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President Cyril Ramaphosa signs Minimum Wage Bill.
Minimum Wage Bill to benefit millions of workers
24 November 2018, 8:07 AM

The National Minimum Wage Bill will come into effect on 1 January 2019, after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed it into law on Friday.

The legislation will benefit millions of workers who currently earn less than 3 500 a month, or less than R20 an hour.

Lemias Mashile says the new legislation will help vulnerable workers who earn less than R20 per hour to earn a decent living wage of no less than R3500 per month. The Act however exempts certain sectors from paying R20 per hour.

The minimum wage law was formulated at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC). Its initial implementation date was pushed from May this year following a series of blunders during the bill’s drafting period.

In its initial response to the proposals, National Treasury warned that the system would affect jobs and the economy in the long term if it were to be implemented recklessly. Critics have warned that the law may lead to job cuts in an economy that is already struggling with unemployment of more than 27%.

It was one of four labour bills that Ramaphosa signed into law.

Others were the Labour Laws Amendment Bill, amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill.

The Labour Laws Amendment Bill allows for the implementation of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Act, which will extend the benefits of retrenched workers.

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Kim Porter
Former US Model, Kim Porter to be laid to rest on Saturday
24 November 2018, 1:13 AM

Former US model, Kim Porter, will be laid to rest today in the state of Georgia.

Her family has released a statement honouring her life, saying “God has gained a special angel.”

Porter, who was also the long-time former girlfriend of Sean “Diddy” Combs, died unexpectedly last week at the age of 47.

Her cause of death is yet to be released.

Porter was the mother of three of Diddy’s children. She also has a son, actor-singer Quincy Brown, from a previous relationship.

Diddy posted a video of them posing for a magazine photo shoot on Instagram.

 

Graffiti on a wall
EMS workers fear entering ‘red zone’ in Cape Town
22 November 2018, 2:37 PM

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) paramedics say they feel unsafe working in some areas of the Cape Flats. They say they often feel as if they are in danger in areas such as Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and Elsies River.

These are some of the areas which have been declared red zones, with paramedics not allowed to enter them without police escort.

EMS paramedic Tracey Blankenberg says she sometimes feels as if her life is in just as much danger as the patient she is treating, when they respond to a call in a red zone.

She says although she and her partner are supposed to be escorted by police when they enter a red zone, they have to wait up to an hour sometimes at police stations in the area for a police vehicle to become available.

Blankenberg says she has even felt threatened while responding to gang-related incidents, with gangsters telling her that they would harm her if their friends or family members didn’t survive.

She says her colleagues have also told her stories about gangsters boarding the ambulance after a shooting, to finish the job.

Cosatu marches against retrenchments
22 November 2018, 12:53 PM

Cosatu says it is concerned that there’s no job security in South Africa as many companies are considering retrenchments.

The labour federation has taken its concerns to the streets of Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal.

The march is also against the looming retrenchments at the SABC and Eskom.

The union will hand a memorandum to premier Willies Mchunu and officials of the Labour Department.

Provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize says, “I’ve seen in most of the sectors such as SABC the Eskom we are told that the mining as well the retrenchments that we see in companies is retrenchments that will affect all workers whether you are in the public or private sector. We are saying that in South Africa there is no longer what you call job security. Workers are not protected many, people are being retrenched. We are saying as Cosatu, we need to be on the street and defend our members, hence we are having this particular March”

IEC granted extension for voters’ roll address verification
22 November 2018, 12:00 PM

The Constitutional Court has granted the Electoral Commission (IEC) an extension to collect and verify the addresses of all registered voters on the voters’ roll.

The IEC had approached the court to ask for a further extension until November 29, 2019.

This will be after the 2019 national elections. In its 2016 judgment, the court held that the IEC’s failure to compile a voters’ roll with valid addresses was inconsistent with the Constitution.

The court had given the Electoral Commission until June 30 this year to complete the addresses for all registered voters on the voters’ roll. However, they have been unable to meet the deadline.

Justice Ian Cameron handed down the ruling. “The following order is made; the declaration of invalidity in paragraph five of Hlope is further suspended until November 30, 2019. The suspension is subject to the following conditions: the commission must by November 30, 2019 have obtained and recorded on the national voters’ roll all addresses that were reasonably available to it.”

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