NEASA has on innumerable occasions impressed upon you the importance of legal compliance within the organisation you have been tasked to steer. Despite this, the MEIBC, which you are the custodian of, has failed dismally in this task. This failure has been to such an extent that NEASA had no option but to approach the courts on a number of occasions in an attempt to restore some semblance of good governance and transparency within the MEIBC.
It seems, however, that, yet again, our Counsel has fallen on deaf ears.
Mr Mthiyane, you very recently distributed a circular to all the employers in the Industry indicating that, despite the fact that the Registration and Administration Expenses Agreement had expired, non-party employers are at liberty to continue deducting and paying over these levies to the Council on a voluntary basis. This action is not only misleading but is actively encouraging employers who are not party to this Agreement to contravene prevailing legislation by unlawfully deduction levies from their employees.
This conduct is reminiscent of the Collectives Bargaining Levies (CBL) debacle, where the MEIBC in a similar fashion was very reluctant to instruct employers in the Industry to stop paying CBLs, and to stop accepting these payments. In fact, these payments are still being accepted by the MEIBC three and a half years later. This resulted in the MEIBC unlawfully collecting approximately R90 000 000-00 from the Industry. This naturally culminated in a massive liability for the MEIBC, a liability which has only partially been offset, as approximately R30 000 000-00 has still not been returned to unsuspecting employers and employees.
It is perhaps understandable that, taking into consideration the dire financial position the MEIBC has been managed into, that you will go to great lengths to maximise the income of the Council. These efforts, however, should not extend so far as to preach untruths and incite unsuspecting and innocent employers to commit unlawful actions; actions which may very well create a liability for them.
In light of the above, we urge you to:-
immediately rectify the misrepresentation that you made to the Industry; and
to repay any money illicitly received as a result of these misrepresentations – with regard to both CBL and Admin- and Dispute levies.
Alternatively, if for some inexplicable reason, the money cannot be repaid immediately, to give an undertaking that these monies (and interest thereon) will be ring-fenced and kept in trust, and not be used for any other purpose, until it can be returned to its rightful owners.
The MEIBC is already facing an uphill battle to pull itself out of its current financial position. It would certainly be foolhardy and short sighted to exacerbate this situation by creating an even larger liability for itself.
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