Domestic workers union heads to ConCourt in battle for workplace injury claims

A union wants the Constitutional Court to confirm that excluding domestic workers from the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) is unlawful.

The SA Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (Sadsawu) has filed an application for the ConCourt to confirm a landmark North Gauteng High Court ruling in May declaring the exclusion unconstitutional.

Sadsawu is filing the court bid together with Sylvia Mahlangu, the daughter of a domestic worker named Maria who died at her employer's home in 2016.

Mahlangu's mother, Maria, drowned while she was washing windows outside her employer's home near the swimming pool.

Sadsawu's general secretary Myrtle Witbooi says domestic workers have not been covered for work-related injuries, illnesses or death.

The union wants the apex court to provide clarity on when domestic workers will be included in the COIDA Act.

Moreover, Witbooi says Sadsawu wants the ConCourt to rule that domestic workers must receive compensation retrospectively if they were injured at work or died at work in the past three years.

Over the years, many domestic workers have got hurt at work and they just leave silently because they get told that there is no act that is protecting them.

Myrtle Witbooi, General secretary - Sadsawu

There was a small High Court victory. We all know it's unconstitutional to exclude domestic workers because domestic workers are workers like all other workers.

Myrtle Witbooi, General secretary - Sadsawu

The [High Court] hasn't confirmed when we will have the compensation, nothing.

Myrtle Witbooi, General secretary - Sadsawu

Retrospectively, we want it to go back not only for Sylvia's mother but for other domestic workers that hurt themselves maybe within the last three years.

Myrtle Witbooi, General secretary - Sadsawu

Listen to the discussion on Today with Kieno Kammies:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Domestic workers union heads to ConCourt in battle for workplace injury claims


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