Ramaphosa announces minimum wage advisory panel

Ramaphosa announces minimum wage advisory panel

Publish date: 17 August 2016
Issue Number: 152
Diary: Legalbrief Workplace


Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has‚ in his capacity as chair of the Committee of Principals of the National Economic Development Council (Nedlac)‚ appointed a seven-person panel to advise Nedlac on an appropriate level at which the national minimum wage should be set, reports The Times. The Nedlac Committee of Principals comprises representatives of government‚ labour‚ business and the community charged with‚ among others‚ determining the national minimum wage. ‘The appointment of the advisors takes place against the background of consensus among Nedlac social partners to introduce a national minimum wage as part of efforts to restore the dignity of the majority of South Africans‚ address the triple challenges of poverty‚ under-development and inequality‚ and reduce pay differentials while maximising job creation‚’ Presidency spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said.

Full report in The Times


In March this year, Ramaphosa said a national minimum wage could go a long way to provide a much-needed injection into SA’s economy. Fin24 reports that in his view SA is progressing well with its implementation, compared to other countries like Germany and Brazil. This is, however, not the view of the Free Market Foundation (FMF), whose director Temba Nolutshungu is quoted as saying that the proposed minimum wage will hamper rather than stimulate job creation in SA. ‘Instead of considering national minimum wages intended to raise the wages of people who already have jobs, government should be giving its full attention to creating conditions that will lead to an increase in the demand for labour,’ added FMF director Eustace Davie. Ilan Strauss, a macroeconomist and development economist, who consults for the UN’s Conference on Trade and Development, said the primary benefits of a national minimum wage for SA are through its notable impacts on reducing poverty and inequality. ‘A national minimum wage is a potentially important plank in any suite of measures that aims to expand the South African economy in a balanced and sustainable manner. Positive measures are needed on both the supply and demand sides to boost the domestic economy,’ Strauss is quoted in the report as saying.

Full Fin24 report

A Financial Mail report says that after 18 months of negotiations, the parties in Nedlac are deadlocked with labour favouring a national minimum of around R3 500/month, business arguing for R1 800/month and government somewhere between the two. And, the report says, their task hasn’t been made easier by two of SA’s top universities producing large bodies of diametrically opposed research. Wits University’s National Minimum Wage Research Initiative finds that an NMW, if set at a meaningful level above the lowest sectoral minimum wages, could reduce working poverty and inequality in SA while lifting income, spending, productivity, investment, output and growth. And it could do so without causing significant job losses. University of Cape Town research finds, however, that a minimum wage of R3 400 could cause more than 500 000 job losses even under moderate assumptions. Moreover, any beneficial impact on wage inequality and poverty would be relatively modest, given that many of SA’s poorest households have very few or no wage earners. The report says the panel’s job is to make sense of the conflicting research to enable government to choose that benign level for an NMW, where the protection of workers’ wages is balanced against the need to prevent job losses.

Full Financial Mail report

More journalists sacked by SABC

More journalists sacked by SABC

Issue Number: 4036
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Category: Media

The SABC, which continues to resist an order from the broadcasting regulator to reverse its ban on showing footage of violent service delivery protests (see report below), has fired three more journalists – Busisiwe Ntuli, a specialist producer for the investigative programme Special Assignment, Lukhanyo Calata, a SABC journalist in Cape Town, and economics editor Thandeka Gqubule, notesLegalbrief.

According to a News24 report, this brings to seven the number of journalists sacked by the public broadcaster since Monday when Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp were informed of their axing. Freelance journalist Vuyo Mvoko’s contract with the corporation was terminated earlier this month. Their lawyer reportedly told News24 that they would fight their dismissals at the highest court.

The journalists form part of the so-called SABC 8 who have been targeted by the public broadcaster for speaking out against censorship. The issue has brought the resignation of another senior journalist. Ivor Price‚ TV news anchor on SABC2 and presenter and producer with Afrikaans radio station RSG‚ announced his resignation on Twitter.

A BDlivereport notes he handed in his resignation on 30 June‚ the day when journalists protested outside the SABC’s offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town – having already accepted another job offer. ‘(SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi) Motsoeneng’s venomous tentacles have the entire public broadcaster in their grip‚’ he said. ‘Even if he resigns tomorrow or is fired‚ it will be a long time before good journalists will get over the incapacitating fear.’ When he saw the news of his colleagues being dismissed this week‚ he ‘could no longer remain silent’. The issue of the sacking of the journalists is expected to come before the Labour Court tomorrow.

Full News24 report

Full BDlive report

The SABC and Icasa are on a collision course over the decision to ban footage of violent protests and the regulator’s order that the broadcaster withdraw it, says aBusiness Day report. It notes the SABC refuses to withdraw the decision, claiming the regulator’s order is merely a recommendation. The deadline for the SABC to inform Icasa that it had complied was yesterday, but it was not clear whether the SABC had adhered to it. The SABC has been delaying the matter, claiming it was never formally informed of Icasa’s ruling and whether the recommendation by the complaints and compliance committee had been endorsed by the council, as required by law. This, notes the report, prompted Icasa acting chair Rubben Mohlaloga to write to the broadcaster, insisting that it ‘desist from any further contravention’. In the letter, which Business Day says it has seen, Mohlaloga told the SABC that the Icasa council had unanimously endorsed the decision that it withdraw its editorial policy.He wrote that Icasa wanted to reiterate its position and its direction to the SABC ‘for the avoidance of doubt’. The report notes the SABC has indicated that it would take the Icasa ruling to court for review, but would need to interdict the order first.

Full Business Day report

See also a BDlive report

Parliamentary authorities appear to be ignoring calls to deal with the matter. The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) is the latest organisation to have written to the Speaker of the National Assembly requesting that an urgent meeting of the Communications Committee be convened to deal with the crisis. However, according to a statement by Casac recorded in a report on the IoL site, the Speaker has not responded to the letter. Casac says: ‘Parliament is once again failing to exercise its constitutional responsibilities to hold the executive and the SABC board to account. The rebuke the National Assembly recently received from the Constitutional Court ruling in the Nkandla matter appears to have fallen on deaf ears.’

Full report on the IoL site

Casac letter

Motsoeneng has a history of sacking people without following proper procedure. ANews24 report notes that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s 2014 report titledWhen Governance and Ethics Fail found that Motsoeneng’s irregular termination of the employment of senior employees had cost the broadcaster millions due to its ‘procedural and substantive injustices’. Most of the cases were handled without following proper procedure. All 14 suspensions and terminations were successfully challenged in court and at the CCMA. ‘The substantial amounts of money paid to SABC’s employees as settlements during protracted suspensions, terminations and/or long drawn-out labour dispute proceedings and protracted litigations caused unnecessary and avoidable costs to the national broadcaster, thus resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure,’ Madonsela found. The avoidable legal fees and settlement awards contributed to an unprecedented R29m salary bill escalation.

Full News24 report

SA father loses custody battle in US

SA father loses custody battle in US

A Cape Town father who lives in the US has little to celebrate this Father’s Day, after receiving the news that he may never see his daughter again.

An Ohio court dealt the blow, stripping him of any rights to custody of his daughter in its finding that an earlier order he had obtained for temporary sole parental rights and responsibilities had been improperly granted.

The man is currently embroiled in a Western Cape High Court battle with his wife.

He lodged a claim in terms of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction for the return of the child to the US.

But his wife has countered that they were married by Muslim rites only, and so their marriage was not recognised as valid.

According to her lawyers, this meant she was regarded as unmarried and had sole custody, unless a court ordered otherwise.

According to court papers, the mother and child – who cannot be identified in order to protect the identity of the minor child – have been in Cape Town since late last year after leaving Ohio to visit relatives here.

She did not return to the US, and said in an affidavit before the court that the marriage had turned sour and that the father was not involved in caring for the child.

She claimed the father had been aggressive towards her, but said she had told him she was prepared to return if he sought intervention for his anger issues.

The father, in turn, instituted legal separation proceedings in Ohio and, in an attempt to get back his daughter, obtained a court order which awarded him temporary sole parental rights and responsibilities.

The mother then succeeded in having the order set aside, and the father later lodged objections against the setting aside of the order.

The Hague Convention application could not proceed until the Ohio court had made a decision on the objections the father had lodged.

This week, the parties informed Judge Siraj Desai of the Western Cape High Court that the Ohio court had ruled against the father.

Since the marriage was invalid where it was solemnised, the mother’s lawyers submitted, it would also be invalid in Ohio, meaning she had sole custody of the child, they said.

But the father’s lawyers countered that, for the purposes of the Hague Convention, he had rights of custody because he was named as the father in the child’s passport, which had been applied for jointly with the mother.

He had been required to give his written consent for the child to travel.

They also submitted his rights of custody were not dependent on marriage.

The decision now lies in Judge Desai’s hands.


Original Article Taken from Link: http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/sa-father-loses-custody-battle-in-us-2036217

This article is reposted as relevant industry news and is not related to an actual case of PDR Attorneys.

Business dealings with trusts

Business dealings with trusts

In Smith versus ABSA Bank Limited (A892/2014) [2015] ZAGPPHC 409 the bank tried to enforce a trustee’s personal suretyship after a trust concluded installment sale agreements with the bank. Owed R1m by the trust, the bank tried to enforce a personal suretyship signed by one of the trustees in which she had bound herself as surety and co-principal debtor with the trust.

The High Court however found that the suretyship was invalid because the installment sale agreements were invalid. They had only been signed by one trustee, whereas the trust deed required a unanimous decision by two trustees.

Business dealings with trusts are common and more likely to happen when selling a property to, or buying a property from, a trust. The following documents regarding the trust should be checked:

1. Letters of Authority: The Master of the High Court must authorise the trustees to act.

2. Identity Documents: Keep copies of all signing trustees’ I.D.s to avoid any dispute as to identity.

3. The trust deed: The trust will only be bound by what the trustees do if their appointment and actions comply strictly with the trust deed’s requirements, such as:

3.1 Appointment of trustees: Check that the Board of Trustees has been properly constituted.

3.2 Capacity to contract: Make sure the trustees have authority for your particular type of contract.

3.3 Minimum number of trustees: If the deed requires a minimum number of trustees to be in office, they must all be in place for the trust to have any capacity at all.

3.4 Number of trustees required to act jointly: Unless the trust deed provides to the contrary, trustees must always act jointly.

3.5 Delegation of authority: Trust deeds may empower the trustees to authorise one or more of them to sign certain documents, request written proof of this upfront.

4. All the other little requirements and formalities: Always check the full trust deed for any other applicable requirements.

Link to full judgement: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAGPPHC/2015/486.html