A party to legal proceedings who files and then withdraws an application for leave to appeal cannot apply again because it has ‘clearly and unequivocally conducted itself in a manner that is inconsistent with the intention to appeal’.  Apart from dealing with that issue Steenkamp J also discussed the principles relating to condonation and a challenge to the  discretionary award of costs.  After being advised by a number of ‘legal specialists’, including senior counsel, that it had no prospects of success on appeal the union engaged the services of the Socio-Economic Rights Institute, a donor-funded institution, to represent it in the abortive application for leave to appeal.

Sambo v Steytler Boerdery (C592/2013) [2015] ZALCCT 20 (25 March 2015) per Steenkamp J.


[1]     The twelfth applicant, CSAAWU, seeks leave to appeal against the costs order only of my judgment handed down on 4 June 2014. The application for leave to appeal is eight months late.  It also seeks condonation.

[2]     The twelfth applicant is the Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers’ Union (CSAAWU). Its activities are focused on the agricultural sector, rather than stevedoring or other commercial activities.  It represents eleven of its members who were dismissed by the respondent, Steytler Boerdery.  After this Court had dismissed its referral for lack of jurisdiction, the union re-referred an unfair dismissal dispute to the CCMA.  Conciliation was successful.  Steytler Boerdery reinstated all of the workers bar one (who had found other employment) without backpay, by agreement and by way of settlement.

[3]     The union seeks leave to appeal only against the following order:

“The applicants are ordered to pay the respondent’s costs, including the costs of counsel, jointly and severally, the one paying, the other to be absolved.”

[4]     I will deal with the merits of that application under the heading of prospects of success in the condonation application.