Bernadette Wicks
Senior court reporter
2 minute read
24 Dec 2021
6:20 am

Union to challenge CCMA finding against Narius Moloto

Bernadette Wicks

Aside from a single meeting with then president Strike Makutu and current incumbent Modupi Maile, she told the commission, her complaint was ignored.

Narius Moloto. (Photo by Gallo Images/Laird Forbes)

The Building, Construction and Allied Workers’ Union (BCAWU) has announced plans to challenge a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) award that found a former staffer had been subjected to sexual harassment at the hands of its general secretary Narius Moloto.

“After extensive discussions with our legal team, BCAWU is of the view that the award is wrong in law, misdirected and clearly made without considering the vast amount of information supplied by BCAWU to buttress its case. It is for these reasons that BCAWU, after consulting with its legal team, has decided to challenge the award,” the union said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the CCMA handed down its decision on a case a former gender coordinator and trainer at the union brought against BCAWU over its handling of an internal complaint she lodged in 2018 against Moloto, who is also the ex-president of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania and sits on the board of the CCMA.

During the hearing, the complainant testified to a number of incidents, from Moloto sending her explicit videos and messages, to inappropriate and unwelcome touches and questions. She testified to having been reluctant to lodge an official complaint in the beginning but in mid2018, finally going ahead with it.

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Aside from a single meeting with then president Strike Makutu and current incumbent Modupi Maile, she told the commission, her complaint was ignored. Three months later, she was dismissed, accused of having a bad attitude.

Maile testified the union’s leadership had met Moloto, who explained the videos were sent to the staffer because his phone had got a virus. He claimed she had refused to provide any evidence to back up her complaint – which the CCMA found was not the case.

Moloto did not testify but has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.

Commissioner Johnny Mathebula, who presided over the case, on Tuesday found the complainant had provided “overwhelming” evidence that she had been harassed by Moloto. He labelled “a sham” the follow-up process instituted in response to her complaint. And he found the union liable, ordering it pay R50 000 “as solatium for the hurt suffered and injury to her dignity”.

Maile yesterday said the union would be challenging the CCMA’s decision in the Labour Court, insisting the award was “wrong in law, that time has run out” and “the CCMA has no jurisdiction to hear the case”.

The union said it had “raised a number of legal issues with the presiding commissioner, which he decided to ignore”.