On 24 January 2019, the Mail and Guardian published an article written by Musawenkosi Cabe, a reporter working with New Frame, on the current developments to amend section 1 (xix)(v) of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 ("COIDA") to provide domestic workers with protection against occupational injuries and disease.
SERI represents Sylvia Mahlangu, the daughter of Maria Mahlangu, a domestic worker who drowned in her employer’s pool. Maria’s family were, upon enquiry, informed by the Department of Labour that they could not be compensated for her death because domestic workers were excluded from the benefits COIDA.
In October 2018, the Minister of Labour published the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill, 2018 for public comment. The Amendment Bill seeks to amend COIDA so as “to provide coverage for domestic employees.”
The amendment comes in the wake of a court challenge, brought by SERI along with a number of domestic workers, unions and civil society organisations, to COIDA's exclusion of domestic workers.
This challenge was further reinforced by the United Nation’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recommendation that South Africa amend COIDA to offer protection to domestic workers against occupational injuries and disease in it’s concluding observations on the initial report submitted by South Africa.