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Change the world


Local labour law expert Advocate Luvuyo Bono will be adding a new title to his name: Doctor.


With his theses titled “The South African Essential Services System: Compliance with International Standards” he will be awarded his Doctorate in Labour Law (LLD) at Nelson Mandela University, on 13 December, where he also holds the title of Adjunct Professor of Law since 2019.

His previous qualifications include B. Juris (Vista University) in 1994, LLB (Vista University) in 1999 and LLM Degree (Labour Law) (University of Port Elizabeth) in 2001. He was admitted as an advocate of the High Court in 2000.

Born and bred in New Brighton, Gqeberha, he started his law career at the then Vista University (now known as the Missionvale Campus of Mandela University).

“I am a local boy who now practices Labour Law internationally. I am also the Chairperson of the Education Labour Relations Council, which has a partnership with Rutgers University in the United States where we are developing a concept of collaborative partnerships between management and labour unions. This is the new order in labour relations and is currently being piloted in South Africa,” said Adv Bono.

In addition to the normal court appearance work he does, Adv Bono is often in the media for high-profile labour relations work, which has included recently investigating racism at the National Prosecutions Authority. He has also mediated several critical wage negotiations in the public and private sector.

“Besides being recognised by the Nelson Mandela University and given the status of Adjunct Professor, I currently serve on the Rules Board of the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court,” said Adv Bono.

His thesis investigates and critiques the essential service system in South Africa. The study analysed the South African essential services system and compares it to the New Zealand and Australian systems. The supervisor for his thesis was Professor Adriaan van der Walt, Head: Labour and Social Security Law Unit at Mandela University.

His experience made him the ideal candidate for this research, since Dr Bono joined the Essential Services Committee in 2012. “In 2013 there were major amendments to the Essential Service Law that were proposed, I had to quickly appraise myself and also contribute to those amendments, which I did. The amendments were passed and were effective from 1 January 2015. Although the amendments have been progressive and have grown the work of the ESC, there are still challenges.”

“These include compliance with essential service laws and prescripts. This was evident in the recent public service strike where public health services were disrupted due to the strike. Part of what the [PhD] research does is to look at best practices on compliance and to propose these for South Africa’s essential services law,” explains Adv Bono.

He said while the right to strike for essential service employees was partially restored with the 2015 amendments, a strike is mostly seen by workers as an action of unity which in turn makes minimum services somehow less effective in this regard.

“The ESC tries by all means to balance the right to strike with the right to render essential services. Right across the world and as led by the International Labour Organisation, employees rendering essential services have compensatory benefits for losing their right to strike. The compensatory benefits are through interest arbitrations. In South Africa interest arbitrations have not found favour”.

Even if an arbitrator would find in favour of the union in an interest arbitration, that award is not binding until it has been approved by Parliament and if Parliament doesn’t approve it, the matter must be sent back to the CCMA for a further conciliation.

“This completely undermines the principles of arbitration, which are that an award is final and binding. This anomaly is not found anywhere else in the world. It is a South African phenomenon which might not even pass the Constitutional Master.”

Adv Bono has again contributed to forthcoming essential services amendments for the Labour Relations Act. Asked about his formula for success, Bono says he tends to thrive in adversity.

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160