THE INDUSTRIAL COURT OF SWAZILAND
AT MBABANE CASE NO. 161/2000
the matter between:
FURNISHERS (PTY) LTD RESPONDENT
ON POINT IN LIMINE
Respondent has objected to an application brought in terms of Section
65 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1996 for the determination of an
unresolved dispute in the following terms:
the dispute was conciliated upon on the 7th September 1999 and was
settled and an agreement was voluntarily entered into in full and
final settlement of the clai?ns made by the applicant in
consideration of payment of E13,673.00.
deed of settlement is annexed to the Respondent's reply entered into
in terms of Section 61 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1996.
issues in dispute were listed in the Memorandum of Agreement seriatim
month notice E5500.00
incentive 1999 E 750.00
allowance 20 days E4230.00
Incentive arrears E1500.00
document then proceeded as follows:
abovementioned parties have now settled their dispute(s) in the
he be paid a sum of E13,673.00 for the following:
month notice E 5,500.00
notice 8 days E 1,693.00
incentive 1999 E 750.00
allowance 20 days E 4,230.00
incentive arrears (1997) E 1,500.00
Agreement states that it was read over and explained to the parties
in both English and Siswati in the presence of some witnesses.
was then signed for the employee and for the employer in the presence
Commissioner of Labour was to forward the Agreement to the Industrial
Court for registration and award in terms of Section 64 (4) of the
Agreement itself does not purport to settle all the issues listed
therein to be in dispute neither does it state that it is in full and
final settlement of all issues listed to have been in dispute.
is noteworthy that all the issues listed as those in dispute were
settled and specifically itemized in paragraph 3 of the Agreement
other than the claim for maximum compensation.
Respondent contends that it was the intention of the parties to
settle even the issue of maximum compensation which contention is
resisted by the Applicant hence the application for determination of
Respondent did not lead any oral evidence in support of its
allegation, that indeed the issue was settled in the absence of any
express evidence on the document itself.
the office of the Labour Commissioner before whom the conciliation
was conducted and the agreement reduced into writing issued a
certificate of unresolved dispute in terms of Section 65 (1) of the
Act, in respect of the issue of maximum compensation for unfair
certificate of unresolved dispute presents prima facie evidence of
all the issues contained therein unless same are rebutted by
is trite that if a document is conclusive as to the terms of the
transaction, evidence of different or additional terms will be
excluded because the rules of construction require the meaning of a
document to be decided without reference to certain extrinsic facts,
evidence of those facts will also be irrelevant. This is a matter of
substantive law rather than a rule of evidence, though 'parol
evidence rule' has been applied on the assumption that it forms a
part of the English law of evidence. See the cases of Cassiem v
Standard Bank of SA Ltd 1 930 AD 366 at 368. Von Zieger v Superior
Furniture Manufactures (Pty) Ltd 1962 (3) SA 399 (T) at 403 and
Schroeder v Vakansieburo (Edms) BPK 1970 (3) SA 240 (T).
the present case, the terms of the agreement are required by the
Industrial Relations Act 1996, and the subsequent Act No. 1 of 2000
to be in writing as opposed to an agreement which the parties have
agreed to reduce to writing.
execution of the agreement deprives all previous statements of their
legal effect. The document itself is conclusive as to the terms of
the transaction which it was intended to record, if it speaks with
court finds that the document speaks with sufficient clarity that,
indeed, all the listed issues in dispute, save for the issue of
maximum compensation for unfair dismissal were resolved.
court was referred to the Case of David Jele ana Usuthu Pulp Company.
Industrial Court of Swaziland Case No. 40/97.
Justice C. Parker as he then was in interpreting a memorandum of
agreement entered into in terms of Section 61 of the Industrial
Relations Act 1996 decided not to allow any extrinsic evidence
stating that the agreement was the only embodiment of the agreement
between the parties.
Agreement in that case was worded differently from the one in casu in
that the only issue in dispute was listed as reinstatement and the
Applicant was paid in settlement of the dispute. There being no other
issue in dispute conciliated upon, non could subsequently have been
case is clearly distinguishable therefore from the present case where
an issue listed to have been in dispute was specifically excluded
from the list of issues that were said to have been resolved.
agree with the contention of the judge therein that there is no magic
in the phrase " in full and final settlement". However all
the issues in dispute, if have been settled the parties must state so
clearly in unequivocal and non ambiguous language.
the point in limine must fail.
Respondent is allowed to file replying papers on the merits within
fourteen days from the date of the ruling.
will be no order as to costs.
PRESIDENT - INDUSTRIAL COURT