We congratulate Mr. Given Rafapa, our Director for Labour Relations on his new role, representing the Department of Basic Education (DBE) as the Deputy Chairperson of the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) as of 1 September 2021.

The ELRC is a bargaining council that serves the public education sector nationally and provincially. Its main objective is to promote the maintenance of labour peace in the public education sector through the provision of dispute resolution and prevention services. Our newsflash team had a chat with him, to get a sense of what his job entails:

Q: How did you find yourself in this position?

A: I was nominated by the DBE to serve in this position as a Deputy Chairperson. The employer provides a Deputy Chairperson to Council on a rotational basis. I will be representing the employer in ELR Council and the Executive Committee.

Q: What do you like most about your work?

A: I derive pleasure in helping my colleagues with solutions to their daily challenges regarding amongst others; resolution of conflicts which manifest in different forms; either perceptual or felt conflict. Most importantly, it excites me when there is relative stability and the creation of labour peace in the department because organizational productivity generally and the provision of quality basic education to the children of this province, in particular, are dependent on the relative stability and the creation labour peace.

Q: What is your main responsibility in your directorate in the Limpopo Department of Education?

A: My work amongst others include:

• Policy development for grievances, disputes, misconduct cases and drafting of collective agreements

and concept papers for negotiations in the provincial ELRC and the National ELRC through the DBE. • Management of grievances, disputes and cases of misconduct.

• Training of all employees on the provisions of the applicable laws and policies in order to increase awareness of same.

• I am the Chief Negotiator of the department in the provincial ELRC and represent the department in the national ELRC

Q: How does the ELRC benefit employees?

A: The ELRC as a forum for consultation and negotiations, helps employees with regard to the determination of their terms and conditions of service by granting parties (the employer and employee parties) a conducive environment for collective bargaining and reaching of consensus as well as the signing of collective agreements.

Q: Please explain your responsibility and plans for your new responsibility as Deputy Chairperson of the ELRC

A: My main responsibility is to stand in for the Chairperson when he is not available and chair the proceedings of Council and any other responsibility allocated to me by parties to Council in relation to chairing any proceedings of Sub-Committees as and when the Council deems it necessary to do so. My plan is to help in sustaining the momentum built over many years of the existence of the ELRC in creating labour peace and relative stability in the basic education sector in order to fast track the provision of quality public education to the children of this country.

Story by Ndivhuwo Mukhada