CCMA - Commission for conciliation, mediation and arbitration

The CCMA is an independent body that aims to promote fair labour practices by resolving labour disputes between employees and employers.


Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

CCMA stands for the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Conciliation means to mediate between two disputing parties or groups.
Mediation means intervention in a dispute to resolve it.
Arbitration means a hearing and determining of a dispute or the settling of differences between parties by a person.

What is the CCMA

The CCMA is an independent body that aims to promote fair labour practices by resolving labour disputes between employees and employers.

What is the purpose of the CCMA?

The purpose of the CCMA is to mediate between the disputing parties or groups (the employees and employers) and intervene in the dispute in an attempt to resolve the dispute. If the dispute still remains unresolved a Commissioner of the CCMA is then to hear and determine the dispute and attempt to settle the differences between the parties.

main functions of the CCMA

The main functions of the CCMA:
  1. To attempt to resolve any dispute referred to it in terms of The Labour Relations Act through conciliation.
  2. Arbitrate the dispute if required or if the dispute remains unresolved after conciliation or if any party has specifically requested that the dispute be resolved through arbitration.

The CCMA must attempt to resolve disputes referred to them either through conciliation or arbitration.

Conciliation is resolving a dispute through mediation between disputing parties:

  1. When a dispute has been referred to the CCMA, it must appoint a Commissioner to attempt to resolve the dispute through mediating and conciliation.
  2. The Commissioner must determine an appropriate process to attempt to resolve the dispute and this may include:

  • Mediating the dispute
  • Conducting a fact finding exercise
  • Making a recommendation to the parties


After the conciliation, the CCMA/Commissioner must:

  1. Issue a certificate stating if the dispute has been resolved or not
  2. Serve a copy of that certificate to each party to the dispute or their representatives.
  3. File the original certificate with the CCMA


Arbitration is the hearing and determining of the dispute and an attempt to settle the difference between the parties by a Commissioner.

During arbitration the Commissioner may decide on the most appropriate way to conduct the arbitration to resolve the dispute as fairly and as quickly as possible with the least legal formalities.

A party to a dispute may during arbitration:

  • Give evidence
  • Call witnesses and question witnesses of any other party
  • Address concluding or closing arguments to the Commissioner.
If all the parties consent, the Commissioner may suspend the arbitration proceedings and attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation and conciliation.

The Commissioner must issue and sign an arbitration award with brief reasons within 14 days of the conclusion of the arbitration proceedings.


 A party to a dispute may appear in person or may be represented by a legal practitioner, a co-employee or a member, office bearer or official of the party's trade union or the employer's organization, and in the case of a juristic person (a company or organization), by a director or an employee.

If the dispute being arbitrated is about the fairness of a dismissal, and a party has alleged that the reason for the dismissal relates to the employees conduct or capacity, the parties to the dispute are not entitled to be represented by a legal practitioner in the arbitration proceedings unless all the parties including the Commissioner consent.

award and findings at the CCMA

An arbitration award by the CCMA or Commissioner is final and binding and may be made an order of the labour court.

Author: Kontak Recruitment

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What is the CCMA
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