Cameron Morajane, the director of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

JOHANNESBURG - The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) is so overwhelmed with the more than 188 000 cases it is dealing with  that it has partnered with the Department of Labour for office space as it buckles under pressure.

South African companies are axing employees to mitigate the economic downturn, among other factors. 

Cameron Morajane, a director of the CCMA, delivering the 2016/2017 annual report in Johannesburg yesterday (Tuesday),  said the partnership with the labour department was because of the “strain as we are above the threshold of what our offices can handle as a result of the caseload”.

This is despite the CCMA's footprint of 22 offices spread across South Africa's nine provinces. Morajane said the commission had saved 25 196 jobs, which is 52 percent of the 48 448 jobs at stake.

“To us, if anything, we take pride in this (saving jobs),” said Morajane, who called on the labour market to engage them on retrenchments. “The call we are making to the labour market is that let us be offered the opportunity to intervene where dismissals are going to take place. Please invite us, let us bring our specialist commissioners and save those jobs,” he said.

Over the two decades of service, the CCMA registered about 2.7 million referrals, about 800 000 arbitrations, and 1.8m conciliations were heard. 

CCMA acting chairperson Sifiso Lukhele, said despite the case-load of the commission registering at 188 449 during the period under review, “the CCMA ensured that expeditious dispute resolution was delivered”.

On average the CCMA  took 24 days to complete the conciliation process from the date of referral, against a legislated target of 30 days. 

Morajane described the CCMA as a “liquid institution that meets its obligations” but pointed out that it was not enough to rely on government grant to execute their mandate. He said the CCMA received its entire funding from the fiscus through grant transfers from the labour department.

“An increase of 5 percent on the government grant over the previous year brought the total to R770.5m. This grant transfer was augmented with interest received from investment income (R17.7m) and income earned from rendering of services (R4.6m),” said Morajane.

He said the organisation continued to be in a “financially healthy position, with cash and cash equivalents closing at R89.2m, equivalent to a 1:1 cash cover ratio, and a current ratio of 1:4:1”.

The net assets, as of March 31, were R62m. However, Morajane said it had become evident that the CCMA’s allocated grant “is becoming insufficient”. “A  comprehensive campaign has been embarked upon to solicit income generation concepts. It is envisaged that these efforts will significantly contribute to the financial stability of the CCMA in a cost containment environment,” he said.

The CCMA recorded total revenue of R794 038m, compared to R755 217m the previous year.