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Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act No. 66 of 1995)

Essential Services Committee Regulations

Part A : General Provisions

4. Powers of the committee



1) For the purpose of performing its functions, the committee may--
a) subpoena for questioning any person who may be able to give information or whose presence at a hearing may help the committee in performing its functions;
b) subpoena any person who is believed to have possession or control of any book. document or object relevant to an investigation or a hearing to appear before the committee to be questioned or to produce that book, document or object;
c) call, and if necessary subpoena, any expert to appear before the committee to give evidence relevant to an investigation or a hearing;
d) call any person present at an investigation or hearing who was or could have been subpoenaed for any purpose set out in these regulations, to be questioned about any matter relevant to an investigation or a hearing;
e) administer an oath or accept an affirmation from any person called to give evidence or be questioned;
f) at any reasonable time, but only after obtaining the necessary written authorisation-
i) enter and inspect the premises on or in which any book, document or object relevant to an investigation or a hearing is to be found or is suspected on reasonable grounds of being found there; and
ii) examine, demand the production of, and seize any book, document or object that is on or in those premises and that is relevant to an investigation or a hearing; and
iii) take a statement in respect of any matter relevant to an investigation or a hearing from any person on the premises who is willing to make a statement; and
g) inspect, and retain for a reasonable period, any of the books, documents or objects that have been produced to, or seized by, the committee.


2) A subpoena issued in terms of subregulation (1) must be made in the form of annexure LRA 4.6.


3) A subpoena issued for any purpose in terms of subregulation (1) must be signed by the director of the Commission and must—
a) specifically require the person named in it to appear before the committee;
b) sufficiently identify the book, document or object to be produced; and
c) state the date, time and place at which the person is to appear.


4) The written authorisation referred to in subregulation (1) (f) may be given by a judge of the Labour Court only if the judge is satisfied that the exercise of the powers referred to in the said subregulation, is necessary for the performance of the committee's functions.


5) The owner or occupier of any premises that the committee is authorised to enter and inspect, and every person employed by that owner or occupier, must provide any facilities that the committee requires to enter those premises and to carry out the inspection or seizure.


6) The committee must issue a receipt for any book, document or object seized in terms of subregulation (1)(f).


7) The law relating to privilege, as it applies to a witness subpoenaed to give evidence or to produce any book, document or object before a court of law, applies equally to the questioning of any person or the production or seizure of any book, document or object in terms of this regulation.


a) The committee must pay the prescribed witness fee to each person who appears before it in response to a subpoena issued by the committee.
b) The fee payable to a witness in terms of subregulation (a) is the total of-
i) R100 for each day or part of a day during which the witness is required to be present at any proceedings; and
ii) reasonable substantiated travel and subsistence expenses incurred by the witness in order to be present at those proceedings.
c) Despite subregulation (b), no witness fee may be paid to a person who, at the time of the relevant proceedings, is employed full-time by the State, or is a member of any legislature mentioned in the Constitution.


9) A person commits contempt of the committee—
a) if, after having been subpoenaed to appear before the committee, the person, without good cause, does not attend at the time and place stated in the subpoena;
b) if, after having appeared in response to a subpoena, that person fails to remain in attendance until excused by the committee;
c) by refusing to take the oath or to make an affirmation as a witness when the committee so requires;
d) by refusing to answer any question fully and to the best of that person's knowledge and belief subject to subregulation (7);
e) if the person, without good cause, fails to produce any book, document or object specified in a subpoena to the committee;
f) if the person willfully hinders the committee in performing any function conferred on it by or in terms of the Act;
g) if the person insults, disparages or belittles the committee, or prejudices or improperly influences the proceedings or improperly anticipates the committee's decision or determination;
h) by willfully interrupting the proceedings of the committee or misbehaving in any other manner during those proceedings; and
i) by doing anything else in relation to the committee which, if done in relation to a court of law, would have been contempt of court.


10) The committee may refer any contempt to the Labour Court for an appropriate order.


a) The functions of the committee may be performed by a member of the committee.
b) A decision of a member of the committee acting in terms of subregulation (a) is a decision of the committee pending ratification of the decision by the committee.
c) If the committee refuses to ratify a decision contemplated in subregulation (b), the decision, from the date of the refusal, is invalid.


12) No proceedings of the committee shall be invalid by reason only of the fact that any member was not present during the whole or part of any proceedings.


13) If three or more members of the committee perform the functions of the committee, the decision of the majority of those members is the decision of the committee.