High court upholds union deregistration

2011-03-27 15:19

Johannesburg - The deregistration of the SA Security Forces Union (Sasfu) as a trade union by the defence department was upheld by the High Court in Pretoria, the department said on Sunday.

The court ruled on Friday that the registrar of military trade unions, Johannes Crous, was correct in deregistering Sasfu as it had not provided relevant documentation, spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabaya said in a statement.

The ruling followed an urgent application brought by the union last Tuesday to stop the deregistration.

Mabaya said Crous wrote to both Sasfu and the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) requesting compulsory documentation they had failed to submit.

"Sasfu was unable to provide any of the information and was automatically deregistered... Sandu submitted some information and requested an extension of the deadline," he said.

The department had no formal relationship with the unions as they both fell under the 15 000-member threshold required for the military bargaining council.

Mabaya said they had stopped all Sasfu membership deductions from the payroll following the court's ruling.

Sasfu president Bhekinkosi Mvovo was however not aware deductions had been stopped, saying an urgent application to the high court would have to be made if it was true.

"The deregistration goes against regulations. There is no regulation saying that a trade union must be registered in order to receive payment from members," Mvovo told Sapa.

"We are only aware of the high court's decision," he said.

Mvovo said he complied with an e-mail request from Crous on March 14, sending meeting minutes and names of office bearers to the registrar.

"This was the first time I had heard from him. On March 15, we get an e-mail from him saying he has had no response from our general secretary Booysen Lengau regarding letters he sent."

Mvovo said the letters, sent in May and July last year, as well as January this year, were sent to the wrong physical address.

The last letter stated that if no information was provided, the registrar would proceed with deregistration.

"I phoned the registrar on March 18, saying I was very surprised by the correspondence. That's when he told me it's too late.

"This is a political matter which has been given to an administrator. I do believe the minister [Lindiwe Sisulu] is directly linked to all of this."

Sasfu would decide on Wednesday whether to challenge the high court's ruling.

The union's recognised membership stands at 7 200 members. Sandu has 11 000 members.