Protesting NPOs call for CCMA to open to the public amid pandemic


NPOs are demonstrating outside the CCMA's offices, calling for it to allow walk-ins and do away with part-time commissioners.
• The organisations demonstrated outside the Johannesburg, Benoni and Welkom offices.
• They are also calling for the institution's budget to be increased.

Several organisations are demonstrating outside the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration's (CCMA) offices, calling for, among other things, walk-ins to be brought back at facilities.

About 46 organisations were taking part in the campaign, Edgar Mokgola, the organiser at NPO Casual Workers' Advice Office, said on Wednesday. Mokgola added demonstrations took place outside CCMA offices in Johannesburg, Benoni, Cape Town and Welkom.

The organisations are calling for the facilities to open to the public with part-time commissioners hearing cases and all necessary Covid-19 protocols in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

According to GroundUp, the CCMA stopped using part-time commissioners and had only been functioning with full-time ones. It reported that according to the institution's latest annual performance plan for the 2020/21 financial year, at that time there were 173 full-time commissioners and an estimated 565 part-time ones resolving disputes.

Business Day reported in November the CCMA said it would no longer be able to operate at full capacity after an upcoming R617 million budget cut. CCMA spokesperson Amos Tshabalala confirmed to News24 it was aware of the demonstrations at its offices.

Tshabalala said the CCMA was not commenting on the issues brought by the organisations, but would first meet with stakeholders and thereafter hold a media briefing to divulge the issues.

The organisations who are demonstrating believe the CCMA's budget should be increased to meet the growing number of cases. Mokgola said they had engaged with the CCMA but were told it had no control over the budget because that was the jurisdiction of the government. He added they were calling for the institution to put pressure on the government to increase it. They want the immediate appointment of more full-time commissioners and banning of part-time ones acting for employers during the transition period.

Mokgola said the CCMA was now no longer allowing walk-ins but referred people to present their cases online. "We are saying CCMA must open to [the] public because workers are vulnerable now.

This situation has been benefitting the bosses in the expense of workers because they know this process [the online platform] delayed cases and bosses were not affected," he added. READ | Financial constraints compel the CCMA to review operations and reprioritise spending The organisations were also calling for, among others: The creation of a mechanism allowing workers and communities to report corrupt commissioners, anti-worker commissioners and hold to account disrespectful staff. Scrapping Rule 25 and giving all workers the right to representation at the CCMA, regardless of whether they are members of registered trade unions or not.

The redirecting to the CCMA of the existing DEL [Department of Employment and Labour] funding to Productivity SA and Nedlac. A restructured DEL that includes an increased budget, increased inspectorate that can assume enforcement functions currently entrusted to the CCMA and dismissal of staff responsible for corruption in the UIF and Compensation Fund.

News24

25 Mar 2021