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Can a CCMA certificate of outcome be reviewed?

Inez Moosa

There have been a number of cases concerning the status of the certificate of outcome issued by the CCMA and the power of the CCMA to determine its own jurisdiction. Section 135 of the Labour Relations Act, No 66 of 1995 (LRA), states that, e.g., when conciliation has not succeeded the presiding commissioner must issue a certificate of outcome stating if the dispute has been resolved. What is the purpose of this certificate?

Rule 14 of the CCMA Rules states that during the arbitration proceedings, if it appears that a jurisdictional issue hasn't been determined by the CCMA at conciliation, the referring party must prove that the CCMA has jurisdiction.


What is a certificate of outcome?
A certificate of outcome is a document completed by a CCMA commissioner that allows an applicant to proceed to arbitration or the labour court. If the applicant doesn't have this document, he can't proceed any further with his case.

Source: Entrepreneur

In the case of Bombardier Transportation (Proprietary) Limited v Mtiya NO & Others (2010) JOL 25366 (LC):

  • The labour court held that the only value of a certificate of outcome is to indicate that the first step in the dispute resolution process – i.e. conciliation – has been completed. The certificate of outcome doesn't affect if the CCMA has jurisdiction to hear a dispute.
  • The court further indicated that rule 14 only requires the conciliating commissioner to give proper consideration to the points raised concerning jurisdiction. After this, conciliating commissioner has to decide on the jurisdictional question or divert to the commissioner arbitrating the dispute.
  • The court went on to say that if a jurisdictional challenge was heard and upheld before the conciliation, the commissioner's ruling would put an end to the dispute. It would therefore not be necessary for a commissioner to issue a certificate of outcome.
  • The court held that a commissioner issues a certificate of outcome in terms of s135(5) of the LRA because conciliation has failed, not because a jurisdictional challenge has been deferred.

Inez Moosa is an associate in the employment practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. She has general commercial and litigation experience.