This health and safety laws update of June 2016, includes Department of Labour (DOL) performance assessment, new Bills, and compensation payments.
Labour Department finds itself ‘62% effective’
The SA Department of Labour assessed its own general performance of the past year at 62%, after “a dismal 42%” the previous year. The scoring includes enforcement inspections.
The departmental self-scoring is based on compliance levels found during inspections; the number of inspection blitzes; responses to labour complaints; Compensation Fund payouts and response time; management parameters; and other aspects of the Labour Department’s mandate, including black economic empowerment (BEE), such as the DOL labour agency.
Deputy Minister of Labour, Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa, said in this 2016 -2017 Budget Vote in Parliament in Cape Town in May 2016; “We have improved the overall performance of the department.”
He noted the previous scoring as “the dismal 42% reported in our 2014-2015 annual report… we are poised to improve that to around 62%.”
“We are also poised to receive an unqualified audit finding from the Auditor General. This is a clear indication of the extent to which we have improved our information and financial management systems. There is, of course, room for improvement.”
DOL wants more money to appoint inspectors
The SA Department of Labour Inspectorate and Enforcement Services (IES) should “increase its capacity, in order to hold truant employers accountable, and to protect workers who are susceptible to employer malpractices and the violation of our labour laws,” said deputy minister Holomisa.
The number of Labour inspectors is inadequate to meet the mandate of the DOL, he said during his budget speech in Parliament.
Labour Laws Amendment Bill
The Labour Laws Amendment Bill is the first Private Members Bill to clear the preliminary hurdle after the Labour Committee had unanimously approved it. The Bill was drafted by the ACDP. Visit https://pmg.org.za/bill/615/
The National Assembly approved the UIF Bill and transmitted it to the Council of Provinces for concurrence (visit https://pmg.org.za/bill/595/).
Energy, Gas and Petroleum Bills
The Department of Energy is working on several bills for consideration by Parliament, to be introduced in the 2016 -2017 financial year, including;
 National Energy Regulation Amendment Bill
 Gas Amendment Bill
 Upstream Gas Bill
 Petroleum Agency of South Africa Establishment Bill
 Petroleum Products Amendment Bill
 Independent Power Producer Office Establishment Bill.
The Portfolio Committee on Transport invites the public to comment on the AARTO Amendment Bill, and the National Land Transport Amendment Bill. Email comments to Valerie Carelse at firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 June 2016.
Water and Sanitation Bill
The Department of Water and Sanitation is finalising the National Water and Sanitation Bill to be introduced to Parliament, and published for public consultation during the 2016 -2017 financial year.
The objective of the Bill is to radically transform the water and sanitation sector across the value chain and create an enabling environment for the delivery of basic water and sanitation services to communities who were historically disadvantaged, thus enhancing access, equity and sustainability.
Compensation payments improving
In the financial year ended in March 2016, the Compensation Fund paid out R2.8-b in medical claims, compared to R1.3-billion the previous year.
The Compensation Fund also paid R137-m in compensation benefits, compared to R103-m in the preceding year; and R968-m in pension payments, compared to R671-m the preceding year.
The Fund has set itself the target to process and authorise payment of medical claims for injuries at work, within 60 days of receipt, following widespread complaints by medical service providers.
“The action plan implemented by the Compensation Fund in the last financial year, is starting to show positive results,” said deputy minister Holomisa.
Compensation Fund fraud sentence six years overdue
Sentencing in the trial of Maxwell Ramaphosa (40) and Samuel Mfeleng (40), accused of defrauding the Department of Labour’s Compensation Fund (CF) of R2.1-m, was again postponed in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court, due to a dispute over how much each of the accused had illegally benefited.
Magistrate Fikile Ntlati postponed the matter and advised the State and the defence to meet and determine how the accused benefitted from the fraud gains. Sentencing was postponed to April 2016.
Ramaphosa and Mfeleng are facing 15 counts of fraud and 26 counts of money laundering. The accused were out on a bail of R3000 each.
Their trial had started in 2010. The former employees of the Department of Labour’s Compensation Fund appeared with co-accused, Jurry Sehunoe, a physiotherapist operating from Rustenburg in North West province.
Sehunoe had received a five-year suspended sentence. Ramaphosa and Mfeleng are alleged to have collaborated with Sehunoe to defraud the workers’ fund.
In a separate matter, the trial of Ramaphosa, Mfeleng and Ms Kgabo Johanna Methi are accused of defrauding the Department of Labour’s Compensation Fund of R476 150, was postponed in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court to 11 August 2016.
Ramaphosa, Mfeleng and Methi are out on a warning. The Compensation Fund of the Department of Labour covers workers injured at work or who sustain diseases from work, said DOL spokesperson, Mokgadi Pela.
Labour minister chaired ILO conference
The minister of Labour, Nelisiwe Oliphant, has been asked to preside over the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, in June 2016.
- Sources; DOL. PMG.
- This post does not constitute legal advice.
- South African environment law updates are posted in a separate series on Sheqafrica.com.
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