Article 09/2021

Labour Edge

An employee is not obliged to challenge the procedural unfairness of his or her dismissal in the CCMA.  The employee may also challenge the non-compliance of such procedure with the contractual obligations of an employer.  Such challenge will occur in the labour court and will be for specific performance or the cancellation of the agreement and a claim for damages.  On what basis did the labour court recently, in Wereley v Productivity South Africa and Naidoo NO (2020) 31 SALLR 103 (LC), hold that it is a conceptual mistake to collapse these two causes of action simply because they both concern procedural non-compliance?


  1. It is trite that noncompliance with disciplinary procedures might lead to a finding that a dismissal was procedurally unfair, but the power of an arbitrator is limited to awarding compensation. The CCMA is not empowered to determine the contractual lawfulness of a decision to dismiss an employee, in the absence of complying with a contractually binding pre-dismissal procedure. The contractual remedies for noncompliance with an obligatory procedure remedies are not equivalent to the remedy for procedurally unfair dismissal in the LRA.
  2. In this regard, in Ngubeni v National Youth Development Agency and Another (2014) 35 ILJ 1356 (LC), at paragraph [21], the court held, that; ‘Insofar as the remaining requirements relevant to the relief sought are concerned, there is no alternative remedy that is adequate in the circumstances. Ngubeni has no right to pursue a contractual claim in the CCMA, and the law does not oblige him to have recourse only to any remedies that he might have under the LRA. Equally, he is fully entitled to seek specific performance of his contract, and is not obliged to cancel the agreement and claim damages.’
  3. On the basis of the above differences, Legrange J, in Wereley, held that It is a conceptual mistake to collapse the two causes of action simply because both concern issues of procedural noncompliance.

 

In Minister of Police v M and Others (2016) 27 SALLR 53 (LC); (2017) 38 ILJ 402 (LC), the labour court identified the content of hearsay evidence of a special type affording greater weight than simple hearsay.  What is the approach adopted by the labour court in such case as to the transcript of an internal enquiry admitted as hearsay evidence in terms of s3(1)(c) of the Law of Evidence Amendment Act?  Subsequent to such judgment, the labour court, in Department of Home Affairs v General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council and Others (2019) 30 SALLR 172 (LC); (2019) 40 ILJ 2544 (LC), had the opportunity to apply the approach adopted in the aforesaid judgment to the specific facts of this matter.  In this subsequent judgment, how did the labour court identify such transcript of an internal enquiry as not constituting hearsay of a special type (as required in Minister of Police v M (supra))?

According to the constitutional court, when a referral is made to the CCMA or a bargaining council concerning a dismissal, is it a requirement that the reason for the dismissal (i.e. misconduct, incapacity poor work performance, etc) is also identified in order for such CCMA or bargaining council to require the requisite jurisdiction?

What are the principles governing hearsay evidence as contained in the Law of Evidence Amendment Act 45 of 1998 and applied by the labour court in, inter alia, Swiss South Africa (Pty) Ltd v Louw NO [2006] 4 BLLR 373 (LC) and NUMSA v SA Metal & Engineering Industries Bargaining Council and Others (2014) 25 SALLR 4 (LC)?