It is important to note the prescribed days in which you must refer your matter to the CCMA. This could make or break your case, the CCMA loves dismissing cases based on technicalities.
Unfair dismissals, you must refer your matter to the CCMA within 30 days. This is not business days so Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays count.
Unfair labour practices and a number of other listed matters that exclude dismissals, you must refer it within 90 days. This is helpful as you can use the time to gather information and evidence to prove your claim.
Retrenchment based on section 189, these are retrenchments based on operational requirements, they are treated differently. If the employer retrenches two or more employees within its organization/company/department, you cannot refer the matter to the CCMA you must refer your matter to the Labour Court. The CCMA will only inform you of this mistake at Conciliation and by then you might be out of time to refer it to the Labour Court.
Constructive dismissal, must be referred within 30 days. This is a type of dismissal even if there are elements of harassment, discrimination or unfair labour practices. It is still treated as a dismissal.
If you perhaps refer your matter late then you should seek the assistance of an attorney. You will need to make a formal application for condonation, where you will be expected to explain why you submitted your referral late. The employer may oppose this application. The CCMA will make a decision and issue an award. This award will decide if your case will proceed or be dismissed.
These rules also apply to Bargaining Councils in all industries and government employees in government departments.
Keep this in mind, it is absolutely awful to have your matter dismissed because you did not comply with the prescribed time periods.