The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) will not be able to do 43% of the cases referred to it from 1 April 2021 due to severe budget cuts.
Cameron Morajane, Director of the CCMA, says the CCMA no longer has the money to use part-time commissioners and this will severely impact its ability to deal with cases. He predicts that the current backlog of 11% of cases will worsen rapidly.
“Please don’t think that the CCMA is useless. The CCMA must adhere to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and we cannot spend money that we do not have. You can prepare yourself that part-heard matters will be delayed for six months and longer. That is where we are heading,” Morajane warned.
According to the CCMA’s annual performance plan for the 2020/21 financial year, there were 173 full-time commissioners and an estimated 565 part-time commissioners resolving disputes at the CCMA.
Morajane says till last year the CCMA did very well, but now he must make do with what he can afford. “The result is that cases can only be placed to be heard when there are Commissioners available.”
He addressed the Federation of Trade Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) 2021 Leadership and Collective Bargaining Conference with the theme, “Unity in action during Covid-19”.
The United National Transport Union (UNTU) is affiliated to Fedusa.
According to Morajane the CCMA are involved in 277 000 events which include the Section 189 retrenchment processes in terms of the Labour Relations Act. “The CCMA’s resources to assist in 189 processes are severely strained.”
The CCMA also had to stop the training programmes it provided nationwide and can only continue with online training.
National Treasury cut the budget of the CCMA by R270 million.
The CCMA is a world class institution mandated to advance economic development, social justice, labour peace and the democratisation of the workplace, amongst others.
Morajane says the implementation of the Disaster Management Act by Government to combat the spreading of the Covid-19 pandemic, created a lot of uncertainty in the workplace which ultimately end up at the CCMA.
The caseload of the CCMA is increasing annually.
Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU, says the budget cuts will be to the detriment of vulnerable workers as it will take much longer to finalise arbitrations.
“The CCMA has always been a fast and effective way to handle disputes in the workplace. This has been of great help to the Labour Court which is also overburdened. Currently parties wait more than two years for cases to be placed on the court roll of the Labour Court,” says Harris.
Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, UNTU Media, Liaison and Communication Officer. For UNTU press statements e-mail Carstens at email@example.com or phone 082 463 6808.