PC Labour: Reports on oversight visits to the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape

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Employment and Labour

10 February 2014
Chairperson: Ms Makhubela-Mashele (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met for the consideration of draft reports on oversight visits to the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.

One glaring issue the Committee had noted in all the labour centres in the Eastern Cape was that the conditions under which the workers operated were appalling. There should be a better coordination between the Department of Labour and the Department of Public Works to improve the working conditions.   It was suggested that firstly, the Committee should recommend that the Department should develop a unified policy which would be understood by all employees, about how the Department operated. Secondly, the issue of the “tools of the trade” -- phones, laptops and cars -- was a problem almost everywhere they went, and the Committee thought it should be addressed. Thirdly, pay masters should be decentralised, to ensure that payments were done in a speedy manner.

It was suggested that the Department should buy 4 x 4 off-road vehicles in the Northern Cape in order for officials to be able to reach people in deep rural areas. The Department should also be creative in allocating tasks to people, especially taking into account the responsibilities of inspectors.   There should be a programme of skilling labour inspectors and updating them about legislation and changing policies, as they were complaining that there was no career progress and no training, and they did not know what the criteria were for being chosen to attend conferences.

Meeting report

Nomination of the Acting Chairperson
Mr Zolani Sakasa, the Committee Secretary, said that the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Labour was absent due to other commitments and procedurally the Committee should elect an Acting Chairperson for the meetingMs L Makhubela-Mashele (ANC) was nominated

Report on Oversight Visit to Eastern Cape
The Chairperson started the meeting by welcomed Members of the Committee. She stated that she had not looked at the report yet, because it had been e-mailed to her at 10 am. She asked if any Members of the Committee had looked at the reports.

Mr F Maserumule (ANC) proposed that they read through the report for five minutes.

The Chairperson said that as they read through the report, they should dot down any issues that were of importance and which should be reflected in the final draft report.

Mr Maserumule said that the pages of the report were not numbered, but on top of what could be page 3 there was bullet which should read “labour processes”. There was also a bullet that stated that people were complaining about accommodation and the dust that was coming inside the offices, and generally complaining about the unhealthy living conditions.

Mr K Mubu (DA) said that they should just mark those errors because they did not want to spend more time on them.  They should rather look at substantive issues and pass them to the Committee Secretary.

The Chairperson said that there would not be a problem, as Members could e-mail things that they had omitted from the report, while Members who needed to put forward recommendations could also e-mail them.  They would be sent to the Department to take note of what the Committee had recommended from their oversight visit.

Mr Mubu said that one glaring issue they had noted in all the labour centres was that the conditions under which the workers operated were appalling. There should be a better coordination between the Department of Labour and the Department of Public Works to improve the working conditions.

Mr Maserumule said that the conditions in rural towns were very bad, and the Department needed to prioritise infrastructure in those areas.

Mr D Kganare (COPE) said that firstly the Committee should recommend that the Department should develop a unified policy which would be understood by all employees, about how the Department operated. Secondly, the issue of the “tools of the trade” -- phones, laptops and cars -- was a problem almost everywhere they went, and the Committee thought it should be addressed. Thirdly, pay masters should be decentralised, to ensure that payments were done in a speedy manner.

Mr Maserumule said that the Department should move with speed on the issue of health and safety in labour centres

The Chairperson recommended that the Department should produce a master plan for the leasing of offices or office space from the Department of Public Works (DPW).   It was essential for the DPW to house the labour centres in proper offices.

The Chairperson said that those were part of the recommendations.

Report on Oversight Visit to Northern Cape
The Chairperson requested the Committee to go through the report page by page.

Mr Maserumule said that the Department should consider placing people according to their capabilities, and qualifications should be taken into account.

Mr Kganare said that the Department should buy 4 x 4 off-road vehicles in order for officials to be able to reach people in deep rural areas. The Department should also be creative in allocating tasks to people, especially taking into account the responsibilities of inspectors.

Mr Maserumule said that there should be a programme of skilling labour inspectors and updating them about legislation and changing policies.  They were complaining that there was no career progress and no training, and they did not know what the criteria were for being chosen to attend conferences.

The Chairperson said that these comments formed part of the recommendations the Committee would put forward.   Further recommendations could be e-mailed to the Committee Secretary, and there would be further engagement on the two draft reports at a fully fledged meeting.

The Chairperson thanked Members for their participation.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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