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 the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 130 of 1993 (COIDA) so as “to provide coverage for domestic employees.” COIDA is a national law that provides for employees to claim compensation from the Compensation Fund for injuries, illnesses or diseases sustained in the course of their employment, or death resulting from such injuries or diseases. In its current form COIDA expressly excludes domestic workers from the definition of "employee" and precludes them from claiming from the Compensation Fund for work-related injuries, illnesses or death. 

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.

Domestic Worker

SERI represents Maria Mahlangu’s family in an application challenging the constitutionality of  section 1 (xix)(v) of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 ("COIDA") to the extent that it excludes domestic workers employed in private households from the definition of "employee." Maria was a domestic worker who died in her employers home. Her family was subsequently informed by the Department of Labour that they could not be compensated for her death as domestic workers are not covered by COIDA. 

The court challenge, which is due to be heard in the Pretoria High Court, has been temporarily put on hold awating a specially allocated date from the Deputy Judge President of the High Court. Any interested and affected parties are encouraged to submit written representations on the proposed amendments within 60 days of the publication of the notice (18 October 2018).   

  • Read the amendment bill here
  • Read more on the Mahlangu case here.