File picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Push for CCMA to return to full functionality amid huge backlog

By Chevon Booysen Time of article published Apr 22, 2021

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Cape Town – The Open CCMA Campaign has again called for the full functionality of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), to attend to what it said was a huge backlog of cases and for budget cuts to be reversed.

Yesterday, the Open CCMA Campaign, supported by a number of worker organisations, demonstrated outside four CCMA offices across the country, saying it will continue their protest action until its demands are met.

Campaign spokesperson Songezo Mazizi said the picket occurred at offices in Cape Town, Benoni, Johannesburg and Welkom.

“We want the CCMA offices to reverse their budget cuts, in which they deducted R90.1 million from the 2020/21 budget, with projected cuts over a three-year period have been reduced from over R600 million to R301 million.

“They had also confirmed that part-time commissioners would begin to hear cases again, starting from April 1, which is not the case. There is currently a huge backlog of CCMA cases which (mostly) are resultant Covid-19 cases. We are calling for the CCMA to be opened and to be fully functional again,” said Mazizi.

This week, the Western Cape CCMA office was closed and workers were told to go online and make submissions online, he said.

“We know that marginalised workers either do not have access to the internet or do not know how to use the internet at all.

“Currently, people going to the Cape Town offices are being told to get their referral forms at a nearby coffee shop and people have to pay R5 for that. These forms are normally freely accessible when CCMA offices are open,” said Mazizi.

According to a statement by the campaign, their core demands – as detailed in a memorandum handed to management – include an immediate reversal of the budget cut, a significant expansion of the CCMA budget, for the full reopening of the CCMA’s walk-in facilities, permanent employment of all part-time commissioners, and for a total transformation of the culture and practices of the institution, which they said had become explicitly anti-worker.

Acting CCMA director Xolani Nduna said they are aware of the protest action.

“The CCMA notes the demonstrations, as part of the Open CCMA Campaign. The purpose of the stakeholders engagements was to share information with stakeholders and clarify misinformation in the public domain.

“Despite a reduced budget, the CCMA continues with its efforts of expeditious dispute resolution, using alternative service delivery mechanisms, in a bid to safeguard the health and safety of users and staff,” said Nduna.

On referral forms, allegedly being sold to CCMA clients, Nduna said the clients are not referred to third parties to obtain such forms.

“The CCMA does not refer users to buy CCMA forms from any third party. CCMA forms are free, and are accessible on the CCMA website and online referral platforms,” said Nduna.

Cape Times

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