The Labour Appeal Court ("LAC") recently held, in the judgment of Universal Court of the Kingdom of God v Myeni and others (2015) that the pastor was not an employee of the church.
The issue to be decided by the LAC was whether the pastor was presumed, in terms of section 200A of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 ("LRA") to be an employee.
The LAC concluded that the presumption (in terms of Section 200A of the LRA) did not automatically apply to the pastor because of the words "regardless of the form of the contract" as they appear in section 200A of the LRA which suggested that it only applied in instances where a contractual relationship existed between the parties. In amplification of the LAC's decision, the parties never intended for their relationship to constitute a binding employment agreement, which produced legally enforceable rights and obligations under the LRA.
Lastly, the LAC added, that disputes of a religious nature should be left to the church to be determined without interference from the courts.