General Motors (Pty) Ltd v Numsa obo Ruiters (PA 8/12) [2015] ZALCPE 2; [2015] JOL 32752 (22 January 2015) per Ndlovu JA.

LAC summary:  Review:  Dismissal on ground of incapacity – Onus – Duty of employer to investigate all possible alternatives short of dismissal, accords with onus, on employer, of proving fairness of dismissal – In casu, issue of specific alternative placement of employee raised both at incapacity inquiry and arbitration, but not pursued and properly investigated by employer.

Coram: Ndlovu JA, Molemela and Sutherland AJJA

Heard: 25 March 2014    Delivered: 22 January 2015

Disallowed appeal against LC’s judgment remitting the matter for fresh arbitration.

Ndlovu JA


[1] This is an appeal against part of the judgment and order of the Labour Court (Lagrange J) handed down on 11 May 2012.  The Court a quo granted the appellant leave to appeal.

[2] The appellant, General Motors (Pty) Limited, carries on business of car manufacturing and has its principal place of business in Port Elizabeth.  On 6 October 2003, the appellant and the respondent trade union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA or the union) concluded a collective agreement, known as the “Sick Absence Control Procedures” (the SACP), which came into effect on 7 October 2003.  The SACP was the culmination of deliberations between the appellant and the union following upon the employees’ industrial action that had carried on for some time, having been occasioned by the dispute over the appellant’s ‘sick absence’ policy.

[3] NUMSA instituted this litigation on behalf of two of its members, namely, Mr Ruiters and Ms Chantel Charmaine Piet.  However, given the fact that the appellant succeeded in its review application in relation to Piet’s matter, this appeal was lodged only in respect of Ruiters.