The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) notes the outcome of the court application that was launched by the President of SAFTU, comrade Ruth Ntlokotse to interdict NUMSA from implementing the decision of its Central Committee to uphold an earlier NEC decision to dismiss her as a member of NUMSA.
Judge Avrille Maier-Frawley dismissed the application and argued that she was not convinced that it was urgent or warranted an immediate relief. She ruled that she could get a redress in a course when Part B of her application is heard. The court estimated that Part B, by which she is applying to set aside will take place in three months.
The SAFTU National Executive Committee (NEC) held its normal NEC on the 21 – 23 August 2023 and resolved:
1) To seek a legal opinion on two matters:
a) How should SAFTU as a federation relate to the fact that the constitution of SAFTU categorically gives her affiliates autonomy to manage their affairs, which includes a right to discipline members? The SAFTU constitution categorically states that a leader dismissed by their unions cannot serve as leader of the Federation. Yet, simultaneously, a member dismissed challenges the dismissal where SAFTU is cited as a respondent.
b) How should SAFTU relate to the fact that its constitution gives workers and shop stewards a right to be nominated in their capacity in the SAFTU structures, and yet, in this case, NUMSA has, in line with its constitution, disciplined and expelled a member for exercising the right the SAFTU constitution provides to the SAFTU President and other members.
2) SAFTU should attend the case and must get a lawyer to have a watching brief on the case in order to ensure her interests are protected.
3) SAFTU, whilst obliged by its constitution to relieve the President now that NUMSA has expelled her, will, however, wait for the legal opinion and the High Court decision being held on Thursday, 24 August 2023.
4) It is obvious that, should the High Court affirms the decision of NUMSA to expel the SAFTU President as a member, the Federation will have no choice but to abide by the decision, which means the President will no longer be able to lead the Federation. In this case, a Special NEC should be convened to take this inevitable decision.
5) If the High Court grant the President the interdict, it would mean that the Federation cannot apply the provision of its constitution as the Federation operates in the context of the rule of law, the constitution of the country and the Labour Relations Act.
At this moment the Court has not affirmed the decision of NUMSA to expel the SAFTU President. If that was to happen SAFTU “will have no choice but to abide by the decision”.
Secondly, SAFTU will also wait for the legal advice referred to above. Should it be necessary based on the legal advice the NEC will be convened.
Ruth Ntlokotse remains the President of the federation in line with clause 4 of the NEC resolution.