EFF fails to find common ground with former employee

2020-01-19 21:50

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has failed at the first hurdle to find conciliation between the EFF and its former employee Frans James.

The primary basis of the case is James contesting his dismissal because of misconduct, but another major issue he is tackling is a salary dispute.

Commissioner Charles Dell issued a certificate for the case to be postponed.

The matter will move to the arbitration stage at the next sitting on February 24.

“The arbitration process will resume exactly at the given time. If all parties consent, the commissioner might suspend the arbitration proceedings and proceed to resolve the dispute through conciliation. Failure to attend might result in the matter being dismissed,” the CCMA notice read.

The first hearing was in Bloemfontein on Friday when James was represented by the SA Liberated Public Sector Workers’ Union, and the EFF’s human resources manager, Nomhle Ngcobo, appeared on behalf of the party.

Shortly after the hearing James posted on social media: “The employer has applied for postponement of the hearing to get legal representation. We are aware of the infamous tactic to delay and drain aggrieved staff financially and legally until they can’t go on anymore.”

James previously told City Press that he was dismissed after demanding to be paid back more than R500 000 in deductions made by the party since September 2016, when he was employed by the red berets.

READ: EFF dragged to CCMA over salary deductions

He claimed the EFF paid him only R20 000 of that amount and, after tax, he took home R17 186.

He said this meant the EFF deducted R14 500 every month for the three years he was employed by the party.

He claimed the party withheld his bonuses that were due in January, his birthday month.

James said he was ready for the next step of the dispute resolution process because he could possibly call key witnesses who could help to strengthen his case and expose the red berets.

In addition to this, James was preparing a case for unfair labour practice and his lawyer, Andre Bornman of Van Wyk and Preller, would submit papers to the Labour Court, he said.

James told City Press that the EFF was considering taking legal action against him, arguing that he had caused it reputational damage. He said the basis of the claims was that he fabricated the story which he relayed to several media houses two weeks ago.

The threats were allegedly made by Ngcobo during the conciliation sitting.

“The reason for the postponement of arbitration is because she said they wanted legal representation because they had suffered reputational damage and wanted their lawyers to be present. She was stopped by my union representative [Thabang Setsumi], who told her reputational damage was a case that didn’t belong to the CCMA,” James said.

He said he had not been deterred by Ngcobo. This was a “do or die” situation, he said.

“It’s obvious she ... [is trying] to further intimidate me. Something she has been enjoying doing since the whole thing started. It’s nothing compared with what I’ve been subjected to by an organisation I helped form. The membership forms were drafted by myself way back in 2013,” said James.

“I will go to any lengths to get justice for myself and others who didn’t have the courage. I despise injustice; that’s why I’m a revolutionary,” he said.

James previously accused Ngcobo of having been part of a group of people within the party who had tried to get rid of him after he complained about the salary deductions.

In the letter, dated December 12, the party said he was being dismissed for “gross misconduct involving negative social media remarks that bring disrepute to the EFF”.

That was when he decided to take the matter to the CCMA, he said.

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March 29 2020