THE HIGH COURT OF SWAZILAND
the matter between
POSTS AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
UNION FIRST RESPONDENT
COMMISSIONER SECOND RESPONDENT
THE APPLICANT : MR FINE
THE 1ST RESPONDENT : MR FLYNN
6 MAY 1994
applicant applied under a certificate of urgency and obtained an
order in the following terms on the 18th February 1994-
a rule nisi operating forthwith as an interim order, do issue calling
upon the 1st Respondent to show cause on the 4th March 1994 why-
1st respondent or its members should not be interdicted and
restrained from cutting off all or any communication services in the
country on Tuesday 22nd February 1994.
1st respondent should not be interdicted and restrained from calling
out its members on strike on Tuesday 22nd February 1994, pending the
outcome of this aplication.
1st respondent should not pay the costs of this application.
was a further order as to publication of the order in the Swaziland
Government Gazette and the Times of Swaziland.
applicant is a body corporate, incorporated under Act No. 11/1983,
responsible for postal and telecommunication services in the country.
The applicant referred, in its founding affidavit, to demands by the
1st respondent for the dismissal of 5 senior executive members of the
applicant. The reasons for the 1st respondent's demands are set out
in correspondence which is annexed to the founding affidavit. It
appears that part of this correspondence was treated as a report of a
labour dispute by the 2nd respondent. The view of the applicant,
which was communicated to the 2nd respondent on the 14th February,
was that the complaints of the 1st respondent did not constitute a
dispute in terms of the Industrial Relations Act No.4/ 1980 or the
Recognition Agreement between the parties.
the 1st February 1994 the following article appeared in the Times of
Swaziland,under the heading TELECOMM'S THREAT-
and Telecommunications workers yesterday threatened to cut
communication between Swaziland and the rest of the world if their
demands are not attended to by next Monday, February 7.
workers said this during a demonstration outside Posts and
Telecommunications head-quarters at Phutfumani Building in Mbabane.
employees who were carrying placards vowed that they will sacrifice
their lunch hour until such time that their demands are addressed.
workers are calling for the resignation of all members of the
management. These are the managing director, Mr Dennis Punt, director
of finance, Mr Raymond Thomas, corporation treasurer, Mr Styles
Richards, personnel manager, Mr Alfred Dalmini and a Mr Ntiwane.
their placards the workers charged that Mr Punt is the highest paid
managing director in the country because he earns E19 000 per month.
telephone services in the country's two major cities continue to be a
cause for concern.
article was drawn to the attention of the Minister for Transport and
Communications. The applicant advised the Minister as follows
regarding the article-
report is viewed in a very serious light because it is seen to pose a
danger to the National Security of Swaziland and also to the economy
as a whole.
Management and Board of Directors are appealing to the Minister to
consider lodging an urgent application to Court in terms of the
Relations Act 1980 Article 63(1) for an order restraining the action
reported in the article.
attached annexure A lists the key telecommunication installations,
which, if sabotaged as threatened by the work force, if their demands
are not met by 7th February,1994 would have serious
telecommunications problems for the entire Kingdom of Swaziland.
believe that the threats made in the report can and will be carried
out and it is, therefore, necessary that an order be sought before
the actual threat is carried out. It is in the national interest that
there be no disruption of the telecommunication services within the
Kingdom of Swaziland.
Minister replied on the 8th February and stated inter alia-.
the interest of positive approach to this matter, and considering the
present atmosphere may I request that we hold this action and see
what results the action will give us through the Carbon Department.
applicant has not explained in its papers as to what the Carbon
Department was meant or understood to be.)
further article appeared in the Times of Swaziland on the 17th
February. The article was headed COMMUNICATIONS STRIKE NEXT TUESDAY
SAYS P & T.C.WORKERS and reads as follows-
of the Posts and telecommunications (P & TC) have postponed the
date on which they will allegedly cut off all communications services
in the country and go on strike.
will now be next Tuesday.
is if their ongoing talks with management and the Labour Department
fail to reach an agreement. The strike was supposed to have begun
was disclosed by the President of P& TC Workers Union, Mr Albert
Matse in an interview yesterday. If carried out, the strike could
coincide with a national mass stay away strike being planned by the
Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU).
objective of the unions is to force government to meet a list of
demands some of them related to industrial laws.
are now waiting for the Labour Department, where there is still
negotiations going on", Mr Matse said yesterday.
said if the Labour Department arbitration attempts fails, the
Executive will sit down and see which step to take next.
Matse promised to give full details about their plan before the end
of the week.
workers are calling for the resignation of various members of the
are the Managing Director, Mr Dennis Punt, Director of finance, Mr
Raymond Thomas, Corporation treasurer, Mr Styles Richards, Personnel
Manager, Mr Alfred Dlamini and Mr Ntiwane.
workers charged that Mr Punt was unfairly the highest paid managing
director in the country.
the workers demonstrated outside the P & TC headquarters in
were carrying placard with all their demands.
was on the basis of the foregoing that the applicant approached this
court for the relief earlier set out in this judgment.
1st respondent is opposed to confirmation of the rule nisi. The basis
of the opposition is firstly, that the 1st respondent never resolved
to take strike action and secondly, that the press reports of strike
action were completely false. It was submitted on behalf of the 1st
respondent that the applicant should have satisfied itself as to the
accuracy of the press reports prior to approaching the court.
order for the applicant to obtain the relief sought, the applicant
had to show-
the right which is sought to be
by means of the interim relief is clear or, if not clear, is prima
if the right is only prima facie established, there is a well
grounded apprehension of irreparable harm to the applicant if the
interim relief is not granted and the applicant ultimately succeeds
in establishing his right
the balance of convenience favours the granting of interim relief.
the applicant has no other satisfactory remedy.
SWAZILAND DAIRIES (PTY) LTD v MEYER 1970-76 SLR 91, SETLOGELO v
SETSOGELO 1914 AD 221.
to the press reports the threatened strike was linked to the 1st
respondent's demands for the dismissal of the 5 officials. The
applicant was aware of the 1st respondent's demands and had responded
to the 2nd respondent's contention that a labour dispute had been
reported in terms of the Industrial relations Act by the 1st
respondent. The impression created was that the 1st respondent would
embark on the strike to ensure that its demands were met. The 1st
respondent took no steps to correct whatever was incorrect in the
press reports. To date, there has been no indication as to what was
incorrect in the reports. There may for example have been errors with
regard to the date of the intended strike or the extent of the
disruptions which were planned. If such was the case, the 1st
respondent would have had to show how such errors would have affected
the grant or otherwise of the relief sought.
was correctly submitted on behalf of the applicant that there was a
reasonable apprehension on the part of the applicant that the 1st
respondent would proceed with the strike. It is no answer, in the
circumstances of this case, for the 1st respondent to state that the
reports were false. The facts relied upon by the applicant must be
looked at as at the time of the launching of the application and not
in the light of the bald allegation that the press reports were
applicant, in my view, clearly satisfied the requirements for the
relief it obtained on the 18th February. The rule nisi is accordingly
confirmed with costs.