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The law of unfair dismissal in South Africa.

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As an inexperienced articled clerk I was once consulted by a young widow who had two tiny children with her. She had lost her job and was wanting to know what her rights were. I had never studied any labour law but I had a vague idea that she was entitled to only notice pay. This was the terrible advice she ended up getting and it was only some months later that I realised my error. I had not yet been introduced to the wondrous concept of fairness in law. Nor was I aware of the wonderful remedy of reinstatement which could have returned to this person not only her dignity and her self-esteem, but also the means, in a country wracked by unemployment, of fending off complete poverty. Psychologists have shown that losing a job is one of the most distressing events in life. How much more distressing that loss must be when the dismissal is not fair and how much more devastating, when there is little prospect of finding other employment? This thesis is for all those people who have been unfairly dismissed and who, but for bad advice, might have been placed back in their jobs. It is hoped that it will contribute to the knowledge in this vitally important area of law and so help prevent the giving of unnecessarily bad advice.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.