CCMA saw ‘unanticipated’ increase in case load in 2018/9

Legislative changes and large-scale retrenchments the leading causes.
CCMA director Cameron Sello Morajane says its expanded mandate, together with increasing job losses, is putting a strain on the dispute resolution body. Image: Moneyweb

Changes to legislation led to a far greater increase in the case load of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) than the dispute resolution body had anticipated.

And the numbers are only expected to increase as the new laws coincide with an increasing number of retrenchments, led mainly by automation and artificial intelligence, particularly in the construction, mining and metals industry. 

Read: Changes to SA labour laws: How they will affect individuals and business?

While tabling the annual report for the year to March 31 on Monday, CCMA director Cameron Sello Morajane told journalists that the new jurisdiction – especially the introduction of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) bill and amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), both of which came into effect in January 2019 – had increased the number of referrals made to the CCMA. 

Prior to this, the mandate of the CCMA had been expanded to deal with employment equity matters, including issues of harassment, sexual harassment and violence, which also added to its case load.


In the 12 months to the end of March 2019, a total of 193 732 cases were referred to the CCMA compared with 186 902 the previous financial year. 

Read: CCMA receives over 6 000 wage disputes in four months

Morajane says the case load is projected to increase by a further 25% in the current financial year.

He adds that between January and March 31, the CCMA received 4 237 matters relating to the new jurisdiction of the BCEA alone. These accounted for 80% of the referrals in the three-month period, while the introduction of the NMW accounted for 2%. 

So, as matters stand, we seem to be quite condemned in [terms of] case load increase due to legislative reforms, which are necessary.”


Morajane also shed a light on the number of retrenchment-related cases the commission is dealing with, saying it has been “really kept busy by the large-scale dismissals”.

The CCMA dealt with 38 588 potential retrenchments through its discretionary job-saving strategy – and managed to save 15 787 (41%) of those jobs. Morajane says it “exceeded its targets”.

“One job saved is important, but we took it to 15 000 – on a discretionary function,” says Morajane. “We think it’s a remarkable achievement.”

South Africa’s unemployment rate currently sits at just under 30%, with various sectors, including banking and mining, announcing massive job losses. 

The highest number of job losses was recorded in the building and construction sector, accounting for over 3 500 retrenchments, followed by mining at 3 260. The metal industry accounted for the third-largest lay-off, with 1 740 jobs lost. 

Morajane cautions that these numbers only account for the job losses that were referred to the CCMA, and do not reflect the full picture. 

“There are many of those that are not large scale, happening below the radar, and still contributing to the losses which then subsequently contribute to the 29% unemployment rate,” he says.

More to come 

“Do we see more [retrenchments] happening? Absolutely,” says Morajane.

He says this has also been announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. “He said prepare yourself for a job-loss bloodbath”. 

“We are seeing that, based on the referrals we are getting,” he says. “And business has also announced that we are going to continue with retrenchments.”

Morajane believes the country is in this current state “because of the fourth industrial revolution”. 

Just last month the Labour Court granted Business Unity SA an urgent interdict to stop trade union federation Cosatu and its affiliate banking union Sasbo from proceeding with a national strike – a response to the large-scale retrenchments in the sector underpinned by increased automation and digitisation – that would have brought the banking sector to a standstill. 



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Perhaps if we are lucky the powers and influencers in being will realise a major cause of job losses is the minimum wage implementation beginning 2019.
You cannot meet that expense if the income is not there. And that goes for workers as well, not sufficient income through your productivity no wage increase and if you don’t realise and except that, no job.

Very distressing. The CCMA is at the coal face and knows this space backwards. We are losing jobs due to low growth, AA, minimum wages and hounding rich and clever people out of the country where SOEs are failing, EWC and NHI coming and with a captured judiciary.

Its simple

The more laws and regulations you smother with, the more it suffocates


Laugh out load. Cry after….

Haha, as always on moneyweb one could predict these comments before they appear. Classic.

End of comments.





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