ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa says it is important that domestic workers get a decent working environment and improved wages.
Johannesburg – ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa says is vital that domestic workers get a decent working environment and improved wages.
He was addressing a Cosatu women’s event in Thembisa, Ekurhuleni on Thursday.
Ramaphosa said it was a historic occasion when they observe the anniversary of the ILO Convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers, because it gave them an opportunity to reflect on the progress that they have made since South Africa rectified the convention in 2013.
He said it was an occasion to consider most challenges that domestic workers continue to face in the work that still needs to be done to improve their working and living condition.
Ramaphosa said he was proud to learn from the owner of Busy Corner Shisanyama, Rita Zane, that she was raised by a mother who was a domestic worker, he said he felt at home because he could relate.
Ramaphosa said if Cosatu was not in alliance with the ANC they would have found it a lot harder to win rights for workers.
“It was you as Cosatu who continued to insist that the ANC must have a bias towards working people in South Africa.
“I congratulate you, some of the benefits have included improving work conditions, hours of work, overtime pay, leave entitlement and daily and weekly rest, those rights are there and they need to be implemented.
“The introduction of the national minimum wage was a victory for all workers of our country and gave effect to a demand made more than 50 years ago’ when the Freedom Charter was adopted.
“By improving the lowest-paid workers, the national minimum wage contributes to reducing the high levels of poverty and income inequality,” said a Ramaphosa.
He said at the time the national minimum wage was introduced they recognised that domestic and farmworkers are vulnerable to dis-employment.
“Together with our social partners, the National Economic Development and Labour Council or Nedlac, we therefore established a slightly lower minimum for these workers but with time this is going to catch up.
“The national minimum wage for domestic workers has since been increased to 88% of the national minimum wage this year and is expected to be aligned with the general minimum wage next year, and that will be another victory for domestic workers, much as it will take a little bit of time,” Ramaphosa said.
He said since February this year domestic workers can now qualify for compensation for occupational injuries or diseases act. This means that domestic workers injured at work can claim from the compensation fund.
Ramaphosa quoted data from Statistics South Africa. From the first quarter to the second quarter of 2020, the employment of domestic workers decreased by 26%.
“This means that after the first three months of Covid, the number of domestic workers employed has decreased by 250,000.
“There has been some recovery, but it has not yet returned to pre-Covid levels,” he said.
Ramaphosa encouraged domestic workers to go out and vote for the ANC come November 1.
He said this is an opportunity for domestic workers voices to be heard and an opportunity to choose representatives that have the interest at heart.
Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said it was an honour to have Ramaphosa present in their event, noting that she was aware that he had a busy schedule but was able to pay respect to the domestic workers who were being honoured and served, in appreciation.
Losi said they are serving domestic workers because they are always serving everyone and spent their lives doing that.
“Ramaphosa is in the implementation of the important decision of the ANC to unite the ANC and the people of this country, renew our movement and give South Africans a better life for all,” said Losi.