gavel thumb100 GroundUp reports that Judge Owen Rogers will rule this week on whether a case between Oak Valley and its workers will be heard in the Labour Court or the Equality Court.  

For the third time, Rogers, in the Cape High Court sitting as the Equality Court, heard argument on Thursday over which was the right court to hear the case.  If heard in the Equality Court, the relevant legislation will be the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.  If it is heard in the Labour Court, the relevant legislation will be the Employment Equity Act.  About 45 men from the Eastern Cape - the applicants in the case - live in a single-sex hostel on Oak Valley, a fruit, wine and flower farm in Grabouw.  They claim they are discriminated against because local, mostly coloured, workers are allowed to stay with their families in hostels on the farm.  The applicants want the court to declare that non-provision of family accommodation for them is unlawful.  If the case is heard in the Labour Court, which is what Oak Valley’s management wants, the hearing will be confined to much narrower issues of labour law.  If it’s heard in the Equality Court, which is what the applicants want, the hearing will be broader and, in the words of their counsel, deal with "trans-generational systemic action rooted in apartheid practices in the mining and agricultural sectors".

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