FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Be careful what you wish for…?
Roger Ronnie draws a balance sheet of the position of the trade union movement today. While analysing trade unions as organisations dealing with more than simply wages and employment conditions, the author also considers their political limitations and assesses the gains and losses flowing from the 1995 LRA from a trade union perspective.In particular, the advent and growing entrenchment of “trade union legalism” within South Africa’s capitalist system is highlighted. The article concludes by making recommendations on how trade unions can try to avoid these pitfalls and promote the rights of workers more effectively.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Labor Law for the 21 st century: Stalled reform in the United States
This document by Karl Klare, an eminent labour law scholar and one of the originators of the critical legal studies tradition in the USA, is a slightly shortened version of his submission to the Dunlop Commission, appointed by President Clinton to investigate the future of management-labour relations in the USA. Critically reviewing the development of the US system of collective bargaining, Klare elaborates a more general analysis of the role of labour law at the close of the 20th century.From a South African perspective, it highlights the advances in labour rights embodied in the LRA, but also helps to identify areas where further innovation may be called for. It offers a challenging framework for evaluating the debate surrounding the LRA and other labour statutes in this country.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: A summary of some cases on HIV/AIDS
Sam Rugege provides concise commentary on two important recent judgments involving discrimination on the basis of H!V/AIDS. The first is a decision by the South African Constitutional Court in Hoffmann v South AJrican Airways  I I BCLR 121 1 (CC) based on the constitutional equality clause.This case raised important issues relating to the extent to which employers can justify discrimination on the basis of the requirements of a job or the perceived prejudices of the public. In addition. novel questions arose in relation to the appropriate remedy for unfair discrimination in cases where an employer has refused to employ applicants on the basis of their HIV status. The second case is a decision of the Namibian Labour Court in N v Minister of DeJence (2000) 21 ILJ 999 (NmLC). The applicant in this case was refused employment in the Defence Force because he tested HIV positive. The court found that this constituted unfair discrimination as envisaged by the Namibian Labour Act of 1992 and ordered the applicantÆs enlistment subject to a medical test.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Effects on the employment relationship of the insolvency of the employer: A worker perspective
Peter Carolus, Thierry Galani Tiemeni and Kurt Ziervogel, look critically at the Insolvency Act prior to the amendments of 2002 and the limited protection it gave workers on the insolvency of the employer. The effect of the Act was that workers’ contracts of employment were automatically terminated by their employer’s insolvency, leaving them with a limited preferent claim against the employer’s insolvent estate.The authors discuss how the 2002 amendments to the Insolvency Act and the LRA addressed these problems by providing for the suspension rather than termination of employment contracts in the event that the business can be saved or sold as a going concern. They also discuss the right of workers as creditors to appoint their own liquidator to supervise the liquidation process and conclude with a detailed examination of challenges faced by trade unions on issues arising from the insolvency of employers.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Towards a more activist parliament more engaged with civil society - F1
This contribution consists of the edited text of a speech delivered by Yunis Carrim at the launch of the Community Law Centre’s Parliamentary Programme in Cape Town on 20 October 2010, and is reproduced here because of the importance of the issues it addresses in the context of South Africa’s evolving democratic practice.The central conclusion is that "neither Parliament nor civil society organisations are sufficiently recognising the value of effective engagement between them. Yet if they worked creatively together they would be able to put the executive under more pressure to deliver more effectively. ... The state alone cannot ensure a significant improvement in service delivery and development. ... So new opportunities are opening up for a more active role for civil society organisations. Let us make creative use of this. It’s over as much to you as it is to Parliament to do so. Are you up to it?"Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Fair trial rights, freedom of the press, the principle of “open justice” and the power of the Supreme Court of Appeal to regulate its own process
In this case study Wium de Villiers discusses the Constitutional Court’s endorsement of the SCA decision in SABC Ltd v National DPP and Others, to the effect that it would only allow Shabir Shaik’s application for leave to appeal to be broadcast if it was satisfied that it would not inhibit justice.Professor de Villiers argues that section 12 of the Constitution should be recognised as a generic residual due process right, analogous to that of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which would lead to a substantial reduction in the inconsistencies in the Constitutional Court’s jurisprudence revealed by that decision.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: African case law review
Sam Rugege's report on recent cases of interest to the African continent focuses on one of the recent Zimbabwean land invasion cases, highlighting the tension between a court system seeking to maintain the rule of law and an executive resistant to it. It also discusses a case relating to the customary law of succession in South Africa.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: South African court rules on the state's obligation to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV
In Treatment Action Campaign and Others v Minister of Health and Others 2002 (4) BCLR 356 (T) the Pretoria High Court found in favour of the Treatment Action Campaign and others and against the Minister of Health on the issue of mother-to-child HIV transmission. The steps taken by the state in this regard, it was held, were not in compliance with its duty to take reasonable measures to achieve the progressive realisation of the right to access to health care services.On appeal, the Constitutional Court in Minister of Health and Others v Treatment Action Campaign and Others (1) 2002 (10) BCLR 1033 (CC) similarly found that existing state policy fell short of the constitutional standard and ordered the state to ôdevise and implement within its available resources a comprehensive and co-ordinated programme to realise progressively the rights of pregnant women and their newborn children to have access to health services to combat mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Geoff Budlender, who acted as attorney for the applicants in the High Court and subsequently in the Constitutional Court, provides a brief comment on the context and controversies surrounding the justiciability of socio-economic rights.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Enforcement difficulties in the public and private sectors
John Brown examines the enforcement of CCMA arbitration awards in terms of the LRA, as well as the enforcement of private arbitration awards in terms of the Arbitration Act of 1965. The author analyses relevant case law and highlights the real practical difficulties facing worker litigants in enforcing arbitration awards in their favour. ”.The final section of the article deals with the enforcement of collective agreements and settlement agreements. The essential role of bargaining councils in monitoring and enforcing collective agreements is also highlighted. The article concludes that “[t]he challenge facing the labour movement is to equip its organisers with the legal knowledge and drafting skills to negotiate and draft agreements which best promote the interests of workers and avoid legal pitfalls when trying to enforce agreements which are challenged by an employerDownload full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: The plight of domestic workers: The elusiveness of access to adequate housing
South Africa’s transformative Constitution calls for a holistic approach to realising the right to human dignity. To marginalised groups, such as domestic workers, this right is not confined to achieving better wages and working conditions; it touches every aspect of their lives. Central to this endeavour is the quest for adequate housing. This article discusses the experience of a housing cooperative consisting predominantly of domestic workers in campaigning for adequate housing, especially at local government level, as part of the struggle to achieve a secure and dignified existence. While identifying formidable obstacles, it also shows the interconnectedness of the various challenges and the need for a integrated approach in addressing them.Download full text.