Western Cape NUMSA secretary must be reinstated CCMA rules
Vuyo Lufele was suspended after raising concerns about 3Sixty Life, a funeral insurance company owned by the union
Vuyo Lufele, the suspended Western Cape Regional Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), must be reinstated, CCMA Commissioner Jacques Buitendag ruled on Monday. Lufele must report for duty on 3 July.
Lufele was one of several leaders suspended by the union after they raised concerns over the running of 3Sixty Life, a funeral insurance company owned by the union.
Lufele challenged his suspension in the CCMA.
NUMSA did not attend the proceedings which took place earlier this month.
Buitendag, in his ruling, said he was satisfied that NUMSA had been properly notified of the proceedings, hence he ruled that the matter could proceed in its absence.
Buitendag said the issue before him was whether NUMSA had committed an unfair labour practice by suspending Lufele.
In his evidence, Lufele said he was placed on precautionary suspension with pay by the General Secretary in September 2022, after he raised questions about the National Manufacturing Workers Investment Trust.
Lufele said his suspension was unfair for several reasons. The General Secretary had not sought approval from regional office bearers and the national executive committee, as he was required to do by the union’s disciplinary code and its constitution. The code also stipulated that suspension without charges shall not be for a prolonged period.
Lufele testified that a disciplinary hearing, convened in December 2022, had not taken place because the chairperson had recused himself.
He submitted that he “cannot explain himself to members and is unable to compete for any position within NUMSA” while on suspension.
Buitendag agreed with Lufele’s submissions.
He said even if his suspension was valid, which he did not believe it was, there was no evidence of an objective justifiable reason that he had been suspended for more than nine months.
“The applicant cannot be suspended indefinitely, and he has clearly been prejudiced … because it affects his career,” Buitendag said, finding the suspension to be invalid and unfair, and ordering NUMSA to lift the suspension with effect from Friday 30 June.
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