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Panellist Profile

Charles Nupen


  • Arbitration
  • Disciplinary Enquiry
  • Facilitation
  • Mediation
  • Mediation

Charles is an attorney and an ADR specialist.

After several years of legal practice, most notably at the Legal Resources Centre, a public interest law firm, where he served under Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, he was appointed executive director of the Independent Mediation Service of South Africa in 1987.

From 1987 to 1995 he steered IMSSA’s growth into a national organisation, and conducted several hundred mediations and arbitrations across all sectors of the South African economy.

In the early 1990’s, during a time of heightened political conflict, he chaired the Soweto Peace Committee.

In 1994 he was appointed as a commissioner of the Independent Electoral Commission which oversaw South Africa’s first national democratic elections.

In 1995/6, under the auspices of the ILO he assisted in the establishment of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration, South Africa’s first national public dispute settlement agency and then served as the CCMA’s first executive director.

From 1998 to 2008 he directed technical co-operation projects in Africa for the International Labour Organisation a Geneva based UN agency

He has facilitated labour law reform projects and the establishment of several national dispute settlement agencies in Southern African countries. This work required him to establish relationships with government, business and unions at a senior level in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. In addition he has undertaken work with the tripartite partners in Angola, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Since 2008 he has been consulting in the field of employee relations and has been involved in high level interventions to resolve commercial disputes, labour disputes, and to address dysfunctional relationships and systems in corporate settings and in professional service firms. He has also managed major multi stakeholder negotiations in both the public and private sectors.

In 2009 he received Tokiso’s Mediator of the Year award.

Significant interventions he has conducted include:

• Co-facilitating the development of the financial services sector empowerment charter
• Facilitating a strategic planning process for South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission
• Facilitating a strategic planning process for Treasury

• Co mediating (with senior counsel and an accountant) a major commercial dispute between JCI and Randgold to find agreement on how to settle claims involving several billion rand arising from fraud and theft.

• Designing and facilitating a multi stakeholder process at Nedbank regarding the choice of an investment vehicle to house the investment of over eight hundred million rand in medical scheme subsidies for retirees.

• Co-mediating the settlement of the 2007 public sector strike in South Africa.

• Facilitating a conference of representatives from national aids councils and business coalitions across Africa in 2008 which led to the formal establishment of the Pan African Business Coalition on Hiv/Aids.

• Chairing the National Bargaining Forum in the Auto Industry.

• Chairing the negotiation forum for SAA and its Pilots

• Leading the facilitation team managing complex multifaceted commercial negotiations between the taxi industry and the City of Johannesburg which has led to the roll out of the first phase of the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit system. This work attracted an international award conferred by CEDR in London in November 2010.

• Designing and facilitating the implementation of a new Employee Relations Strategy for SASOL a multinational corporation operating in the energy sector

• Advising the Deputy Minister in the Department of International Relations and Co-operation on strategies to address conflict in the Department

• Assisting in the establishment of the Millennium Labour Council a body of business and trade union leaders committed to bipartite social dialogue in matters of economic and social policy

• Facilitating the establishment of the Private Healthcare Forum, a business coalition of private hospitals, medical aid administrators, doctors and pharmaceutical companies to engage government on health policy

• Under the auspices of the ILO, project managing performance improvement programmes in the clothing and textile and tourism sectors in South Africa. In association with Sanparks he commissioned and oversaw the development of a guided activities strategy for the Kruger National Park.

He is a director and shareholder in Tokiso Dispute Settlement (Pty) Ltd and Tokiso Commercial, both private dispute settlement agencies.

He is the executive chairman of Stratalign (Pty) Ltd, a company consulting in HRD, employee relations, and organizational coherence strategy.

He is a CEDR accredited commercial mediator and an adjunct professor of law at the University of Cape Town.

He serves on the board of Resource Africa an NGO committed to promoting sustainable resource management to benefit rural communities in Southern Africa.

He serves on the board of governors of Michaelhouse.

He lives in Illovo, Johannesburg. He is married to Drene, and has three children, Lili, Jessica and James.

Charles is based in Johannesburg.