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Format of internal disciplinary enquiries

Format of internal disciplinary enquiries

Nozipho Mvulane

Disciplinary enquiries (or hearings) in South Africa generally follow a structured format to ensure fairness and due process. While the specific format may vary depending on the organization and its policies. Below is a general outline of the typical steps that are involved.

Notice of the disciplinary hearing

The employer initiates the disciplinary process by issuing a written notice to the employee, informing them of the allegations or charges against them and the date, time, and location of the disciplinary hearing. Sufficient notice should be given to allow the employee to prepare their defence.

Preparing the case

Both the employer and the employee have the right to prepare their respective cases. The employer gathers evidence, such as witness statements, documents, or CCTV footage, to support the allegations, while the employee can gather evidence to challenge the allegations or present their defence.

Presenting the case

During the disciplinary hearing, the employer presents their case by outlining the allegations and presenting evidence, including witness testimony, documents, or other relevant information. The employee, or their representative, has the opportunity to cross-examine the employer’s witnesses and challenge the evidence presented.

Employee’s defence

Following the employer’s presentation, the employee, or their representative, presents their defence. They can provide their version of events, call witnesses, and present any evidence to challenge the allegations or support their defence. The employer has the right to cross-examine the employee’s witnesses and challenge their evidence.

Opportunity for questions

Both the employer and the employee, or their representatives, have the opportunity to question each other’s witnesses and address any inconsistencies or discrepancies in the evidence presented.

Closing arguments

After the evidence has been presented and all questions have been addressed, both the employer and the employee, or their representatives, have the chance to present their closing arguments. They summarize their positions, address the evidence and arguments presented, and make their final submissions.

Decision or Ruling

Following the disciplinary hearing, the employer, or a designated disciplinary panel or chairperson, evaluates the evidence presented and makes a decision based on the balance of probabilities. They determine whether the allegations have been proven and, if so, the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken.

It’s important to note that this outline provides a general overview of the disciplinary enquiry process in South Africa, and organizations may have their own specific procedures or variations to ensure fairness and compliance with labour laws and internal policies. It is advisable for employers and employees to consult relevant legislation and their organization’s policies for specific guidance on disciplinary procedures.

Should you require further information as an employer or an employee, please feel free to contact us at  

Article Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide legal advice. This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. This article is based on research regarding laws and may be subject to change. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).

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