Justice Anton Steenkamp in Myburgh v Barinor Holdings (Pty) Ltd (C820/13) [2015] ZALCCT 1 (28 January 2015) at para [12]

What can be gleaned from these authorities, it seems to me, is that the Court must not defer to the employer’s decision; it must decide whether the decision to dismiss was fair under the circumstances.  However, the Court need not decide whether dismissal was ultimately the only solution; it must merely decide whether the decision to dismiss was a fair one, given the circumstances that prevailed at the time and the process followed, i.e. whether the parties embarked on a meaningful joint problem-solving exercise or consensus-seeking process.

[13] Perhaps the most succinct summary is to be found in the dictum of Murphy AJ, as he then was, in SATAWU v Old Mutual (2005) 26 ILJ 293; [2005] 4 BLLR 378 (LC) para [85].

“The test formulated by the legislature in the 2002 amendments [to s 189 of the LRA] harkens back to the principle of proportionality or the rational basis test applied in constitutional and administrative adjudication in other jurisdictions.  As such, the test involves a measure of deference to the managerial prerogative about whether the decision to retrench is a legitimate exercise of managerial authority for the purpose of attaining a commercially acceptable objective.  Such deference does not amount to an abdication, and as stated in BMD Knitting Mills (Pty) Ltd, the court is entitled to look at the content of the reasons given to ensure that they are neither arbitrary nor capricious and are indeed aimed at a commercially acceptable objective.  The second leg of the enquiry is directed at the investigation of the proportionality or rationality of the process by which the commercial objectives are to be achieved.  Thus, there should be a rational connection between the employer’s scheme and its commercial objective, and through the consideration of alternatives an attempt should be made to find the alternative which least harms the rights of the employees in order to be fair to them.  The alternative eventually applied need not be the best means, or the least drastic alternative.  Rather it should fall within the range of reasonable options available in the circumstances allowing for the employer’s margin of appreciation to the employer in the exercise of its managerial prerogative.  The formulation of the test in this way adds nothing new.  It simply synthesises what has already been said in Discreto and BMD Knitting Mills.  The two decisions are not entirely at odds with one another.  They are simply elucidations of the governing principle that the decision to dismiss must be operationally justifiable on rational grounds, which permits some flexibility in the standard of judicial scrutiny, depending on the context.”

[14] It is against that background that the decision to dismiss the applicant must be tested.