Article 5/2023

Throughout an employee’s career, spanning approximately 40 years, he worked around noisy, heavy machinery. Following a hearing assessment when he was 59, he was declared to be permanently unfit for his normal duties due to noise-induced hearing loss. He was, therefore, forced to retire permanently before the age of 65.

What is the content of the presumption entailing that such noise-induced hearing loss took place in the course of the employee’s employment?

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In Knoetze v Rand Mutual Assurance (2022) 33 SALLR 4 (DGJ), it is submitted that the high court
followed the following correct approach:

  • s65(1) of COIDA contemplates two kinds of diseases:
    • a disease mentioned in the first column of Schedule 3 (a listed occupational disease) and
    • a disease other than a disease contemplated as a listed disease (a so-called non-listed
      disease)
  • hearing impairment (being a listed occupational disease), in terms of s66 of COIDA, is presumed
    to have arisen out of and in the course of employment unless the contrary is proven (which, in
    casu, could not be proven by Rand Mutual Assurance, licensed for assessing and making
    payment of claims for compensation)

With reference to Potgieter v Samancor Chrome Ltd t/a Tubatse Ferrochrome (2022) 33 SALLR 190 (LC) and Van Rensburg and Others v Department of Justice and Correctional Services and Others (2022) 33 SALLR 280 (LC); (2022) 43 ILJ 2110 (LC).

In what instances does the jurisdiction of the supreme court of appeal trump the jurisdiction of the labour appeal court?

Where an employer prematurely terminates a fixed-term contract and the employee challenges such termination as being unlawful and claims damages and not specific performance, the labour court has up to now ordered damages even though same is an unliquidated claim for damages.