First and foremost, I wish everyone well over the festive season.  If anyone is going to be travelling please be alert, sober and cautious.  If you are working over this period, I trust that the trading will be plentiful and profitable.

We have had a momentous year both on the political and financial fronts.  On the political front an election has been announced for May 2019 and we are going to see a lot of mud being slung at political parties and individuals.  This is a crucial election and the whole world will be focused on South Africa during the run up and indeed on the results.  The Zondo Commission has started to expose enormous fraud and the rot that was set in to every single state owned enterprise and most of the government departments.  As can be seen from the Auditor General’s report, most of the municipality’s and parastatals have been bankrupted.  The Auditor General has also failed many of the City Councils, Municipality’s and even Provinces with regard to the audits.  We have been extremely lucky here in the Western Province in that our City Councils and our Province has been relatively successful and very little fraud.

On the financial front we are almost now at ten million unemployed with over 52% of our youth being unemployed.  This figure sets to worsen.  With the advent of the national minimum wage which is set to be introduced in January 2019 we can expect another half a million to a million jobs being lost.  The treasury predicted seven hundred and fifty thousand jobs.  The real problem with the national minimum wage is that we haven’t finalised the exemption regulations as yet.  It does seem that the only exemption which will be given is a discount up to 10%, i.e. R2.00 per hour.  This is ridiculous and many of the welfare institutions are going to suffer heavily.  Furthermore, the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) will not be ready to handle disputes arising out of the national minimum wage and its implementation.  The CCMA Commission Head has asked the Ministry for further finances but this has not been forthcoming.

The other changes to secret balloting and picketing will also be introduced at the same time.  We will also see amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act which will be outlined in another newsletter, but it will be including paternity leave and adoption leave.