Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber Breakfast Talk Report
On Tuesday 14 March 2017 Companies Tribunal (the Tribunal) in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber the (Chamber) hosted a Breakfast talk at the Chamber offices in Port Elizabeth.
This Breakfast talk was aimed at raising awareness about Tribunal’s existence to the Chamber’s stakeholders in order to achieve the following inter arlia:
- Inform members of the Chamber about the Tribunal’s adjudication function i.e. Name and Directorship disputes etc.
- Implementation of Social and Ethics Committees and
- Educate members about the Tribunal’s mandate of Alternative Dispute Resolution i.e. conciliation, mediation or arbitration.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber is one of the strategic stakeholders identified by the Tribunal in the 2016/17 financial year because it is one of the largest business association in the Eastern Cape with a membership of approximately 700 businesses employing approximately 60 000 people, representing a broad spectrum of businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Opening the proceedings Chairperson of the Tribunal Advocate Simmy Lebala SC gave a background on the role the Companies Act no 71 of 2008 which established the Tribunal play in terms of ensuring good governance, transparency, accountability and promotion of harmonious relationship between shareholders, members and directors. He stated that all this lead to a strong economy.
The charismatic Chairperson stated the following key highlights in his speech:
- The Tribunal was established to resolve disputes and companies shouldn’t burden courts of law with company disputes. He emphasised the amount of work that courts have and the time it takes to litigate a matter and the high costs involved.
- He highlighted the mandate of the Tribunal, what it seeks to achieve and how members of the Chamber can benefit from it.
- The calibre of the composition of Tribunal members was also highlighted.
- He explained ADR mechanisms of conciliation, mediation or arbitration and how it works and indicated that members of Chamber can decide which mechanism to choose. He also stated that courts of law are encouraging ADR mechanisms to resolve disputes.
The questions that were asked were around the following
- Whether the Tribunal can adjudicate on disputes between shareholders who are also directors on matters relating to management fees of the holding companies.
- Enforceability of the Tribunal decisions.
- Costs of Tribunal services and whether the Tribunal is empowered to order costs.
- Marketing of Tribunal services to ensure that they are known by companies that do registration for small business.
Members of the Chamber appreciated the session and indicated that they have a lot of company disputes but didn’t know about the existence of the Companies Tribunal. In his closing remarks the Chairperson encouraged members of the Chamber to utilize the cost effective and speedy services of the Tribunal and see company disputes as minor problems forming part of the human condition. He stated that the Tribunal defines its success by the opportunity it gives to others who have dreams and determination to chase them without wasting time in the resolution of company disputes.
Members of the Chamber asking questions during the questions and answer session