Domestic workers feel neglected

Ga-Marishane

One of the sectors which suffers the most under the lockdown provisions are domestic workers who cannot report to work.

Some of the domestic workers in Ga Marishane village in the Makhuduthamaga municipality feel that historically their sector was neglected for decades.

A domestic worker, Sarah Masemola said food security has become a major issue since the inception of the lockdown.

Mother of three children who is unemployed said it has been hard to survive during the lockdown as she was released by her employer due to covid-19 pandemic. She said life became worse than ever because she is no longer receive any source of income.

To make matters worse, she had applied to receive a food parcel last month but she has not yet received any package of food parcel but she still battle to feed her children. 

Other domestic workers echoed similar sentiments, lamenting the distribution process and citing corruption, or the food just not being enough to adequately feed most families as they were large

“Food parcels were mostly pollicised and this meant some families in dire need were not recognised. We have to rely on the food parcels that we haven’t received yet,” she said

A lack of knowledge on the special grant application was also a problem, with some saying they had no idea how or when to apply.

According to Pinky Mashiane, president of United Domestic Workers of South Africa said domestic workers should also benefit from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

Mashiane reminded employers that all domestic workers who work more than 24 hours a month must be registered, as prescribed by law.

“Even if a domestic worker works more than 24 hours a week for different employers, those employers are obliged to register with different UIF references number for the one specific worker,” said Mashiane.

She said the covid-19 pandemic and lockdown had a devastating impact on the lives of domestic workers and their families across the country.

Stats SA shows that a mere 20% of domestic workers are registered for UIF. This means that the majority of domestic workers cannot access the department of employment and labour covid-19 temporarily employer relief scheme.

Mashiane said desperate times called for desperate measures.

She called on the department to urgently grant amnesty to all employers of domestic workers to register their workers.

“The aim of the amnesty is to promote compliance in a polite manner. This will  benefit the domestic workers,” said Mashiane

Thapelo Motseo

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