The Congress of South African Trade Unions is deeply disturbed by allegations levelled against ANC MP Mduduzi Manana of assaulting his domestic helper. This is extremely disappointing and we call on the ANC to deal with this matter decisively. It is unacceptable that someone who represents the ANC in Parliament is accused of abusing a domestic worker.
The federation is appalled by a spike in the incidents of abuse of domestic workers in South Africa. Many foreign nationals who are employed as domestic workers are underpaid and sometimes have their identity documents withheld.
Domestic workers remain outside South Africa’s Labour Law and its protection. It is unacceptable that while the abuse of domestic workers is rampant, we have seen few prosecutions, convictions, or punishments for these violations.
We call on the Department of Labour to increase its monitoring and enforcement mechanisms to help domestic workers from sexual and emotional abuse, including those that are subjected to human trafficking.
Without any deliberate and adequate training and awareness amongst workers and employers, the Department of Labour (DoL) will continue to struggle to monitor and enforce sanctions. The lack of training and awareness makes many employees feel afraid to confront employers even if they know their rights as workers are being violated or they are feeling exploited.
It is not enough that South Africa has adopted the Convention on Domestic Workers by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), we need to see more deliberate action to implement the convention. We are also urging the Human Rights Commission to do more to protect these vulnerable workers.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794