As the country continues to institute processes to deal with the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has decided to close all offices from Tuesday 18 March until Tuesday 14 April 2020 unless otherwise directed.
This is done in line with the directives received from the President and the Department of Health as well as the guidelines issued by the Department of Public Service and Administration and the protocols of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
This effectively means:
- All contact processes (face-to-face meetings) are postponed – this includes all matters scheduled to take place from 18 March until 14 April, and no persons will be allowed to walk-in for enquiries or to deliver/serve processes or documents.
- The CCMA will accept non-contact methods of communication such as email and fax.
- Discretionary functions such as, but not limited to, training and conferences are postponed. (See exception.)
- Pre-conciliation processes will continue as these are conducted via telephone.
- Conciliations may continue if all parties agree to proceed via telephone.
To mitigate the pending backlog, Commissioners may attempt to resolve disputes using telephonic or online methods as approved by the CCMA.
It is important for all parties involved to not allow any perceived pressure (stated or otherwise) to influence their resolutions into premature settlements.
The normal processes of the CCMA will resume at the appropriate time, and cases that are unresolved at that time will be resumed and continued as normal.
In terms of discretionary functions of large scale dismissals and Inquiry by Arbitrator processes that are deemed to be in the public interested, the CCMA may approve a venue that is not in the CCMA offices provided such venues meet the required, strict conditions:
- All Health and Safety directives, guidelines and protocols as listed (See above) are met.
- All parties agree to this alternate venue in writing.
The CCMA will continue to asses the situation as it unfolds and take any additional steps or precautions as deemed necessary and will communicate any updates as they become available.