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The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced the discontinuation of the debit pull option as a means of paying SARS as of the end of October 2013. Debit pull transactions were discontinued for ABSA, FNB, Investec, Nedbank and Standard Bank account holders. Taxpayers are advised to set up a credit push payment option or to use an alternative method of payment… (more)

Port Elizabeth-based Michael Straton was elected ECA(SA) president at the association’s AGM on 14 November 2013. He says the ECA will now consolidate its service to its members… (more)

The 2013 Presidential Excellence Awards of the Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa were conferred during a formal banquet to showcase the quality of work done by the association’s member companies over the past year… (more)

The South African Equity Workers’ Association (SAEWA) has demanded a number of changes to the Collective Agreement of the National Bargaining Council for the Electrical Industry of South Africa (NBCEISA)… (more)

Speaking at an ECA(SA) Presidential Awards function in Johannesburg, ECA(SA) national director Jill Godden said the electrotechnical market has “tremendous potential”, yet is subject to great change… (more)

There are certain situations in which the discipline of arrested employees may be considered fair: The employee was able to return to work after being released, but failed to do so for no good reason. The employee’s crime brought the name of your business into disrepute. The employee’s crime affected the trust relationship between him and his employer… (more)

A number of conflicting and confusing messages have been circulated to electrical contractors about the ECA(SA), the Electrical Contracting Board (ECB) and the Department of Labour (DoL) over the past few months. This notice explains the role and functions of these organisations to clarify any misconceptions or misunderstandings that may exist… (more)

Last month, we indicated that a common trend in terms of trade test failures is centred round the non-isolation of control circuits despite the fact that the main circuit has been isolated. The purpose of the mains isolator is to isolate the total circuit, both the incoming feeder line (single phase or 3-phase) as well as the control circuit. If the mains isolator is off and the control circuit can still be activated, the candidate will fail. This month we look at what seems to be less lethal initially, but can have severe consequences for the electrician. The purpose of earthing an installation is to guard every electrical installation and appliance against the effects of leakage currents, static charges and lightning discharges… (more)

Past ECA(SA) national president Reg Mayne has passed away on 15 July 2013. Reg has devoted many years of his life to the wellbeing and benefit of the building and electrical industries. He has also served his community in KwaZulu-Natal as a municipal councillor for 23 years. He came to South Africa in 1947 after having served in the RAF during World War II. Here, he was employed as an electrician in Bloemfontein before founding his own business, M&L Electrical, which is still in business today… (more)

One of the most satisfying experiences of an apprentice’s life is when he hears the magical words, “you have passed”, “you are competent” or even, “I’ll have a double on you tonight!” This also heralds the end of being called an apprentice and now the big world calls out yonder for the qualified person to truly begin the journey of gaining experience with more decision making powers… (more)

An employee who has been found guilty in court, sentenced and put in prison won’t be able to work until he is released and may be dimissed for incapacity. Please note that you cannot just dismiss him for having a criminal record. You also cannot fire him/her for not being able to work as a result of his/her sentence. Unless you can show that, operationally, you as an employer cannot be expected to keep the postion open until he/she is released… (more)

The term “transformation” basically means “to change from the present condition to a new condition”. A very easy example of transformation is the change from the old, large circuit breakers we used to have in domestic switchboards which took up lots of space. The advent of the MCB resulted in at least a 50% reduction in space, together with all its other benefits. This transformation has a benefit for all of mankind from a technical perspective… (more)

I announced in my 2012 Annual Report, which was recently published in Vector, that it would be my last annual report as national director as I would be retiring early in the new year. It took a while to find my successor, but now that we have I have announced to the ECA(SA) National Executive Committee that it is time for me to go… (more)

Increasingly, the electrical contracting industry in South Africa has no alternative but to resort to the media to demand solutions to problems that are being ignored by the regulatory authorities. Needless to say, this is a sad, unhealthy state of affairs and most likely indicative of an erosion of accountability and a growing sense of indifference among those who make the laws and supposedly enforce them… (more)

We are often faced with the situation at the ECA(SA) offices where a prospective employer, student or parent calls and queries the requirements for taking on apprentices or furthering a career as a wireman. In many cases the learner, parent or employer is disappointed because the student lacks maths or has chosen maths literacy, which is not the equivalent of maths… (more)

How long have you been associated with the ECA(SA)?

Some 35 years ago, I travelled to Johannesburg for a formal interview to see if I was considered “ECA material”. The interview was conducted by about five people – and they weren’t very friendly either. They asked all sorts of questions, some of which didn’t even pertain to the electrical industry! After about an hour of interrogation they excused me. The next morning, they let me know that I had been accepted and I have been a member of the ECA(SA) ever since. I was elected vice chairperson of the then Pretoria branch in the late 1980s and kept the position throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s…  (more)

On 16 October 2012 a formal function was held at the offices of the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) at which the ECA(SA) signed a memorandum of understanding with the CETA and entered into a contract stipulating that the CETA would finance three of four special projects we submitted to it to the value of  R4 050 500… (more)

The ECA(SA) has struggled in addressing the challenges faced by the industry with regard to training and development for over a year now. These challenges were mostly due to the industry’s move from the Energy SETA to the Construction SETA. These challenges included the following: Lack of registration of apprenticeship contracts; Huge backlog in issuing of trade test certificates; Expiry of accreditation of some of the industry’s training centres and trade test centres… (more)

Members who are paying Skills Development Levies (SDLs) are reminded that they could claim back 50% of levies paid. This is on condition that they complete and submit a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) for 2012/2013 and an Annual Training Report (ATR) for 2011/2012 to the construction Ceta no later than 30 June 2012… (more)

So much is happening in the electrical contracting industry that it is important that I try and keep members up to date. In the March issue of Vector I explained at some length what was taking place on a number of fronts, and in the April issue there was a report on the press conference we held in Johannesburg on 15 March at which our president, Mark Mfikoe, was very critical about how the energy and construction SETAs have bungled training in the Industry. So, what are the latest developments?… (more)

As employees gain confidence in the light of the protection they get from the various labour laws and from the CCMA, they tend to become less subservient to the point where they refuse to obey instructions. To the employer, such insubordination is a nightmare. This is especially true where the employer is taken by surprise and is ill-equipped to deal with insubordinate employees. Because true insubordination goes to the heart of the employment contract, it is vital that both employer and employee fully understand what is expected… (more)

Our experts solve readers’ technical problems — Electrical contracting often presents problems which, when solved by experts and shared in a forum, can be turned into learning opportunities. Working in co-operation with the ECA(SA) and other experts, Vector now provides such a forum. Our expert for this issue is Cecil Lancaster… (more)

The ECA(SA) Facebook presence is working well and allows users to post questions or raise issues that are answered by the ECA(SA) panel of experts. It is also a great place for posting relevant information about our industry… (more)

Electrical contracting often presents problems which, when solved by experts and shared in a forum, can be turned into learning opportunities. Working in co-operation with the ECA(SA) and other experts, Vector now provides such a forum. Our expert for this issue is Cecil Lancaster… (more)

Electrical contracting often presents problems which, when solved by experts and shared in a forum, can be turned into learning opportunities. Working in co-operation with the ECA(SA) and other experts, Vector now provides such a forum. Our expert for this issue is Cecil Lancaster… (more)

The 2011 edition of the “ECA Schedule of Rates” has been finalised and is now available from regional offices. The document is for use by ECA member companies in good financial standing. While the format and layout of the document have not changed, a number of new features have been introduced… (more)

Energy usage in buildings will be promulgated soon under SANS 10400-XA and one of the energy efficiency interventions which will become mandatory is the installation of thermal insulation in buildings. Thermal insulation installers are required to take additional electrical safety measures to protect themselves and home or building owners… (more)

An independent contractor is a person who contracts to do work for another person according to his or her own processes and methods; the contractor is not subject to another’s control except for what is specified in a mutually binding agreement for a specific job… (more)

It is common cause that there are three grounds on which an employee’s services may be terminated, namely misconduct, incapacity due to ill health or poor work performance and, finally, operational requirements… (more)

CMH Datcentre Durban has announced that ECA (SA) members qualify to buy vehicles virtually at cost price, with only pre-delivery inspection, licencing and registration costs added. Contact Ridwaan Mahommed directly for pricing or queries on financing… (more)

The ECA(SA) has now been given permission by the chief inspector in the Department of Labour to produce and sell to its members its own pads of blank certificates of compliance/test reports to its members… (more)

The trustees of the Electrical Development Training Trust Fund are proud to announce that Calvin Moore has recently graduated at the University of the Witwatersrand. Calvin gained a BSc Degree in Electrical Engineering after being supported by bursaries from the trust fund for the past four years… (more)

An employment contract is a basic and vital employment right. Our collective agreement is silent on the obligation of an employer to provide an employee with such a contract, so one must look to the applicable statutes in place… (more)

South African law is quite clear – all electrical installation work must be carried out under the control of a registered electrician, and any such work must be accompanied by a proper certificate of compliance issued by a registered person… (more)

Here are some of the salient changes proposed by the four labour law bills that have become so topical these days. The chairperson of the SACCI Labour Portfolio Committee has captured the essence of the changes… (more)

When you dismiss an employee you have to prove you had a good reason, and you followed fair procedure. In law we refer to the former as “substantive fairness” and the latter as “procedural fairness”… (more)

Early in 2005 Marc Yorinda approached the Electrical Development Training Trust Fund for a bursary to study electrical engineering at Wits University. Marc was a Rwandan refugee who arrived in South Africa after having “walked and hitch hiked” from Rwanda… (more)

 There are various ethical aspects that health professionals must comply with which are regulated in the ethical and professional rules of the Health Professions Council of South Africa. Failure to comply with these rules may lead to appropriate action being taken against a health practitioner. The importance of these rules to employers is that they also regulate, among others, the issuing of “sick notes”… (more)

Members who have been in business for many years have described 2010 as the worst they can remember. There was an alarming decline in the amount of work available… (more)

The act seems to be directed mainly at suppliers of goods but it also deals with the suppliers of services, and this is where the contractor comes in. I have picked out a few “nasties” which I think contractors ought to be aware of… (more)

Notice is hereby given that the 61st national annual general meeting of the association is to be held at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre, Viewpoint Road, Boksburg on Friday, 26 November 2010 at 14h00… (more)

After many years of both the ECA(SA) and employers having to deal with the dysfunctional Energy SETA, it was placed under administration on 17 September 2010… (more)

Following three meetings between the ECA(SA) and SAEWA, the negotiations for the wages and conditions of employment for all employees falling under the jurisdiction of the NBCEI have almost been concluded. There is only one important outstanding issue which will hopefully have been resolved by the time you read this article… (more)

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