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: 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: 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: The principle of legality in constitutional matters with reference to Masiya v Director of Public Prosecutions and Others 2007 (5) SA 30 (CC)
This article, co-authored by LLB student Lesega Mnguni and Justin Muller as part of our ALAD programme (see Who We Are) deals with the principle of legality as enunciated in Masiya v Director of Public Prosecutions and Others 2007 (5) SA 30 (CC). In this matter an accused person was charged with rape after committing a grossly indecent sexual assault on a nine-year-old girl.Although the act in question did not fall within the common law definition of rape, the Regional Court felt justified in developing the common law definition in terms of section 39 of the Constitution to include the act in question and duly convicted the accused. The High Court upheld this decision. The article examines the reasoning of the Constitutional Court in determining the meaning of the principle of legality and applying the right to non-retrospective punishment, as entrenched in section 35(3)(l) and (n) of the Constitution, under extremely sensitive and challenging circumstances.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: The growing informalisation of work: Challenges for labour
Rudi Dicks discusses the South African phenomenon of “informalisation” of the workforce, which is characterised by workers shifting from permanent employment to casualised and fixed-term contracts, outsourcing and employment through labour brokers.These forms of employment are accompanied by, lack of job security, undermining of basic conditions of employment, erosion of workplace rights and decreasing access to skills and equity at work. The author considers the effects of the process and concludes by suggesting measures to provide legislative protection to vulnerable workers, including the establishment of a tripartite statutory body to regulate labour brokers; the development of a code of good practice for workers engaged in atypical employment contracts and improving monitoring and enforcement mechanisms through tougher penalties.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: Communications before the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights 1988-2002
This article gives an overview of the work of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights with regard to individual communications from its first decision in 1988 until the end of 2002. The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights was established in 1987 after the entry into force of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights in 1986.The Commission received its first individual complaint in 1987 but did not take a decision on it until October 1988. By the end of 2002 the Commission had taken around 100 decisions on communications submitted to it under the individual communlcations procedureDownload full text.