A legal representative (an attorney or an article clerk) is not entitled to represent an employee nor an employer at the conciliation stage.
There is no automatic right to legal representation at an arbitration hearing, concerning the fairness of a dismissal for misconduct or incapacity. Legal representation may be permitted only when both parties and the Commissioner consent thereto, or otherwise on successful application to the Commissioner. If the facts of the labour dispute are of a complex nature and an application is processed and presented to the Commissioner, it is likely that the Commissioner will agree to legal representation.
The CCMA Rules currently provides for an employer party to be represented by a registered Employer’s Organisation, on condition that the employer is a member of said Organisation and can prove same, in writing, to the Commissioner. The official of the Employer’s Organisation can represent the employer at both conciliation and arbitration processes.
The employee, on the other hand, has the right to be represented by an official registered Trade Union at both conciliation and arbitration hearings, on condition that the Trade Union furnishes the Commissioner with proof (in writing) that the employee is a member of the Trade Union.