Slice of life: A labour of love – and victory

I was very nervous. I had never been at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) representing workers. I’ve always been at the CCMA as an applicant. So for me to go there, it was like that type of moment where you need to prove yourself.

I was nervous but, the moment I got in there and the commissioners started, then all of the experience that I had worked on just flowed in. I then had to tell myself that I could do it and indeed I did it.

We managed to convince the employers to take them back. Those Shoprite workers that we were representing were retrenched back in February, but sometime in August we managed to reach an agreement and they were reinstated — all six of them.

For me that felt like it was a big victory because it was my first case and I’d managed to get the bosses to reinstate them when with most of the companies you can go through the same process and they don’t take the workers back. I had managed to do that with no experience of representing workers at the CCMA.

I was happy. I don’t want to lie, I was very happy. And I took that experience and used it. For me, since I’ve been working at the Casual Workers Advice Office, I have been excelling because I haven’t lost a case.

I like to organise workers because I know I’m good at it. What I like most is to empower other workers to be like me, so that they can represent themselves.

As the Casual Workers Advice Office we won the case against the CCMA at the Labour Court to change rule 30 that said only unions and lawyers can represent workers. I see this as an opportunity for every worker to be strong enough to represent themselves. — Edgar Mokgola, a worker organiser at the Casual Workers Advice Office, as told to Sarah Smit

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments

Press Releases

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

Senwes launches Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella

South African farmers can now help to feed the needy by donating part of their bumper maize crop to delivery number 418668

Ethics and internal financial controls add value to the public sector

National treasury is rolling out accounting technician training programmes to upskill those who work in its finance units in public sector accounting principles

Lessons from South Korea for Africa’s development

'Leaders can push people through, through their vision and inspiration, based on their exemplary actions'

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday