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Office of the President (OP)
Government not in Contempt
27/07/10

The Government wishes to take this opportunity to respond to recent allegations in the media to the effect that the Government is in contempt of court and has not implemented the orders of the courts in two matters involving some trade unions.  The Government would like to state that the said allegations are inaccurate and misleading. 

The correct position is as follows:

1. The first matter was before the Industrial Court and involved four trade unions and the Commissioner of Labour.  This was an urgent application seeking an order to set aside the decision of the Commissioner of Labour to decline the trade unions' application for industry recognition.  The matter was actually never argued in court.  Instead a settlement agreement was entered into between the parties, as a result of which the matter was withdrawn by the trade unions;

2. The terms of the settlement amongst others, required the Commissioner of Labour to withdraw the decision to decline the trade unions' application and that was done.  It also required the Commissioner of Labour to publish a notice in the Government Gazette and in a newspaper of national circulation calling upon interested parties to make representations in accordance with section 34 (3) of the Trade Disputes Act;

3. The Government would like to state that steps have been taken towards advertising as agreed. 

4. The second matter is still pending before the High Court.  It involves an urgent application by some trade unions.  Preliminary points were raised by the Government and the court has ruled on those and issued a rule nisi which is returnable on 13 August 2010.  The parties will therefore appear before the High Court on 13 August 2010.

5. It is clear therefore that this matter is sub judice and the Government does not intend to discuss it publicly.

In conclusion, the Government would like to categorically state that it respects the rule of law and therefore will always comply with the decisions of the courts of law in this country.  The allegations of contempt of court in the media are therefore baseless and unfounded.

 

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