[14] There are no angels in this matter.  The major problem that the court has had in determining this application is this: neither the ‘employers’ nor ‘employees’ in this case appear to have been motivated in their actions by employment related issues.  Rather power politics was at play.  This is why there was no strike or lock-out, no matters of mutual interest or rights disputes raised as issues in the disputes between them.  On both sides of the divide persons were united not because of their different interests arising from an employment relationship, but because of other allegiances.  The situation of certain employees being outside of the building containing their workstations, and a police presence guarding the entrance to that building, arose from factors unrelated to employment relations.  One may pose the following question: Should our employment legislation (hard fought for by previous generations) and the labour court be used to adjudicate these type of battles?

Mokapane v Mogalakwena Local Municipality (J 244/15) [2015] ZALCJHB 97 (18 March 2015)

Date heard:     04 March 2015          Delivered:       18 March 2015


[1]        The applicants, some 160 employees brought an urgent application seeking an order directing the respondent to pay amounts deducted from their January 2015 salaries.   The application is therefore in essence for a final mandatory interdict.   The application was first set down on 24 February 2015 when Steenkamp J granted an order by consent which resulted in the applicants returning to the workplace.   The remaining relief sought was postponed for hearing on 4 March 2015 with costs of the 24th February to stand over.

[2]        The context and background to the application may well be somewhat disheartening to those citizens who rely on municipal services provided by the respondent.   The founding affidavit records that the council of the municipality has been racked by conflict and strife between two factions of the African National Congress which has an overwhelming majority of seats on the council of the respondent.   For our purposes it is only necessary to record that one of the factions was opposed to the suspension of the municipal manager, Mr Shella William Kekana, (the Kekana faction).   The other faction favoured his suspension (the anti-Kekana faction).