democratic Alliance (DA) caucus in the Council on Wednesday evening.

De Lille has been at loggerheads with the DA over governance issues in the council. She currently faces a disciplinary hearing on charges of misconduct.

Deputy Caucus leader, JP Smith says the decision for her removal as caucus leader and Mayor will now be communicated to the party’s Federal Executive.

“Tonight (Wednesday) the DA caucus in Cape Town considered a motion of no confidence in the Mayor, Ald Patricia De Lille, brought by Cllr Angus McKenzie. The debate was extremely orderly and respectful. A vote by secret ballot took place upon the conclusion of the debate. The caucus supported the motion. The outcome of the decision by the caucus to request the removal of the Mayor as the leader of the DA caucus and therefore the Mayor is now being communicated to the Federal Executive.”

Parliament adopts “in principle” terms of reference of State Capture Inquiry
25 April 2018, 8:16 PM

Parliament’s Mineral Resources Committee has “in principle” adopted terms of reference for its State Capture Inquiry into former Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. This follows the release of the Public Protector’s State of Capture report in October 2016.

Parliamentary committees have been instructed to probe aspects and entities in their scope. The Mineral Resources Committee has taken some time to institute its Inquiry.

This is partly because Zwane failed to appear before the committee several times to respond to allegations. However on Wednesday, the committee deliberated on its draft terms of reference.

Among those allegations – is the probing role Zwane played in the sale of Optimum Mine from Glencore to Gupta linked company, Tegeta Resources. He is also being investigated for wasteful expenditure after not using flights paid for by the state.

He allegedly travelled with the Guptas to Switzerland and later to Dubai in their private aircraft. The inquiry will also probe the handling of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund by the Department, which was allegedly against the Mineral and Petroleum Development Act.

It will also probe whether the hiring and firing of some staff at the Department were due to external influences.

Meanwhile, Parliament’s Legal Advisor Fatima Ibrahim, who will act as the evidence leader in the Inquiry, will now draft a timetable. The committee will soon debate the witness list in a closed meeting.

“The committee must be alone to the fact that there may be reason at this stage to keep confidential some of those witnesses until such time that we’ve spoken to them and they have indicated their willingness to appear before the committee. Of course any person can be summonsed or subpoenaed to appear before the committee,” says Ibrahim.

Chairperson of the Committee Zet Luzipho says, “I hate to be a pessimist, I’m always optimistic, can you take into consideration that the time is no longer on our side, looking even on the programming of Parliament, we will have to take those things into consideration.”

Highlights

 

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