SAPTU Newsletter – AUGUST 2016

SAPTU top structures

SAPTU’s top decision-making structures, the management and executive committees, have been strengthened with the appointment of Joe Ngwenya from SAPTU’s National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) branch.


FEDUSA concerned that Hawks may destroy investor confidence

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) – to which SAPTU is affiliated – is concerned that the summons to the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, to appear before the Hawks last week has already destroyed investor confidence, as evidenced by the sharp drop of the local currency against international currencies.


“It is workers who will suffer when the economy goes into recession and it is abundantly palpable that the battle between SARS and the Minister of Finance is once again raging out of control. Moreover, rating agency downgrade will be disastrous for the economy as well as for workers. The South African Reserved Bank has already reduced its forecast to zero percent growth for 2016, compared to 0.6% as previously predicted,” said Dennis George, FEDUSA’s General Secretary.


“FEDUSA is of the opinion that pressure is being placed on the Finance Minister because of his unwillingness to agree to SAA’s request for government support until a new board has been appointed. Former Finance Minister Nene was removed after refusing the acquisition of new aircraft. President Zuma has now taken a direct interest in the management of state-owned companies, including SAA, from Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, which were previously placed under National Treasury following a Cabinet Lekgotla,” concluded George.


The credibility and safeguarding of Treasury, as the key government ministry, remains crucial to avoid further instability and volatility. Downgrade to junk status may well become a looming reality if the President pursues an ill-fated blow to Treasury. FEDUSA therefore calls on President Zuma to put the interest of the country and the workers first, and allow the Minister of Finance to rescue SAA and all state-owned companies without fear or favour.


Universities in crisis

SAPTU again express its concern about the planned campaign by students to disrupt the activities of universities in South Africa due to the demand for free higher education.


SAPTU recognises the fact that the South African Constitution confirms the right of every citizen to further education and to make higher education available and accessible. If any component of university funding is however removed, universities and the country will suffer dire consequences because of the following:

  • Severe budget cuts will have a negative effect on vital research;
  • A desperate need for training and skills required in the public and private sectors will be difficult to maintain; and
  • Budget cuts would also negatively affect the conditions of service and work environment of highly qualified academics and support staff. Retrenchments and restructuring due to a negative academic environment will be disastrous for universities and South Africa and could ultimately lead to the collapse of the university sector.


SAPTU therefore strongly urges all parties involved to await the findings of the Presidential Commission investigating the feasibility of free higher education and not use extreme measures to disrupt university activities.


Legal Aid SA management not playing ball

SAPTU has expressed its displeasure with the management of Legal Aid SA at the unavailability of their management and frequent postponement of meetings to discuss serious and urgent matters submitted by our Legal Aid members. The Recognition Agreement between Legal Aid SA and SAPTU regulates that consultative meetings must take place on a bi-monthly (once every two months) basis or at such greater interval as may be agreed upon. Should the above trend continue, SAPTU will declare a dispute with Legal Aid SA.


NHLS D-band salary dispute

The CCMA has issued an arbitration certificate in the matter of the dispute regarding the adjustment of salaries for the period 2015/16 of employees in the D-band at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS). SAPTU has in the meantime issued the NHLS with the following proposal:

  • A 50% back pay for the D-band staff for the financial year 2015/16 (as it was unfair that only the A-C band received back pay on implementation of the reward and remuneration process; when the new salary scales were introduced for the A-C bands on 1 April 2015, some of the C-band staff were earning salaries equal to the D-band.)
  • The 1.5% not given to the D-band following the implementation of the2015/16 wage agreement which was applicable to all staff (A-C band received 7% and D-band only 5.5%), should be implemented and back dated to 1 April 2015.


Sefako Makgatho agreement

SAPTU and the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University have entered into an agreement whereby academic staff will receive a salary adjustment of 3% from 1 July 2016 and a further 2% from January 2017. An annual salary increase of 8% for academic and general staff will be implemented from 1 July 2016.


SAPTU/Legal Aid Unbuntu on Mandela Day

Thandi Maqungu of SAPTU’s Legal Aid branch in Port Elizabeth extended her soup kitchen project on Mandela Day on 18th July. With SAPTU’s generous donations she brought some winter warmth to the less fortunate at the Nondzondelelo soup kitchen and day care centre.


SAPTU donates bags of soup powder to the value of R1,000 a month to this very worthy project. We appreciate and thank Thandi for all her hard work in helping feed this very poor community.


Ministerial roundtable with the Western Cape

The Minister of Labour called a meeting in Stellenbosch with labour federations and their unions functioning in the agricultural sector, civil society and employer organisations to discuss issues pertaining to agriculture. Also attending to give input from their sectors were the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, a representative from the Department of Home Affairs and the Deputy Minister of Rural Development. Unfortunately the employer organisations did not attend.


Issues raised by the ministerial sector included training of farm workers, employers’ compliance with legislation, unfair dismissals and evictions of workers, issuing of identity documents, black-owned business in agriculture and emerging farmers.


According to Estelle Katumba, SAPTU’s representative, the roundtable was very disappointing as it lacked depth and speakers used the roundtable as an election forum, telling attendees who they should vote for.


TLU – Annual Congress

The Acting President and General Secretary have been invited to attend The Transvaal Agricultural Union SA Annual Congress on 7 September 2016. Their slogan “Without Food Security No Lasting Peace or Stability Is Possible” will be the central theme of discussions.


FEDUSA – National Congress

The 6th National Congress of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) of which SAPTU is also an affiliate will take place on  17-18 November 2016 in Johannesburg. The Theme will be “Decent Work and Decent Life for All”

SAPTU – Making a difference to our members and our communities