The SA DOL is re-training its staff in public service skills, including learnerships, insurance, and employement equity. Meanwhile admin woes continue.
Labour inspectors trained
Labour inspectors are being trained in subjects such as the Learnership system, UIF, labour law, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS Wits University program), Occupational Hygiene, Occupational Health, Engineering, and Environmental Health.
In the Limpopo branch the training of inspectors would involve Enforcement Processes, UI Act (UIF), and the SAP System. In the Free State; NPA prosecution, Practical Incident Investigation, Technical Equipment utilisation, and Regulations under the OHS Act.
In the Western Cape, Labour inspectors would be trained in Learnerships, and the OHS Wits program. The DOL also runs an employment agency to assist jobseekers, to which employers are forced to report vacancies, as reported earlier on Sheqafrica.com.
Eastern Cape inspectors would be trained in the Employment Equity Act, OHS Regulations, BCE Act, UI Act, and UI Act audit.
In North West, they would be trained in Legal Enforcement, Financial Statement analysis, Legal Presumptions, Advanced Microsoft use, the OHS Act and its Regulations.
In Northern Cape, the inspection training includes Induction, Learnership, the OHS Wits program, Occupational Hygiene, and Occupational Health.
In tandem with the training, Labour deputy minister Holomisa is visiting DOL service centres in all provinces to discuss the priority of service delivery with staff.
Government has identified compensation, insurance, and jobs, including health and safety jobs, as a political, priority. Meanwhile the legacy of decades of low capacity and morale in the DOL continues.
Compensation Fund and mining compensation admin
Member of Parliament AP van der Westhuizen (DA) asked the Minister of Labour; Why have bids for various service providers to assist the Compensation Fund in its turnaround processes, not been awarded for the third quarter of 2014?
The minister of Labour replied; Based on the outcome of the investigation by an external company, the process had to be cancelled. There was an investigation commissioned by the Audit Committee on the supply chain management tender process followed. A turnaround strategy and plan has been developed.
See an earlier report on the migration of steeel sector occupational indusrance, from Labour’s Compensation Fund, to the mining system, on Sheqafrica.com.
Parliamentarian S Motau (DA) asked the Minister of Labour: How and by whom was it discovered that there was a mere 5% data storage capacity, which resulted in the delay of implementing the Rand Mutual Assurance software at the Compensation Fund?
The minister of Labour replied; The exponential data growth from internal system currently in production resulted in the storage capacity being depleted, and it is a temporary setback.
The storage capacity required for the implementation of the RMA system has been provisioned by removal of non-business related data and archiving of non-business critical data, with a long term solution of refreshing the storage solution and development of supporting data management.
The norm is to ensure that instruments are put in place to manage storage when it reaches 80% utilisation and this is done in line with capacity planning considerations, use of available storage and growth patterns including storage considerations for upcoming projects.
In this case, the time frame that was available to switch on the Rand Mutual Assurance System became a challenge as it was an emergency intervention.
There are no software upgrades required for the purposes of piloting the Rand Mutual IT system, however, all necessary software configuration and upgrades identified during the piloting process will be evaluated and costed prior to roll-out of the system to the rest of the processing sites.
Labour Department discipline questioned
Parliamentarian N Singh (IFP) asked the Minister of Labour: How many disciplinary cases are outstanding in her department and (b) what is the nature of each case; how long have these cases been on-going and (b) when will most of them be concluded; whether the persons who are being charged have been suspended; for how long will they be suspended; whether the specified persons are still receiving their salaries; what is the total cost of their salaries to the state?
The Minister of Labour replied; The Department has 36 outstanding cases. Cases vary from sexual harassment, internet abuse, absenteeism, insubordination, misrepresentation, misuse of state funds, fraud, irregular expenditure, bribery, failure to enter into performance agreement, failure to submit leave form, abuse of state vehicles, and abscondment.
The cases vary from 1 month up to 23 months. Cases will be finalised by the end of the financial year in 2014. Three officials were suspended, one for 23 months and the other two for 2 months. The total cost of their salaries to the state is R95 488 per month.
Compensation Fund fraud prosecutions drag on
Judgment in the Ramaphosa and Mfeleng fraud trial against two of about ten former Department of Labour employees, was postponed following a no show by a lawyer.
In the Pretoria Magistrate Court, Maxwell Ramaphosa (38) and Samuel Mfeleng (38), both of Soshanguve, are facing 15 counts of fraud and 26 counts of money laundering. They are out on an extended bail of R3000.
The Court could not locate Mfeleng’s lawyer, known as Mabalane. Magistrate Fikile Ntlati postponed judgment to 22 October 2014.
Ramaphosa and Mfeleng’s matter, in a separation of trial, was transferred from the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court following a guilty plea by their fellow co-accused, Jurry Sehunoe, a physiotherapist operating from Rustenburg in North West. The three men first made their appearance in Court in March 2010.
Sehunoe had earlier broken ranks and pleaded guilty on 19 October 2011 in the matter at the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court for defrauding the Department of Labour. He was subsequently handed a five-year suspended sentence.
Ramaphosa and Mfeleng are allegedly accused of conniving by processing and approving claims made by Sehunoe for services not rendered. They are alleged to have, between February 2009 and November 2009, made 15 deposits into the account of Sehunoe.
The accused are alleged to have siphoned money from the Department of Labour’s Compensation Fund and channelled it into Sehunoe’s bank accounts. They allegedly processed fictitious claims made by Sehunoe and later shared the laundered money.
The two former public servants are also appearing in two other alleged fraud cases. In one case they were part of a syndicate of six former employees and a Doctor accused of defrauding the DoL’s CF about R1-m.
In the other case they were part of a quartet including a physiotherapist accused of allegedly defrauding the Department about half-a-million rand. In both these cases, the accused are out on a warning.
Light sentences for fraud
Earlier, another former compensation employee received a suspended sentence and supervision for defrauding the Department of Labour’s Compensation Fund (CF) of R1.2m. Khathutshelo Nethengwe of Olifantsfontein had been out on a bail of R5000.
His co-accused Kenneth Martin Mahuluhulu of Thohoyandou, was handed a four year suspended sentence, subject to correctional supervision, in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.
Mahuluhulu is an information technology (IT) fundi and worked at Unisa while eluding justice, where he was arrested. They collaborated in siphoning public funds by submitting and processing false claims.
• Sources; DOL. Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG).
SA environment law updates are posted separately on Sheqafrica.com
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