Health and safety laws update June 2015

This South African health and safety laws update of June 2015, includes illegal mining, DOL fraud, and firearms marking.

TB testing campaign 2015 to 2018
The state is embarking on a three-year mass tuberculosis (TB) screening campaign that will help to reduce the number of new infections and related deaths.

South Africa is the third most affected country in the world. TB remains the number one killer in the country despite being curable and preventable.

TB causes 120 000 deaths annually. Government wants to reduce this number to less than 20 000.

Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (SASREA) Appeal Board formed

In terms of section 26 of the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act, the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation set up an independent board to hear and decide on appeals against decisions made in terms of the Act.

Contact the Committee Secretary on spauw@parliament.gov.za and/or to nmahlanyana@parliament.gov.za or (021) 403 3761 or (021) 403 2323.

DMR sealing old mines to manage illegal mining

Mr G MacKay (DA) had asked the Minister of Mineral Resources: At the open shafts at Dalpark Extension 1, Brakpan, what is being done about illegal mining activity; Who is the responsible authority to keep these mines safe and en closed; what type of action can be expected from his department?

The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) replied they were collaborating with law enforcement agencies, municipality, mining companies, organised labour, and other stakeholders to continue implementing measures, including conducting disruption operations and sealing of open shafts in Ekurhuleni metro.

The DMR and the stakeholders will continue sealing of openings, continuous inspections, as well as ongoing operations by law enforcement agencies.

The plan of action is to prioritise the closure of the open shafts in line with the 2015 -2016 project plan.

Mining health and safety budgets

Mr AM Figlan (DA) had asked the Minister of Mineral Resources; What amount did DMR and each of its entities spend on, or budgeted for advertising for per month between 1 January 2013 and 31 July 2014, excluding expenditure transferred through the Department of Communications for advertising?

Reply; R4.39-m, and R4-m; R6-m, and R1.4-m, excluding Mintek. The Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) had spent R512 395 per month on advertising.

DOL fraud trial drags on

Judgement in the fraud trial of Maxwell Ramaphosa (39) and Samuel Mfeleng (39) of Soshanguve was again postponed by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court in May.

Ramaphosa and Mfeleng are accused of defrauding the Department of Labour’s Compensation Fund (CF) of R2.1-m and are facing 15 counts of fraud and 26 counts of money laundering.

The accused were out on a bail of R3000 each. The trial was to resume on 21 May.

The Ramaphosa and Mfeleng trial has been dragging on since 2010 when it was first heard in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court. The duo had appeared earlier with co-accused Jurry Sehunoe, a physiotherapist in Rustenburg in North West province.

Sehunoe four years ago pleaded guilty in the matter, and was subsequently handed a five-year suspended sentence.

Ramaphosa and Mfeleng are alleged to have collaborated with Sehunoe to defraud the Compensation Fund.

Firearms will require microdots

A proposed amendment seeks compulsory application of microdots on firearms, to enhance the identification and tracing of licensed firearms.

The Portfolio Committee on Police held a two-day National Firearms Summit in Parliament, to develop a common approach towards addressing the proliferation of firearms.

Participants were asked to make submissions to the Civilian Secretariat for Police on the proposed Firearms Control Amendment Draft Bill and take part in further engagements with the Committee on this matter (see contact details below).

The Department of Civilian Secretariat for Police has published the Draft Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2015, including provisions for;

• verification by accredited associations of applications to possess a firearm
• semi-automatic firearms or shotguns may only be licenced to a person who has held a dedicated status as a sports-shooter for a period of at least two years
• additional motivation to the Registrar for the registration of any firearm licence that exceeds the stipulated two firearms licences for dedicated hunting or dedicated sports-shooting, taking into account the needs of the dedicated hunter and sports shooter, the type of firearm required, the shooting disciplines involved in, and that such motivation must be supported by the relevant accredited hunting association or sports-shooting organisation
• validity period of competency certificates
• compulsory application of microdots that comply with standard specifications on, and ballistic testing of firearms
• application of microdots on firearms and ballistic sampling of firearms of Official Institutions registered in terms of the Act
• ballistic sampling of firearms;
• designation of a Designated Firearms Officer at each police station, where practicable, with a clear description of functions, in order to strengthen the control over firearms in possession of the South African Police, other Official Institutions and private security service providers and to improve the processing of applications for competency certificates and firearm licences
• the number of cartridges allowed
• compliance by Official Institutions to Chapter 11 of the Act
• amendment of the Criminal Law Amendment, for minimum sentences where a firearm was used in a murder, rape or robbery
• a minimum sentence for the illegal possession of a firearm; and other provisions.
Bills are drafts, and their text may change before promulgation. Enquire via Ms Thandeka Khumalo on (012) 393 4658.

Agrément South Africa Bill 2015

Agrément South Africa will become a juristic person. Public hearings were set at Parliament for 2 June 2015; contact abusakwe@parliament.gov.za or (021) 403 3859 or 083 709 8390).

The Board of Agrément South Africa is mandated to, among others, evaluate the fitness-for-purpose of non-standardised construction related products or systems for use in the construction industry, and for which a national standard does not exist.

A review of the performance of the Board of Agrément South Africa has revealed that its lack of legal status, as well as it reporting to two Ministries, of Public Works and of Science and Technology, has negatively impacted on its mandate.

How to verify trade qualifications

Hendrik asked; “I have to verify the training of boilermakers, their apprenticeships or learnerships. We do maintenance at mines and their human resources officials have asked for verification. Some of them were registered with the MEIETB, some with DOL.”

Lawyer Natalie Graaff replied; All training qualifications could be verified with SAQA.

Sheqfrica.com noted; The Pressure Vessels Regulations may be relevant in determining the relevant qualifications. Records of state training tests like Olifantsfontein should be on the SAQA NLRD. The MEIETB may have been incorporated into the MerSeta.

The DOL lost its training functions some years ago, but still certifies some AIAs, such as asbestos handlers and electricians.

In future, more vocational qualifications would be checked on verification@qcto.org.za.

You could use a verification agency, as some voluntary institutes do. Your human resources official, and that of your client, should be informed of the job specifications and required skills.

Municipal electrical safety appointments

Where machinery is used for distribution of electricity, and where the demand is 10 000 kVA or more, the designated employee has to be a graduate engineer, with not less than two years’ postgraduate practical experience in the operation and maintenance appropriate to the class of machinery he is required to supervise.

Appointees also have to have passed the examination on the Act and the Regulations; and passed the Commission of Examiners in terms of Regulation E5(2); or be certificated engineers, in terms of health and safety laws.

See details of the electrical management appointments at municipalities, in a separate post on Sheqafrica.com.

• Sources; Government Gazette. PMG. DOL. DMR.
• This post refers to some Sheq legislation and health and safety laws. It is not a legal register, and does not constitute legal advice. Bills are draft proposals and their text may change before promulgation.
• South African environment law updates are posted in a separate series on Sheqafrica.com.

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