Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has welcomed the decision by the high court, which dismissed a recent application to expel former second deputy president of Numsa Ruth Ntlokotse.
The expelled former Numsa second deputy president failed in her latest legal attempt for an interim order to set aside her expulsion from Numsa and have it declared unlawful.
Ntlokotse, who was expelled from the union in May, launched an urgent application in the high court in a bid to overturn the decision of the union to expel her on multiple counts of misconduct.
Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said Ntlokotse’s urgent application was dismissed from the urgent court roll because the judge could not find any evidence to justify the exceptional circumstances under which her matter needed to be heard on an urgent basis.
“Numsa welcomes this decision because we argued that there was absolutely no justification for urgency.
“Ntlokotse failed to demonstrate what harm she is going to suffer if she does not receive the urgent relief that she hopes the court will grant her.
“Thankfully, the judge agreed with us and swiftly handed down a ruling, immediately dismissing the application after hearing the matter,” Hlubi-Majola said.
This week, Numsa called for the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) to remove Ntlokotse from her position as Saftu president following her expulsion from Numsa. Numsa said having Ntlokotse at the helm of the federation was against the Saftu constitution.
Justice Maier-Frawley said in her judgment that the test for urgency is not harm or inconvenience.
The latest defeat has put Ntlokotse on another collision course with Numsa, who last week authored a letter to Saftu requesting that she be removed from the federation as she does not qualify to be its president as she is no longer an office bearer.
The judge said there was no basis for the applicant to still seek substantial relief in due course to protect his or her rights.
The court also found that Ntlokotse had relied on generalised statements that lack factual foundation" to justify the matter being heard on an urgent basis.
Hlubi-Majola said Ntlokotse was unable to explain to the court why she deliberately chose to delay launching the urgent application sooner.
“She knew of her expulsion on the 7th of July 2023 and launched this application on the 31st of July for a hearing, eventually today on the 24th of August. In other words, from the date of knowing about the expulsion until the setting down of this matter, a date chosen by this applicant, being a Thursday, a period of more than 6 weeks has lapsed, which has not been satisfactorily explained,” the judge said.
Hlubi-Majola said the union has been vindicated by the latest ruling, as the application lacked merit and was not necessary.
“Numsa welcomes the decision of the court and also the cost order. This was an unnecessary waste of the court's time and that of NUMSA members whose membership dues are being wasted in defending these matters. The fact that she will have to foot the bill for the legal costs is very good for the union and for our members.
“We are a busy union, and we would prefer to spend our time and the resources of the organisation defending workers and defending jobs instead of entertaining useless court challenges launched by individuals who have no respect for internal democracy within the union,” she said.
The second part of Ntlokotse’s application to set aside the decisions of the last national congress, which elected the new leadership and took place in July last year, will be heard next year.
Attempts to get a comment from Saftu were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.
This week Saftu said it intended to address matters relating to Ntlokotse during a press briefing that was to be held on Thursday.