Question 1 (12 marks)
Read the extract below and answer the question(s) that follow:

“Parental leave implies that the leave is applicable to both mothers and fathers. However, the South African model of parental leave is one-sided as it applies more directly to fathers than to both parents equally. This leaves one to question why it was modelled as parental leave at all, rather than as a right to paternity leave. It is also crucial that further legislative amendments are made to provide employment protection and non-discrimination measures to employees who rely on parental leave in South Africa. The commitment of the South African government is needed to develop the current model of parental leave into a legal mechanism that can support both parents and achieve gender equality in the workplace and the home.”

Behari A. 2020. Lessons on parental leave: a comparative analysis of parental leave in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Obiter, Volume 41 Issue 4: 787 — 805. (Sabinet)


Identify the Bill that was promulgated to grant fathers the right to parental paid leave. (1 mark)

Discuss the reasons why discrimination against women still exists in unions and, as a result, why maternity benefit talks frequently end in failure. (11 marks)

Question 2:

Read the scenario below and answer the question(s) that follow:

Justin is the owner of “JJ Mines”, a mining company in Mpumalanga. Coal extraction is best done in Mpumulanga and Justin is conscious of the non-renewable of coal. Additionally, he is conscious that burning fossil fuels will release dangerous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. He looks into alternatives to coal-fired power plants to try and lower the mine’s carbon pollution. He concludes that the region will benefit most from a solar-powered station.

What is the global challenge that Justin, as the employer, is taking into consideration in his plan to find an alternative to coal-fired power stations? (1 mark)

Explain the effects or impacts that the global challenge you have identified in the scenario above will have on South Africa as a developing country. (10 marks)

Assume that the National Union of Mineworkers (“NUM”) represents Justin’s employees. What risks/dangers could Justin’s decision to move forward with building the solar powered station and shutting down the coal-fired power station present to the trade union? (2 marks)

Explain how Justin could collaborate with the NUM trade union to enhance JJ Mines’ working circumstances in light of environmental concerns? (10 marks)

Question 3:

Read the fictitious scenario below and answer the question(s) that follow:

Bill is the owner of a small technology company, called Geeky-Tech, in Johannesburg. His company recently designed and built a smart watch, which is a miniature computer tablet that you can wear on your wrist. He dreams about amassing vast sums of money. He is solely motivated by profit motives. He subsequently employs ten employees to work for his company. The market related salary for this nature of work is R20 000 per month. However, in order to cut costs and boost profits, he only pays his employees R15 000 per month. Additionally, he does not offer any additional incentives or benefits to his workers because, in his view, nobody can stop him from trying to make the most profit possible and they don’t usually deserve any special treatment. In order to ensure that all work is finished within the parameters of the strict deadlines he has set, he also makes his workers work longer hours.

Identify and briefly explain the labour relations theory / approach that Bill displays in the scenario above. (9 marks)

Note to student: Apply the relevant theory / approach you have identified to the set of facts.

What are some of the disadvantages of the labour relations theory / approach that you have identified in the scenario above? (4 marks)

What are the criticisms of the theory or approach you identified in the aforementioned scenario in light of the Marxist theory or approach to labour relations? (10 marks)

Question 4

What are the elements that companies in South Africa are presently using to propel the corporate social responsibility agenda into a corporate social investment strategy?

Question 5:

Read the fictitious scenario below and answer the question(s) that follow:

Lerato was born in 2000. Her grandfather, Kgosi, is old and frail so she takes care of him on a regular basis. He talks about his time as a mine worker in South Africa in the 1940s and 1950s during this period. He describes how the white miners were treated much better and that he and the other miners were fed like dogs and housed in bleak compounds with concrete beds, despite working in excruciating circumstances and being paid a pittance for life-threatening work. He explains to her that there was a movement backed by the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) that supported the trade union he belonged to in an effort to resolve the situation.
He also reveals to her that in 1954, while still a communist, he participated in a protest and was as a consequence detained for three years. Lerato is outraged and baffled by what took place.

Lerato approaches you, a student with a keen interest in labour law, and asks you to explain how this could have happened to her grandfather. She is not well-versed in the laws that were applicable during the 1940s to 1950s in South Africa and asks you to elaborate on these laws.

Explain to Lerato how communism and black trade unions were persecuted in the 1940s and 1950s and advise her on the possible reasons why her grandfather might have been detained at the time.

Question 6:

Read the fictitious scenario below and answer the question(s) that follow:

Zola has been searching for work every day for the past six months while being unemployed. She learns about a job opening in a Johannesburg gold mine. She learns from a news report that South Africa has one of the greatest estimates of work-related fatal accidents worldwide in its mines. Although Zola is extremely anxious, she needs the work badly.

Zola approaches you, as a law student with a keen interest in labour law, to advise her on any mechanisms that have been put in place to avoid injuries and fatalities within South African mines.

To ease Zola’s concerns, advise her about the South African mining industry in general as well as what micro-environmental factors have affected labour relations there, in particular, and what mechanisms have been put in place to prevent workplace accidents and deaths.

Answers to Above Questions on Labour Law

Answer 1:

a. Labour Laws Amendment Act 2018 was the Bill that was promulgated to grant fathers the right to parental paid leave.

b. An analysis of the situation in South Africa indicates that there still exists discrimination against women in the union, and there are a number of reasons that lead to such discrimination. For example the gender stereotype in the form of women’s primary responsibility is to handle domestic activities is a major factor leading to such discrimination against them. In addition to this, the unions are highly male dominated with males occupying the leadership position and they contribute towards discrimination against women.


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