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Acting on instinct, an employer may want to fire an employee who has been arrested or imprisoned. This could be a mistake! An arrested person is someone who has been taken to a police station and formally charged with an offence. He may be also serving a prison sentence. An employee hasn’t been arrested if he/she has just been taken to the police station for questioning. It is therefore very important to distinguish between those taken in for questioning, those who have been arrested and those who are serving a prison sentence… (more)


The ECA(SA) Presidential Excellence Awards is a celebration of quality, outstanding workmanship and professionalism within the electrical industry. This year, the Installation of the Year – Housing award went to M&L Electrical Contractors for its work on the Masimong Shaft 4 low-cost housing project in Welkom, Free State… (more)

An employer may sometimes want to change their employees’ terms and conditions of employment, but goes about it in the wrong way. I sometimes appear at Council or the CCMA with disputes relating to such “one sided” or unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment. The employee states that the employer has made some unilateral change to the original terms and conditions of employment… (more)

I have recently been shocked at the losses incurred by some major electrical contractors who have subcontracted to main contractors on government projects and who have not been paid. There is every indication that the Department of Public Works has made monthly progress payments to the main contractor but that the main contractor pocketed the payment instead of handing over what was due to the electrical subcontractor… (more)

A recent decision by the Labour Appeal Court has been misinterpreted by some as meaning that employers must now unconditionally grant their employees sick leave on the basis of “sick notes” from traditional healers such as sangomas. That is not correct, and it is important for both employers and employees to understand the true current position… (more)

In terms of the economy, I do not foresee any major growth until the economic situation in Europe and the USA stabilises. Locally, labour unrest and talk of nationalisation have not been of any help and seem to have scared foreign investors away… (more)

The wage negotiations for 2012/2013 were concluded last year but as you will recall, the Collective Agreement could not be published as the representivity of the trade union was questioned. Consequently, the parties had to wait for the Department of Labour to conduct its own membership verification audit… (more)

The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) is the new name for the Workmen’s Compensation Act (WCA). The act provides compensation for disablement caused by injuries sustained or diseases contracted by employees in the course of their work, or for death resulting from such injuries and diseases… (more)

It is sometimes possible for an employer to bear responsibility for unlawful acts committed by their employees in the course or within the scope of their employment. This reminds me of a line I once read in a book: “Sometimes, there is injustice in justice”… (more)

I am proud to be associated with the ECA and with contractors who deliver such good work and who encourage and train their workers to provide a standard of the highest order… (more)

One thing that can be said about the electrical contracting industry is that it evolves and changes all the time, sometimes for the better; sometimes for the worse. It is therefore important to try and keep you abreast with what is happening… (more)

Employers quite commonly engage employees for probationary periods, which may be negotiated and stipulated in the contract of employment. After expiry of the probationary period, the employer is entitled to decide whether to retain the services of the employee on a permanent basis… (more)

Section 12H of the Skills Development Act entitles employers who have entered into learnership agreements to a commencement deduction of R30 000 (R50 000 where the learner is a person with a disability). The agreements must be registered in accordance with the Skills Development Act and entered into between the learner and the employer before 1 October 2016… (more)

The work group indices for May 2012 show relatively large monthly percentage changes in a number of the work groups reported on by Statisticss SA. Monthly percentage changes in the index figures range from -6,2% for Work Group 113 to 2,8% for Work Group 154. The Consumer Price Index for May 2012 increased by 0,08%. The three indices reflecting relatively large monthly percentage changes mainly due to factors other than the headline CPI… (more)

You have dismissed and employee at work unfairly, and then made a genuine offer to rectify the mistake. Your employee, on the other hand, refuses the offer. Labour appeal court (LAC).Kemp then appealed to the Labour Court and the issues were confined to the following: whether the employee should have been awarded compensation at all. Whether the amount awarded by the Labour Court was excessive… (more)

The ECA(SA) is currently redesigning its website to include improvements. Integration of live feeds from popular magazines such as EE Publishers’ Vector magazine will ensure that the website is never dull or static. This will help address frequency and flow of ECA(SA) information… (more)

Bargaining Council agreement;
Electrical Contracting Board (ECB);
Use of flat twin and earth cables outdoors… (more)

An employee is summarily dismissed when the employment contract between an employer and employee is terminated immediately after a disciplinary inquiry, without notice or payment in lieu of notice. Summary dismissal is only allowed in exceptional circumstances of misconduct… (more)

The SA electrical contracting industry has seen numerous developments during the course of last year, but 2011 will in all probablility be remembered for electrical distributor Voltex’s appointment by the Electrical Contracting Board (ECB) to register electrical contractors and to issue CoCs… (more)

I purchased some THYNK sockets in October 2010. Since they were new to me, I asked the supplier for proof of compliance. At the end of the six months I have two sets of Letter of Authority, both for the same product, both with the same certificate and data numbers, and both issued on the same date, but stating differing applicable standards for the product… (more)

In spite of the electrical contracting industry being impacted negatively with regard to funding for training, the ECA(SA) Highveld Trade Test Centre continues to grow and attract more and more learners. The centre opened in July 2010. It started with facilities accommodating four learners. In January 2011, the facility was extended to accommodate eight learners. The centre provides for trade testing of apprentices (Sections 13 and 28) and attracts learners from as far afield as Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Northwest… (more)

Every employer, in almost any industry in South Africa, is faced with the employee training debate. No-one will disagree that skills development is essential, but many factors affect the decision by employers to train their employees. The electrical contracting industry is facing a critical skills shortage for a number of reasons. The skills shortage is due to many understandable factors such as the cost of training, the lack of encouragement to get youngsters to enter the industry and, most of all, the government and the relevant SETAs not really supporting the industry in skills development… (more)

The association’s national AGM is to be held in the board room, ECA House, on 25 November 2011 at 09h00. As regards proposed amendments to the constitution, in terms of Clause 25.1 of the constitution, it may not be altered, added to or amended, except with the consent of those present at a national AGM. Notice of no less than 21 days shall be given to all regions by circular notice and/or in Vector, or on the Association’s website. Such notice shall specify the proposed changes… (more)

The CCMA is will generally allow polygraph evidence on the following basis. The CCMA must accept a polygraphist as an expert witness and test his evidence for reliability. The duty of the commissioner is to determine the admissibility and reliability of the evidence. The commissioner must not interpret the test as implying guilt but may regard it as an aggravating factor, especially where there is other evidence of misconduct. In other words, polygraph test results, when used on their own, are not a basis for a finding of guilt. It can be used only in support of other evidence… (more)

I have been in the electrical contracting industry for almost three decades and 2011 has without any doubt been the worst year as far as the shortage of work is concerned. The majority of ECA(SA) members have been affected in one way or another. When the world went into a recession in 2008, South Africa did not feel the effects for some time. However, the construction industry as a whole was badly affected in 2010, and 2011 has been even worse. Many ECA members are complaining that they have little or no work, and there appears to be little prospect of the situation changing in the near future. .. (more)

The ECA will be presenting courses on the correct procedure to follow when completing the newly released Certificate of Compliance and Test Report. The new document is now six pages long and consists of a new Certificate and Test Report. The course will be divided into two sections which will cover theory and practical components. The theory component will focus on the application of the SANS Code of Practice in accordance with the prescribed requirements and considers many of the challenges the CoC presents… (more)

Section 28 candidates remain an important part of the workforce in the electrical contracting industry. However, attempts to get these candidates to qualify to write a trade test has posed challenges with regard to a standard industry agreed N2 equivalent test. Moreover, the Energy Sector Education and Training Authority (ESETA) failed to carry out its function of ensuring that only one assessment system, agreed upon by the industry, is applied… (more)

All electrical contractors have received two notices from the Electrical Contracting Board of South Africa (ECB) informing them that the Electrical Contractors’ Association has terminated its contract to carry out registrations of electrical contractors on its behalf.It has also advised that in future all registrations would be done through the various branches of Voltex Electrical Wholesalers… (more)

If so, why not join the ECA? The ECA provides a wide range of valuable services designed to assist contractors and to enable them to offer their clients work that is guaranteed, competitive, professional and safe. The ECA offers ongoing advisory and support services on matters such as technical, labour relations, legal, contractual and member marketing. ECA training facilities offer courses for electricians, semi-skilled employees and contractors. Contact details: Head office: 011 392-0000; Pretoria (Bosveld): 012 342-3358; Bloemfontein: 051 447-0859; Cape Town: 021 462-2690; Kwa-Zulu Natal: 031 312-6313; Port Elizabeth: 041 363-1990; East London: 043 721-1558… (more)

In its drive to improve training in the electrical contracting industry, the Electrical Contractors’ Association (SA) has revised the current Elconop training system. The revision seeks to address the following critical issues: Standardised training;Quality training;Training that promotes progression of employees;Training that increases learners’ access to trade testing;Training that forms the basis for alignment with the revised qualifications system. Elconop training modules duration have been revised as follows: Elconop 2 Modules 0-3: Four weeks; Elconop 3 Modules 4-6: Four weeks… (more)

 On 1 April 2011 the electrical contracting industry was officially demarcated under the Construction, Education and Training Authority (CETA).  With little progress being made, the ECA invited Lance Ledingham, manager of the CETA for the East/South Cape region to address the concerns of members… (more)

Unfortunately it has been necessary to close the training centre in Durban. The final training course and a number of trade tests were conducted in the early part of July. It has only been operational for the past two and a half years, and during that time apprentices, elconops and private students have undergone training… (more)

When the ESETA was placed under administration, the industry thought that finally it would be reorganised and brought under proper control.  A number of problems experienced by the industry were raised with the new ESETA administration, but eight months down the line nothing has changed… (more)

Question: I am contemplating hiring a few Zimbabweans at my company.  Are there any requirements or restriction when employing foreign nationals? Answer: Firstly, it is important to understand that a foreign national is anyone who is not a citizen of South Africa… (more)

Every member knows by now that the category of employee called the “general worker” ceased to exist on 31 January 2011 and all existing general workers at that date were upgraded to “electrical assistants” with the relevant salary increases… (more)

In the 1969 amendments to the 1963 Edition of the Standard Regulations for the Wiring of Premises (the “Blue Book”) a new regulation 226 was added which read: “Automatic earth leakage protection is mandatory in certain instances in terms of these regulations… (more)

On 3 July 2011 Carte Blanche aired a segment on electrical contractors. Some members think that the show was”fixed”. You have our absolute assurance that this is incorrect. We were not informed in advance which electrical contractors had been called in to attend to the fault, which was deliberately created in the installation… (more)

When leading evidence to prove the theft was committed, one should highlight some critical points such as how honesty goes to the heart of the employment relationship between the employer and employee, and how, as a result of the theft, it has broken down and hence the employee cannot be trusted… (more)

The formula adjustment provisions provide for the needs of contractors who require a clear-cut, agreed escalation recovery formula method to avoid dissension and disputes with employers and subcontractors and to provide reasonable reimbursement of price fluctuations. A workable formula method of contract price adjustment simplifies accounting procedures and generally provides for acceptable reimbursement… (more)

by Chris Yelland and Mark Botha, EE Publishers

The policing of electrical installation work to ensure the integrity of workmanship and the safety of residents, occupants and workers within domestic dwellings, buildings and factories has a long and torturous history in South Africa. While electrical contractors clearly need independent oversight to ensure there is no danger to life or property, this oversight surely should not be provided by external agents of the Department of Labour operating with exemptions from the competency and accreditation requirements of the Electrical Installation Regulations… (more)

Speaking after her inauguration as the first female president of the ECA (Electrical Contractors’ Association) in the UK, Diane Johnson gave a stark warning about the skills shortage there. “We are sitting on a ticking time bomb.  If we don’t act now, we will not have the home-grown talent needed to fulfill this country’s potential. The consequences of that will be more far reaching than most people realise”… (more)

As all employers know, employees often submit medical certificates that describe the ailment as: “medical condition” or “illness”or some such similar wide and vague symptoms. Sometimes employers believe that if an employee produces a medical certificate as justification for a period of absence, that the employer is bound to accept it… (more)

The year began on a high note with promises that inexpensive broadband for all would become a reality. But eleven months into the year, none of these expectations have been realised… (more)

Testing of polarity in single-phase circuits – The instrument used for polarity: Insulation tester on the ohm scale, or use lowest resistance range of a multi meter. Please note: Tests to be performed with power switch off. This test determines whether the single-phase installation is correctly wired… (more)

Among the issues with which the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) has been concerning itself recently is labour broking, or Temporary Employment Services (TES), to give it its technical name. Readers may be aware of the fact that this practice was outlawed in Namibia not too long ago, a decision of government which was upheld by the High Court… (more)

The ECA, ECB and ERIC (the Electrical Registration and Inspection Council) have arranged a series of road-shows across South Africa to explain and discuss the new (2009) electrical installations regulations (EIR), which were published on 6 March 2009 in Government Gazette 31975, Notice R242. The first presentation will take place on 4 August 2009 at a venue to be announced shortly. The subsequent dates and venues will be published in Vector and on EE Publishers’ electronic media… (more)

The ECA, ECB and ERIC (the Electrical Registration and Inspection Council) have arranged a series of road-shows across South Africa to explain and discuss the new (2009) electrical installations regulations (EIR), which were published on 6 March 2009 in Government Gazette 31975, Notice R242. The first presentation will take place on 4 August 2009 at a venue to be announced shortly. The subsequent dates and venues will be published in Vector and on EE Publishers’ electronic media… (more)

The long awaited new Electrical Installation Regulations (not to be confused with the Wiring Code SANS 10142-1) were published in the Government Gazette on 6 March 2009. The regulations become effective on 1 May 2009, but regulation 5(6) will only become effective on 1 April 2010. The draft regulations have appeared in various forms and have been under discussion since 2001, and much acrimonious debate has taken place. However, with one or two exceptions which I will mention below, they are a great improvement on the current regulations that were published in October 1992, and bring a lot more clarity and control… (more)

Audiocast: Interview by Vector editor Peter Adams with Chris Greager of the ECA (MP3 file)

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