The Africa Diaspora Forum (ADF) is urging the South African government to grant special permits to Zimbabwean domestic workers who work for families unable to afford the minimum wage.
As an organization representing the interests of foreign nationals in the country, the ADF is concerned about the exploitation of foreign domestic workers and believes that granting these permits would help prevent further abuse.
According to Ngqabutho Mabhena, spokesperson for the ADF, many South African families face financial constraints, making it difficult for them to pay the minimum wage.
For instance, a family with a monthly income of R40,000 may have various financial obligations such as bond payments, vehicle installments, and supporting relatives. After all these expenses, they may only have an additional R3,000 available to pay their domestic worker.
In this situation, Zimbabwean domestic workers, who are often undocumented, are willing to accept this lower wage due to their own economic circumstances in Zimbabwe.
However, this leads to further exploitation as they are often subjected to long working hours beyond the allocated 8 hours. Some domestic workers are even required to work up to 15 hours a day, a clear violation of labour rights.
To address this issue, the ADF is calling on the government to grant special permits to these Zimbabwean domestic workers.
By formalizing their employment status, these workers would be better protected and less vulnerable to exploitation. Additionally, this would enable them to access basic labour rights and fair working conditions.
The ADF’s proposal aims to strike a balance between the needs of South African families and the rights of domestic workers.
By acknowledging the financial constraints faced by families and providing legal recognition for domestic workers, this initiative seeks to create a more equitable and fair environment for all parties involved.