The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has introduced a free digital platform for people to refer conciliation and arbitration disputes and make enforcement or condonation applications.
It was introduced to help ensure efficient and effective case referral and application processes, which are also safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CCMA has seen large numbers of people visiting its offices to file referrals.
Labour minister Thulas Nxesi said for the month of April, there were 1,682 referrals — mostly dealing with retrenchment applications and dismissals.
Nxesi said between April 1 and May 27 the CCMA received cases affecting 28,000 employees.
Physical hearings started on May 18 and offices opened for physical referrals or walk-ins on May 20.
“By providing users with a means of referral that does not involve physical travel to CCMA offices, the digital referral and application platform aims to contribute to the minimisation of the further spread of the Covid-19 virus, improve efficiency and relieve users of unnecessary travel and further administrative costs,” CCMA director Cameron Morajane said.
The digital referral and application platform went live on Monday.
The CCMA said the platform was subject to strict online security provisions and had a number of referral and application forms.
These included the LRA Form 7.11 used to refer disputes to the CCMA for conciliation and con-arb hearings. Con-arb hearings provide for a speedier one-stop process of conciliation and arbitration for individual unfair labour practices and unfair dismissals.
The platform also has LRA Form 7.13, which is used to request an arbitration process where parties have not managed to resolve the dispute at conciliation.
There is also a condonation application form for late referral of alleged unfair dismissal.
This is for employees who have been dismissed and who have not met the prescribed time period (30 days from date of dismissal or from the date of the outcome of the appeal) within which the matter must be referred to the CCMA.
Morajane said the digital referral and application platform formed part of a broader long-term plan as envisaged in the new organisational five-year strategy, to strengthen the information technology communication infrastructure to enhance service delivery.