A subpoena is a formal document that requires its recipient to appear in the CCMA as a witness.  If you receive a subpoena, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong; it just means that you may have information that is needed by the CCMA.

A subpoena is simply a notice that a person has been called to appear in the CCMA to answer questions or to supply certain documents that may help support the facts that are at issue in a pending arbitration.

How to have a subpoena issued:

(1)   Any party who requires the commission to subpoena a person in terms of Section 142 (1) of the act must file a completed LRA Form 7.16, this form must be accompanied by a written motivation setting out why the evidence of the person to be subpoenaed is necessary.

(2)   A witness subpoenaed in any CCMA proceedings must be paid a witness fee in accordance with the tariff of allowance published by notice in the Government Gazette in terms of section 142(7) of the act. The witness fee must be paid by–

* The party who requested the commission to issue the subpoena; or

* The commission, if the issuing of the subpoena was not requested by a party or if the commission waives the requirement to pay witness fees.

* Despite sub-rule (1), the commission may in appropriate circumstances, order that a witness receives no fees or reasonable travel costs and subsistence expenses or only part of such fees or expenses.

(3)   A party requesting the Commission to waive the requirement for the party to pay witness fees in terms of Section 142(7) (c) must set out the reasons for the request in writing at the time of requesting the Commission to issue a subpoena in respect of that witness. The Commission’s decision must be made in writing and delivered when issuing the subpoena.

(4)   An application in terms of sub – rule one (1) must be filed with the commission at least fourteen (14) days prior to the arbitration hearing , or as directed by the commissioner hearing the arbitration.

(5)   A subpoena must be served on the witness subpoenaed by the person who has requested the issuing of the subpoena or by the sheriff, at least seven (7) days prior to the scheduled date of the arbitration – this subpoena must be accompanied by the proof of payment of the prescribed witness fees.

The Commission may refuse to issue a subpoena if:

(1)   The party does not establish why the evidence of the person is necessary

(2)   The party subpoenaed does not have seven (7) days in which to comply with the subpoena

(3)   If the commission is not satisfied that the party requesting the subpoena has paid the prescribed witness fees and, reasonable travel costs and subsistence expenses of the person subpoenaed.

Subpoenas are formal legal documents that should be taken seriously.  A person who receives a request to produce certain documents or a request to appear in the CCMA should take the necessary steps to comply with the demand sought.


Article by: Christelle Kemp

CEO Dispute Resolution Official – Klerksdorp