The CCMA welcomes the judgment of the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) confirming that a CCMA award, certified by the Director of the CCMA, may be enforced without the need for a writ to be issued by any court.
The 2014 amendments to section 143 of the Labour Relations Act of 1995 made provision for the enforcement of an arbitration award issued by a commissioner and certified by the CCMA Director, as if it were an order of the Labour Court in respect of which a writ of execution has been issued, unless it is an advisory award.
Notwithstanding the above, the Labour Court (LC) on the 6th of November 2015, in Bheka Management Services v Kekana and others and in MBS Transport CC v CCMA and others made an orderdismissing two urgent applications to stay the enforcement awards issued by the CCMA and certified by the Director. The LC declared that the CCMA does not have jurisdiction to issue writs of execution in respect of awards issued by it and that employees must still get a writ issued by the Registrar of the Labour Court to enforce an award ordering the payment of money. The CCMA sought and obtained leave to appeal the judgment of the LC.
The LAC handed down its judgment on the 28th of June 2016 and set aside the order of the LC. The LAC acknowledged that the CCMA does not issue writs in the conventional way as the LC seems to have mistakenly understood in the above mentioned case. The LAC took the view that “a certified award should not only be assumed to be an order of the Labour Court but it must also be assumed that a writ has been issued in respect of that order” The effect of the judgment of the LAC is that a certified arbitration award may be enforced without the need for a writ to be issued by any court or the CCMA.
According to CCMA Director, Cameron Sello Morajane, the judgment is a victory for social justice because it enables the CCMA to expedite the execution of awards as envisaged by the legislators. It simplifies the previous time consuming and expensive procedure where an employee would get an award in his or her favour at the CCMA and thereafter would be required to go to the Labour Court and apply for the award to be made an order of the court before such award could be enforced.
Morajane said the CCMA is committed to social justice and delivery of speedy, cost effective and easily accessible services to the labour market.
Issued by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration
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