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Ref: Shabih v S (CA&R14/14) [2015] ZAECBHC 13 (21 April 2015)

Case Law on Inspections in South African Labour Law:


In a recent case heard in the High Court of South Africa, Eastern Cape Division, Bhisho, the appellant, Rizvi Haider Shabih, sought to appeal his conviction under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, No. 75 of 1997 (BCEA). The case centered on the alleged hindrance of a labour inspector during an inspection at the appellant's place of business, "Joy Hardware and Furniture."


The appellant was initially charged with contravening section 92(f) of the BCEA for obstructing the labour inspector, Lungiswa Roji, from performing her official duties. The incident occurred during an inspection where the appellant refused to answer questions and allegedly chased the inspector out of the premises.


The trial court focused on a subsequent incident where the appellant prevented an employee from being interviewed during a return visit by the inspector and the police. The magistrate found the appellant guilty of hindering the inspector in conducting her duties, leading to the appeal.


The appellant argued that the charge sheet did not accurately reflect the events that led to his conviction. He contended that he had cooperated initially but disagreed with the inspector's demands during the inspection, leading to a heated exchange.


The High Court upheld the appeal, citing violations of the appellant's fair trial rights. The court emphasized the importance of clarity in the charge sheet, noting discrepancies between the charge and the evidence presented. It concluded that the conviction based on a different factual basis than what was outlined in the charge sheet was unfair to the appellant.


The judgment highlights the significance of clear and specific charges in legal proceedings, ensuring that defendants are adequately informed of the allegations against them. It also underscores the need for consistency between the charge sheet and the evidence presented during the trial to uphold fair trial rights in labour law contexts involving inspections.




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