Worker takes mining house to highest court

Kingdom Mabuza

An ordinary man is taking the super-rich Rustenburg Platinum Mine to the highest court in the land, the constitutional court, thanks to Cosatu.

Zandisa Sidumo, 52, first beat the mining conglomerate when he took them to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration - and won - in 2000 after he was fired for allowing someone on the company's premises without searching them.

"I think it was a trap," said Sidumo. "They fired 12 of us, and I do not know what happened to my other colleagues."

The CCMA ruled that though Sidumo did not perform his duties as expected, dismissal was too harsh a punishment.

The mine's management was ordered to warn him, but they instead took the matter to the labour court and lost twice.

Then they went to the supreme court of appeal which upheld the guard's dismissal.

But then Cosatu stepped in.

Though Sidumo is not a member of Cosatu, the labour federation is helping him challenge the decision that his dismissal was justified.

"Our concern is that the case will set a precedent that will result in a weakening of the powers of the CCMA and the labour court," Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said yesterday.

Cosatu has approached the constitutional court with the intention of having the decision of the supreme court overturned in order to protect workers.