CCMA must make do with its budget allocation - Nxesi

Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has urged the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to make do with what it had as pressure mounted for the entity’s budget cuts to be reversed.

FILE: Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi. Picture: @deptoflabour/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has urged the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to make do with what it had as pressure mounted for the entity’s budget cuts to be reversed.

The CCMA has had to stop using about 500 part-time commissioners who worked on labour dispute resolution since last December due to R617 million being cut from its budget as part of government’s spending reprioritisation.

Minister Nxesi was not sympathetic to the CCMA’s dilemma in his wide-ranging interview with Eyewitness News, saying that it would be unrealistic to expect business to continue as usual despite the fiscus’s revenue challenges and high debt rates.

"We’ve not been able to give them the numbers which they want, they’ll have to do with the lesser numbers like everybody is doing. What is important between those CCMA commissioners and the inspections which are supposed to be dealing with serious violations. That is also public employment services which is a programme for young people to talk about training. Those programmes are equally important."

The CCMA received a total of R978 million from Treasury during the 2019/2020 financial year.

Even before the cuts, the entity had already been complaining that its budget was insufficient to cover the high caseload.

Nxesi said that the CCMA should be able to deliver on its mandate if there was reprioritisation.

"All we need to do is to reprioritise our own expenditure as departments and also the CCMA but the reality is that to think there will be extra money that will be reversed and so on because somebody can ask you, why would you not cut on the CCMA but cut on education. They are all very basic services which are needed. You have to do your programmes within what you can afford."

Last week, labour federation Cosatu said that it would approach Cabinet over the issue as it threatened the rights of workers to fair labour dispute resolutions among other services provided by the CCMA.

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