Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union obo Rantho and others v Samancor Western Chrome Mines
(JA62/19)  ZALAC 46; (2020) 41 ILJ 2771 (LAC) (1 October 2020), unreported (Coppin JA, Murphy AJA & Kathree-Setiloane AJA)
During 2013, AMCU members engaged in two unprotected strikes over a demand that the union be recognised as the sole bargaining agent in two of Samancor’s mines. After the second strike, the company dismissed 158 of those members who were on final warning for the first. All but one admitted that they had joined the second strike.
The Labour Appeal Court (LAC) ruled the dismissals of all 158 fair. This was the issue in AMCU’s appeal, which shows how careful employers must be when issuing ultimatums to unprotected strikers.
Mahlasela / Patensie Citrus Ltd
(CCMA case no. ECPE3639-20 dated 08/10/2020, unreported (Commissioner F Sauls)
Like most people, Ms Mahlasela was terrified of catching the Covid-19 virus. She told her supervisor at the farm on which she worked as a seasonal worker that she wanted to stay at home, and he agreed.
A few days later Mahlasela changed her mind and returned to the farm and told her supervisor that she had reconsidered her decision because the virus was “everywhere”. Her supervisor told her that if she was still worried, she should go home again. Mahlasela did so until the season had closed. She was then told that she no longer had a job.
Mahlasela claimed in the CCMA that she had been unfairly dismissed, which the company denied.
Mzolo v Rhodes University and another
(Eastern Cape Grahamstown High Court case no. 2481/2020 dated 04/12/2020, unreported (Jikela AJ)
Mr Mzolo, a law lecturer, was charged with sexually harassing and intimidating a student and accusing the university of racism. An external presiding officer acquitted him of the first charge, found him guilty of the second and issued him with a final written warning.
The university was outraged with a process which it regarded as plagued with irregularities and an outcome which it said was irrational. Instead of taking the ruling and sanction on review, which it could have done, the university convened an internal review committee and invited Mzolo to attend. Mzolo went to the High Court, seeking an order halting the review.
NUM obo Members / PPC Cement SA (Pty) Ltd
(CCMA case no. ECPE5063-20 dated 29/11/2020, unreported (Commissioner N Bisiwe)
May employers pull out of multi-year wage agreements if circumstances change and they can’t afford promised increases? PPC Cement was confronted with this question when NUM claimed that its members were entitled to the 6.5 increase set for mid-2020.
The company told its employees that it simply couldn’t afford the increase after the Covid-19 lockdown and that to grant it would lead to retrenchment. All but a handful of NUM members in Port Elizabeth agreed to forgo the increase.
South African Broadcasting Corporation SOC Ltd v Phasha
(JA 36/2019)  ZALAC 50 (27 November 2020), unreported (Phatshoane ADJP, Davis JA & Savage AJA)
Ms Phasha, general manager at the SABC, was charged with misconduct. She and the corporation agreed to a hearing conducted by a CCMA commissioner in terms of section 188A of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA). But after the hearing had been set down, Phasha asked the commissioner to recuse himself.
The matter was postponed, and the CCMA assigned another commissioner to preside. On learning that this commissioner had dismissed Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng, she applied for his recusal as well. This time, the commissioner ruled that there was no basis for his recusal.
By now the SABC had had enough.