CCMA Procedure

The Top 4 Questions Answered About the CCMA Procedure in South Africa

Have you just been unfairly dismissed or retrenched? Then you need to go to the CCMA. Today, businesses need to be very careful about the way in which they treat their employees. In South Africa, employees have rights and South Africa’s Constitution guarantees that these rights are met. Interestingly, while many employees know about the CCMA, they are still very unaware of the procedure to follow in order to successfully refer their disputes. If you’re in the dark about the CCMA procedure, we’ve highlighted four extremely common questions that we get asked all the time, which will help and guide you through this very difficult time.

#1 What is the CCMA?

Aimed at promoting fair practices in the work environment, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) is a dispute resolution body established in terms of the Labour Relations Act, 66 of 1995 (LRA). Founded on the principle of conciliating first before arbitrating, the CCMA can either bring a business to its knees or it can shut a dishonest employee down, but that all depends on their defence and how accurate they were in following the correct LRA and CCMA procedure.

#2 How Much Does It Cost to Refer a Case to the CCMA?

As an independent authority that resolves labour disputes and provides advice and training on labour relations, the CCMA does not belong to and is not controlled by any political party, trade union or business. Independently run and funded, employees at all levels can bring a case against an employer who has treated them unfairly for FREE. In fact, in addition to the thousands of cases handled by the Labour Court, Labour Appeal Court, bargaining councils and private arbitration forums – the CCMA deals with over 100 000 cases relating to unfair labour practices each year.

#3 How Many Days do I have to Lodge a Complaint with the CCMA?

Unfortunately, this is where many employers and employees go wrong. Whether you’ve been bullied, unfairly discriminated against, or unfairly dismissed, it is very important that you take steps immediately. The longer you wait, the greater the chances of your case being dismissed. The statutory CCMA time periods for referring disputes are as follows:

  • Unfair Dismissals – employees wishing to refer disputes arising from unfair dismissals must do so within 30 days.
  • Unfair Labour Practices – claims for unfair labour practices must be referred within 60 days from the date that the dispute arose.
  • Discrimination – employees who feel that they have been discriminated against are required to refer their dispute to the CCMA within a period of six (6) months.


#4 How Do I Begin the CCMA Procedure?

The first step would be to complete a referral form (also known as an LRA Form 7.11.) which is available from the CCMA offices, Department of Labour and the CCMA website ( Once you have completed this form and the dispute has been correctly identified, the form needs to be delivered to the other party by way of one of the following: registered post, fax, by hand or email. A second copy of the 7.11 form will also need to be delivered to the CCMA together with proof that the 7.11 form was delivered to the other party. Once the CCMA has received your copy and proof that the other party has received their copy, they will allocate a date for the hearing.

Today, work disputes can take many forms and whether you’re an employer who has found yourself on the wrong side of the LRA or an employee who has been unfairly dismissed without a fair reason – you’re going to need CCMA legal assistance. To learn more about the CCMA procedure or to enquire about affordable representation from one of South Africa’s top labour law firm – contact Allardyce & Partners at or on 011 234 2125.

NB this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You are advised to consult with us before using/relying on this information.

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