NEHAWU Western Cape Welcomes The Labout Court Judgement Interdicting The Department Of Agriculture, Rural Development And Land Reform From Proceeding With A Disciplinary Hearing Using External Lawyers
Tuesday June 14, 2022
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] in the Western Cape welcomes the decision of the Labour Court interdicting the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform [DALRRD] from proceeding with a disciplinary hearing involving a lower paid employee using external lawyers as presiding officers. The union had vehemently opposed the use of external lawyers as presiding officers as this is against the principles of the signed collective agreement [Resolution 1 of 2003].
The Labour Court issued its judgement on the 13th of June 2022, following our urgent application interdicting the department from continuing with the hearing pending the outcomes of the dispute referred by the union on behalf of our member.
As NEHAWU, we are very clear that the use of external lawyers as chairpersons, and instigators is totally prohibited by Resolution 1 of 2003, which statements amongst others that; In a disciplinary hearing, neither the employer nor employee may be represented by a legal practitioner, unless –
• The employee is a legal practitioner or the representative of the employer is a legal practitioner and a direct supervisor of the employee charged with misconduct, or • The disciplinary hearing is conducted in terms of paragraph 7.3 c”.
The facts in this matter involving our member had nothing to do with paragraph 7.3 (c) of Resolution 1 of 2003, in that this was never a hearing by an arbitrator, and we were against the use of tax-payers money to appoint external lawyers. Unfortunately, this fell on deaf ears of the Chairperson of the hearing, whom for obvious reasons was a beneficiary of tax-payers money as a result of being paid to render services even though this matter did not even need a legally qualified person to understand that the appointment was outside the labour prescripts leading to wasteful expenditure.
Lastly, this interdict must be understood as a warning shot to all employers in our province that NEHAWU shall use every means possible to defend workers, against employers who are hell-bent in dragging our members to disciplinary hearings even using means that are outside the law book.
Issued by NEHAWU Western Cape Secretariat
For more information, please contact: Cde Baxolise Mali (NEHAWU Western Cape Provincial Secretary) at 066 3050 591 or Baxolise@nehawu.org.za Or
Cde Lucky Bopape (Western Cape Provincial Deputy Secretary) at 083 719 0692 or email: LBopape@gmail.com