Business SA hails union riot liability ruling
Court finds Satawu responsible for damages caused during a march by security guards
A CONSTITUTIONAL Court ruling holding trade union Satawu liable for a riot damage claim was welcomed by Business Unity SA.
"This provides legal certainty to business in cases where public gatherings become destructive and result in injury, loss of property or life," Busa said in a statement.
Busa agreed that organisers were obliged to take reasonable steps to avoid conduct that could cause damage to property and harm to people.
Earlier, the ruling was hailed by Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.
"While we respect the right of any organisation to organise legal strike action and to assemble, these rights must be balanced against the rights of ordinary citizens, who should not be unduly prejudiced by the exercise of this right," said De Lille
The court ruled that Satawu was responsible for damages caused during a march by security guards in Cape Town in May 2006.
It found the Regulation of Gatherings Act afforded victims effective recourse when a gathering became destructive and resulted in injury, loss of property or life.
"The organisations are intimately involved in the planning, supervision, and execution of the gathering, but the potential victims are not," Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said in the ruling.
"Because of this, the organisations would be in a better position than innocent victims to identify individuals or institutions which caused the damage." He said the union had the opportunity of a "soft landing" if it could track down those responsible for the damage caused during the protest and recoup its loss from them.
The union appealed twice against the decision and was turned down on both occasions.