4 005 704

Cases referred to the CCMA since 1996

188 619

Total referrals (2023/24FY)

Unfair dismissal

accounted for 52% of all referrals (2023/24FY)


highest referring sector (2023/24FY) 17% 

1,564Cases referred to the CCMA since 1996

1,032Total referrals (2021/22 FY)

45%Referrals by issue (2021/22)

25%Referrals by sector (2021/22)

About us

The CCMA provices a variety of workplace dispute resolution, prevention and management services.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) is a statutory body established in terms of Section 112 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act no. 66 of 1995) [as amended] (LRA) and draws its legislative mandate principally from Section 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996) and the LRA.

The CCMA, as a national public entity in terms of Schedule 3A of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), is an independent body that neither belongs nor is affiliated with any political party, trade union or business. The CCMA derives its mandate from the purpose of the LRA, which is to “advance economic development, social justice, labour peace and the democratisation of the workplace”.

Section 115(1) of the LRA spells out the CCMA’s mandatory functions as follows:

The CCMA will (Mandatory Functions):

  • Conciliate workplace disputes;
  • Arbitrate certain categories of disputes that remain unresolved after conciliation;
  • Establish picketing rules in respect of protected strikes and lookouts;
  • Facilitate the establishment of workplace forums and statutory councils;
  • Compile and publish information and statistics about its activities;
  • Consider applications for accreditation and subsidy by bargaining councils and private agencies;
  • Administer the Essential Services Committee; and
  • At least every second year, review any rules made in terms of this section.

The CCMA may (Discretionary Functions):

  • Supervise ballots for unions and employer organisations;
  • Provide training on any aspect of employment law, including:
    • the establishment of collective bargaining structures
    • workplace restructuring
    • consultation processes
    • termination of employment
    • employment equity programmes
    • dispute prevention
  • Advise a party to a dispute about the procedures to follow;
  • Offer to resolve a dispute that has not been referred to the CCMA;
  • Make rules on practice and procedure; and
  • Publish guidelines on any aspect of the LRA.
  • Conduct and publish research;
  • Provide assistance of an administrative nature to an employee earning less than the BCEA threshold; and
  • Determine fees that the CCMA can charge and regulate practice and procedure for conciliation and arbitration


In the execution of our duties, to act with respect for all, Valuing those whom we serve and those whom we work with.


We continuously do our best in delivering on our mandate and in service to our people, executing our duties with a sense of urgency, professionalism and world-class quality.


We hold ourselves responsible for our actions and the outcomes of our work. In being accountable, we are committed to each other and all we do, and take responsibility for our actions and our performance.


We act impartially without fear, favour or prejudice, objectively balancing the diverse needs of social partners, being honest and ethical in all we do, doing the right thing, even when no-one is looking.


By embracing diversity and inclusivity, we learn from each other daily, while sharing and celebrating who we are and what we do. We embrace inclusivity and celebrate the differences of our people.


We work in a manner that is open, fair and transparent. Guided by our statutory obligations and commitment, we are open in our dealings with everyone we serve.

The advent of the Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA) raised expectations about the fundamental change in the nature of South African labour relations and of effective dispute resolution and collective bargaining in particular.

For many observers, the replacement of the Industrial Court by the CCMA signaled a shift from a highly adversarial model of relations to one based on promoting greater co-operation, industrial peace and social justice. The apparent shift seems all the more plausible as an unfolding democratisation process intersects with the challenges of a highly competitive globalised economy, new forms of work organisation and participative decision making.

In South Africa the mechanisms offered for dispute resolution in the previous LRA, namely: Conciliation Boards and the Industrial Court lacked credibility with the State’s social partners, organised business and
organised labour and resulted in a very low settlement rate of disputes.

The explanatory memorandum released with the draft bill of the LIRA highlighted that the previous dispute resolution processes resulted in only 20% of disputes being settled. The failure of the statutory structure to
resolve those disputes effectively resulted in an excessively high workload for the Industrial Court and the unnecessarily high incidents of strikes and lockouts. More specifically, the old legislature attempted to
provide a basis for relations among its citizens. However, in certain circumstances, the laws themselves impeded the promotion of good relations.

Since its inception, the CCMA has enjoyed a national settlement rate of 70% and greater – a clear signal that the CCMA is committed to restoring sound labour and industrial relations within the South African economy.

The new labour legislative environment anticipates, as well as encourages, a paradigm shift away from the old adversarial model which was characterised by high levels of conflict, union repression, discrimination, cheap labour and authoritarian managerial styles. Because of its relative informality and the greater variety of approaches and solutions which may be adopted, those groups who may be considered ill-served by the old legislature often regard the new dispensation as especially suitable for use. The premise being that it is a more co-operative model based on collective bargaining, greater participation, organisational rights, effective resolution of conflict and higher levels of co-operation resulting in greater flexibility and improved productivity outcomes.