Weekly News Brief

Weekly News Brief
photo by MyRoof

Hello South Africa,

A Case For Domestic Workers, President Ramaphosa’s new cabinet, Trevor Manuel Wins Case Against EFF and more…

Something To Ponder

A Case For Domestic Workers

This week, The High Court in Pretoria ruled that domestic workers were eligible to claim from the Compensation Fund if they were injured, contracted a disease or died at their place of work.

There are some things that are just right because the people concerned are human beings pure and simple. To have a domestic worker covered for injuries that occur at work and other work related health issues is something that is long overdue.  Workmen and women who work as domestic help also face risks to their health. They work with dangerous implements, like knifes, work with cooking gas and electricity. These people use cleaning chemical compounds, detergents and other stuff around the home that are dangerous to their health. Yet, when incidents happen, they have nowhere to turn to for compensation or help with related bills unless they have taken out private health insurance cover for themselves.

Workers in an office or factory are covered by the employee’s Act, that ensures their safety at the workplace, and in case they were injured or contracted disease they could claim compensation from the Fund. However, the domestic worker, whose workplace is the home and its environs have not had this privilege before now. They have not been classified as ‘employees’ when they work for private home owners. So, when a domestic worker drowns in their employer’s pool, is killed by the employer’s bulldog or has their fingers or hand chopped off by a power saw while pruning a tree in the employer’s home, they have had no recourse to take to get compensated. Families have literary been left without their bread winner in cases where they die or are maimed in the course of work.

What the South African Court has done this week is recognise that a domestic worker’s life is a human life just like the life of someone working in the corporate or industrial world. The High Court found fault, declaring that it was unconstitutional for domestic workers to be excluded as “employees”. 

When this declaration is effected, employers will be required by law to register their domestic workers under  COIDA and pay a percentage of their employees’ wages into the Compensation Fund.

Hoping the relevant registrations will be done soonest and there will be total co-operation from employers so as to give these often overlooked hardworking citizens of South Africa a well deserved service.

Lucy Thairu
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HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK

Finally this week, President Cyril Ramphosa this week announced his cabinet, which was met with support from various quarters. He retained two ministers, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni at Finance, and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan,  The move  was seen as key to  rooting out the rot at state-owned enterprises and overhauling Eskom.  Delay in announcing the lineup was caused in part by the delayed swearing in of ANC deputy president David Mabuza.  Mabuza had postponed his swearing in saying he wanted to first clear his name after the party’s integrity commission recommended that he and other ANC members be removed from the party’s candidate list to Parliament over various offences.

Pravin Gordhan however is facing troubles with allegations made against him by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane stating that Gordhan violated the constitution by by approving former South African Revenue Service deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement. Gordhan has argued under oath that the Public Protector’s timing of the release of the report was politically motivated.

The ongoing Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture  this week saw the chairperson deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asking the national police commissioner to clarify why nothing was done when whistleblowers opened a case about the fraudulent payment of R647 million to a fake supplier in 2017.  The state capture commission of inquiry also heard how a locomotive manufacturer submitted a cost proposal of more than R600 million, but Transnet bosses accepted it on face value without interrogating how the sum was reached.

This week also saw Eskom’s CEO Phakamani Hadebe announce his resignation. Hadebe said his resignation was due to health reasons. He said that the role came with unimaginable demands and he decided it was in the best interests of the company and his family to resign. Eskom is set to deliver its report for the past financial year to the board on Tuesday and is expected to announce a loss of over R20 billion.

The EFF was put on its defence when an investigation by Scorpio  revealed that money stolen from VBS Mutual Bank funded the party’s fourth birthday bash in Umlazi, Durban, in July 2017. The party also lost a case launched by Former finance minister Trevor Manuel on Thursday.

The High Court in Johannesburg ordered the EFF to pay the former government minister R500,000 and apologise for defamatory and false statements the party had made against him. The EFF is said to be getting ready to appeal the ruling but Manuel’s lawyer Dario Milo said the its chance of success in this case was dismal.

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OTHER THINGS WE LIKED

South African mountain climber Saray Khumalo landed at OR Tambo International Airport after her historic climb of Mount Everest.on Monday morning to a hero’s welcome. Addressing the crowd of supporters and well wishers, Saray said she hoped she could inspire African children to reach their own personal summit and conquer their own challenges. “It’s just realising that anything is possible and that finally it’s been done; and that a child that’s sitting somewhere, maybe in the dark, can have hope to actually conquer their own Everest,” she said.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said it had received support from former directors at Bosasa who were willing to testify against Angelo Agrizzi in his crimen injuria case. In a recording submitted as evidence at the state capture inquiry earlier this year, the former executive could be heard using the k-word in reference to black Bosasa directors. The SAHRC has accused Agrizzi of hate speech and racism. He appeared in the Equality Court sitting in the Randburg Magistrates Court earlier on Wednesday.

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ICYMI

Ben Harper Announces Tour To South Africa

June 1 @ 08:00 – June 6 @ 17:00

Grammy-Award winning, multi-platinum-selling artists BEN HARPER is coming to South Africa in June 2019.Ben Harper will headline at the Zakifo Music Festival on 1 June at the Durban Botanic Gardens before heading to Cape Town on 4 June at GrandWest. He will wrap up his South African tour in Pretoria on 6 June at Sun Arena Time Square.