Alan Hammond

Join the Jansen-bashing queue

The gloss of Professor Jonathan Jansen’s inauguration as vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State has been taken off by the resounding criticism of his decision to drop charges against the “Reitz Residence” students. Four students were suspended when a 2007 video came to light where they were humiliating five staff at their residence….

33 Comments Continue Reading →

Lots of talk about labour brokers, not much listening

Parliament has been holding public hearings on proposals to curtail, and possibly ban, the operations of labour brokers. A marathon two-day session saw lots of talking between the parties but not much evidence that there was much listening going on. The minister of labour has been unhappy with the rise in the use of labour…

21 Comments Continue Reading →

Hammering out the finer details of an enlarged cabinet

ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe has confirmed that the ruling party is discussing moving the skills directorate from the labour department to the newly formed department of higher education and training. Speculation about moving the skills development initiatives that are run by the department of labour to the education department has been simmering for many years….

9 Comments Continue Reading →

Labour brokers face the axe

Government has threatened to ban labour brokers after the next election. The claim is made that the system lowers the wages of workers and encourages casual work. Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana first made the call when he was campaigning in Langa in December last year. Mdladlana told residents that the ANC plans to ban labour…

4 Comments Continue Reading →

Diary of an HR manager, aged 35 ½

If you think you’ve had a difficult few days take a minute to think about one poor old HR manager in Pretoria. First the CEO was forced out and then 14 members of Exco resigned on the same day! His succession planning has been blown out of the water and now he’s got to draw…

3 Comments Continue Reading →

Failing to train your staff will sabotage your business

What should you spend your money on when you open a business? If you are a retailer you might think that the more stock you have the better. But what if you haven’t trained your staff to deal with, and specifically, sell to your customers? Your stock range is likely to stay just as wide…

4 Comments Continue Reading →

Four-year degree is an incredibly misguided idea

Here’s an idea. We have a problem with too many students dropping out of their degree courses — so let’s make degrees longer! Why would anyone think that would cut the dropout rate? I guess it doesn’t rate up there with, “ask not what your country can do for you…” but my new favourite quote…

23 Comments Continue Reading →

Skills revolution will suffer without Mantashe

The news that Gwede Mantashe will no longer head the government’s Jipsa programme is bad news for the skills revolution. In early 2006 the Deputy President launched, Asgisa – the government’s drive for higher economic growth. The skills shortage was seen as the biggest impediment (or binding constraint) to reaching the target of 6% annual…

5 Comments Continue Reading →

I’m proud of our unions today

A few weeks ago, in my editorial on the Skills Portal newsletter, I complained about union calls for an additional public holiday. Leaders of union federations were writing letters to Thabo Mbeki and holding interviews with the media, all for one extra day’s holiday. With all the social challenges we face in our country, was…

12 Comments Continue Reading →