MEDIA Release: The FMF will not oppose COSATU's application to intervene


Cosatu applies to the High Court to intervene in Free Market Foundation’s
legal challenge to collective bargaining law.
FMF will not oppose despite solid grounds to do so.

  14 August 2013
Release Immediate



Cosatu applies to the High Court to intervene in Free Market Foundation’s
legal challenge to collective bargaining law.
FMF will not oppose despite solid grounds to do so.

  14 August 2013
Release Immediate



On 31 July 2013, the deadline by which to lodge responses to the FMF’s High Court challenge to the Labour Relations Act section 32, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) filed an application to intervene as a respondent. Despite solid grounds on which to do so, the FMF has decided not to oppose their application and will abide by the court’s ruling.

FMF Chairman Herman Mashaba said: “We are keen to resolve this matter quickly in the interests of the country and of the 7 million unemployed citizens in SA today, especially young people. We wish to get a court date as soon as possible and therefore, on legal advice, have decided to allow Cosatu to approach the court unopposed. However we wish to make it very clear that we do not believe that Cosatu has a good case to intervene.”

FMF attorney Craig Kirchmann said that there are two very sound legal reasons why Cosatu does not have a solid case to intervene.

1.    COSATU has no direct interest in the case; and
2.    There is no reason why COSATU’s evidence cannot be presented through one of the current respondents.

Kirchmann also said that as early as 28 May 2013, the FMF advised COSATU, that it would consent to the union participating in the proceedings as an amicus curiae: friend of the court and ,as such, entitled to be heard when the matter is argued. However, an amicus curiae is not entitled to place evidence before the High Court.

Mr. Mashaba said: “The FMF will now seek a date for the hearing and we will update the media as soon as this is confirmed or as events unfold".

He continued: “This legal challenge is a very serious business for the FMF and not one which we have undertaken lightly or without significant thought and advice from many diverse quarters. We would have preferred not to take the legal route, but all other avenues being closed or delayed, we believe this is a just and right course of action. Through this legal challenge, we are giving voice to the man, woman or youth who has no choice but poverty, deprivation and loss of human dignity through the scourge of unemployment. If by our court action, we can make a difference to some of our desperate citizens then we must proceed for the sake of our country and our children’s future”

Business Leaders and Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus have recently lent support for an easing of the labour relations legislation and the removal of S32 which allows the extension of collective bargaining agreements to third parties.


Notes for Editors
1.   The Legal Challenge
On 4 March 2013, the FMF filed a constitutional challenge in the Gauteng North High Court to Section 32 of the Labour Relations Act 1995. This clause allows collective agreements on wages and conditions to be extended to employers who were not party to the negotiations and is a significant factor in preventing job creation especially among small and medium enterprises.

50 respondents were cited including the Minister of Labour, Minster of Justice and Constitutional Development and the 48 bargaining councils in South Africa.

By the deadline of 31 July 2013, the Minister of Labour and 27 bargaining councils filed notices of opposition and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development had advised that he will not be opposing the application.

Although not obliged to do so, the FMF has agreed to an extension beyond the 31 July deadline to allow all other respondents until 31 August 2013 to file their answering affidavits.

This concession by the FMF is to allow all respondents to have their views properly represented in the interests of the country and fairness.

2.  Unemployment Statistics
•    4.7-million people are actively looking for work
•    2.3 million discouraged from seeking jobs
•    2.1 million under-employed South Africans
•    12% of those between ages 15-24 have a job.

3. About the FMF
The Free Market Foundation (FMF) is an independent, non-profit, public benefit organisation, created in 1975 by pro-free market business and civil society national bodies to work for a non-racial, free and prosperous South Africa. As a policy organisation it promotes sound economic policies and the principles of good law. As a think tank it seeks and puts forward solutions to some of the country’s most pressing problems: unemployment, poverty, growth, education, health care, electricity supply, and more. The FMF was instrumental in the post apartheid negotiations and directly influenced the Constitutional Commission to include the property rights clause: a critical cornerstone of economic freedom.

The FMF has a wealth of information in papers, articles and opinion pieces available on the website which can influence the public debate and present alternative policies to the people of South Africa. Please look at

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