ONE of the most prominent state institutions created for the new South Africa was designed to protect people from work exploitation.

The opening of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), on 11 November 1996, meant that workplace disputes could be resolved in a way that would embrace the principles of human dignity and worker rights as written in the Constitution.

The CCMA treats all parties with respect regardless of what the outcome of their case could be and it promotes resolution and dialogue.

According to CCMA director Cameron Morajane, the CCMA strategy for moving cases forward is to help educate all the parties and give them tools that prevent or reduce conflict in the workplace.

“It is the CCMA’s goal to make a difference in people’s lives irrespective of class or status,” he said.

It is important that employees and employers should know their workplace rights and responsibilities, and make use of the CCMA’s services.

One of the critical areas is discrimination in the workplace. The Employment Equity Act amendments give more protection to employees against discrimination and protection of temporary, fixed-term and part-time workers earning less than R205 433,30 a year.

The Act prohibits unfair discrimination in the workplace on one or more grounds including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, birth or any other ground.

For more information, call the CCMA on 0861 16 16 16, visit or email