The Staff Wire

We are Moving!!

Monday, 05 January 2015 11:07
Dear Clients and candidates we are starting 2015 with a bang!! We will be moving to our new premises in January 2015 - watch this space for more details!!!

Dear Darling: Daddy’s a spy

Thursday, 04 December 2014 12:14
All parents lie to their children, but how do you tell your child you're a professional spy, spending your days snooping and digging around people's business and activities, albeit in the interest of justice?

I believe most fathers worry about what their children think of them, but it is a particularly delicate issue when you are the figurehead of South Africa's most noted investigation and undercover services provider. I've run clandestine projects for news reporters, banks, investigative TV shows and businesses across the board. I have recruited, trained and deployed undercover operatives for the past 22 years, often resulting in arrests, convictions and even divorces.

By day, we are a South African family, raising our child as normally as most others ... schooling issues, children's parties, holidays, etc. But, "by night", I am the owner and MD of a company responsible for costing thousands of crooked, thieving employees their jobs. I cannot begin to put a figure to the amount of people my teams have exposed or had arrested and dismissed, nor how many theft syndicates we have brought down. Death threats targeted towards me and my management team are as regular as the potholes in a road after the Summer rains.

This is a life my daughter does not need to know about until, maybe, her teens. I believe I need to cut her into my 'real world' when I feel she is emotionally able to process the job I do and why we do it, but the bigger concern for me is exposing her to the fact that our world is not all roses, with one out of every three employees, at some point, stealing from their employer.

I have asked the same question to some of my operatives who live in the bigger townships and who are at greater day-to-day risk than I am and, generally, the answer is a vague response about never telling their kids that they are spies working to uncover the criminals in their assignments.

This is hard to do because, why would you not want to proudly tell your kids about how you are contributing to the war against crime? However, the consequences of innocent 'child talk' could and would be dire.

Working undercover does contain a touch of troubling deceit and we all worry about how this might be perceived. Explaining certain things to my own daughter can be an art form and, admittedly, I don't always get it right. But, keep trying, I will! My most important mission is to maintain my daughter's trust and respect.

Written by: Kyle Condon, MD of D&K Management
We find clients often only verify candidate's previous jobs. The failure by many of our clients to carry out qualification verification checks could have serious repercussions resulting in unqualified employees being appointed to positions for which they lack the necessary skills.

"We feel that employers come up short when it comes to checking qualifications and, in fact, other background information on potential and current employees. There have been several high-profile cases recently where high level employees are in possession of fraudulent degrees, hence, they're unable to physically perform the job they were employed to do. I know that fake and fraudulent qualifications are far more prevalent than most employers realise – it's incredibly common for job applicants to lie on their CV's about their qualifications and this is why it's essential for employers, both private and government, to verify all information on a candidate's CV", says Jacki Condon, head of our verifications department.

She points out that even though it's fraudulent to produce fake qualifications, which employers are within their rights to lay charges against, it doesn't mean that these people can be summarily dismissed. Processes have to take place, including a disciplinary hearing.

If an employee lies about having a criminal record, the employer might have to prove that this lie made it impossible for the worker to perform his duties properly. For example, if an employee hired as an accountant has a minor record for speeding, this wouldn't impact on his job performance. If it was a police officer, it would be a different matter as they're in a position of trust.

It is Jacki's opinion that it should be standard practice for all government departments, in fact, all companies, to verify all information supplied by job applicants and not to merely take their word that all the information on their CV is accurate – this also relates to certificates provided – there are way too many fake certificates that employers accept as true purely because it's a certificate. Anyone with a computer, printer and scanner can make a certificate look very authentic!

In most cases, employers merely call a reference on a CV to confirm employment. This person could be a friend or family member of the candidate, who's been 'prepped' that they might receive calls. This is also the case when it comes to certificates – just because there's a contact telephone number on a certificate it doesn't mean that it's a bona fide certificate.

There has been an increase in the number of fake degrees in South Africa by prospective job applicants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and a new entrant to this market is Ghana with its Cape Coast University of Technology being the principal contributor to false degrees.

Companies, especially small and medium sized enterprises don't realise how vulnerable they are to this issue, with the smaller companies not being prepared to spend the nominal amount of money to do proper, comprehensive verifications on new employees. The nominal amount spent on this will, in the long run, save the company a lot of money and headaches – don't allow your biggest asset to become your biggest threat!

Medical certificates by traditional healers

Thursday, 04 December 2014 12:13
Do medical certificates issued by traditional healers have to be accepted by employers? While there does not appear to be an obligation to do so at present, indications are that it will be soon become a reality.

As of 1 May 2014 certain provisions of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act ("the THPA") came into effect. The most important development is the establishment of the Interim Traditional Health Practitioners Council of South Africa ("the Council").

At first glance it would seem that the door is now open for registered traditional healers to issue medical certificates as proof of incapacity in terms of Section 23(2) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) of 1997. (In terms of this section, a medical certificate will only be valid if it has been issued and signed by a person who is certified to diagnose and treat patients and who is registered with a professional council established by an Act of Parliament.) However, it would seem that employers do not have to recognise a medical certificate issued by anyone purporting to be a traditional healer at this stage. The reason is that the THPA envisages several regulations to be made by Minister of Health in consultation with the Council. These regulations would deal, amongst other things, with the management and control over the registration, training and conduct of practitioners.

The administration of health care by traditional healers is very different to that of conventional Western medical practitioners. This raises the question as to what extent this will be apparent in the way traditional healers are regulated. It would be interesting to see what standards are set for a person to qualify for registration, as well as how their conduct would be regulated. There is cause for concern if one considers the extent to which sick leave is abused despite the relatively strict requirements surrounding the registration and conduct of medical practitioners currently registered in terms of the Health Professions Act of 1974 (the "HPA").

There is also the question as to whether the content of a certificate would be prescribed in accordance with a set of ethical rules, as is the currently the case with health practitioners registered under the HPA. If not, the potential for abuse is even greater.

So what should employers do while we wait for the regulations to be promulgated? An employer who receives a medical certificate issued by person who claims to be a registered traditional healer does not have to accept it as proof of illness in terms of s 23 of the BCEA. Once registration with the Council becomes possible, however, employers should insist that certificates from traditional healers, like those from medical practitioners generally, contains a registration number with the Council itself (not with any associated body). This may then be verified with the Council if there is any doubt about its authenticity.

Article written by Jan Truter of Labourwise is an on-line labour relations service aimed at assisting employers with the implementation of effective labour relations. They can be contacted via the website or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..