In a landmark ruling, the Johannesburg Labour Court has imposed a hefty R1 million fine on Magnus Loubser, a Spar director in Polofields Crossing, Midrand, after he repeatedly refused to reinstate Kelvin Moyo, an employee whom Spar had unfairly dismissed.
According to IOL, the contempt of court charge was levied against Loubser for his failure to adhere to a prior court order instructing the reinstatement of Kelvin Moyo, who had filed a complaint of unfair dismissal with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA). The CCMA ruled in Moyo’s favour, declaring his dismissal unfair and ordering Spar to reinstate him on March 9, 2022.
Despite Moyo tendering his services on the specified date, Spar, under Loubser’s direction, adamantly refused to reinstate him. Left with no recourse, Moyo returned to the CCMA, initiating a certification process for the arbitration award. Despite repeated appeals to Loubser, Spar disregarded the certified arbitration award.
Union officials from the Entertaining Catering Commercial Allied Workers Union of South Africa (ECCAWUSA) warned Loubser of further actions if he failed to comply with the certified arbitration award, but these warnings were ignored.
In the courtroom, Judge GN Moshoana expressed strong disapproval, noting that the case exemplifies the tendency of employers to treat arbitration awards with disdain. Instead of addressing the order, Spar and Loubser diverted their efforts into opposing the application on what the court deemed weak technical grounds.
Judge Moshoana dismissed Loubser’s arguments, including the claim that he only became aware of Moyo’s arbitration award when served with the contempt order application on October 3, 2022. The judge found this version inconsistent with that Loubser had been informed of the March 9, 2022 arbitration award.
The court held Loubser accountable as a director, stating that he was responsible for ensuring Spar’s compliance with legal obligations. The fine of R1 million imposed on Loubser is wholly suspended, conditional on his reinstating Moyo within 30 days. Additionally, Spar and Loubser are required to cover the costs of the application.
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